Trying to create a balanced, nutritious diet for yourself can be tricky. With pregnancy, there are dietary restrictions, the needs of your baby, and uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms that make this even more challenging. In order to create a well balanced diet for you and your baby, you should be aware of your nutritional needs. Know your pregnancy nutrition needs.
- Calories: If you are at a healthy weight when you become pregnant, you don’t have to worry about increasing your daily caloric intake during the first trimester. During your second trimester, you will need an additional 300 calories a day. During your third trimester, you will need an additional 450 calories a day. If you are underweight or overweight at the start of your pregnancy your caloric needs may be different. If you fall into either one of these categories, your doctor can help you determine what your caloric needs are by trimester.I
- Calcium: You need to consume 1,000 mg of calcium a day during pregnancy in order to satisfy your body’s needs and help your baby develop. If you don’t get enough calcium through your diet, your body will take the calcium that’s stored in your bones and supply it to your baby to sustain development. This can make your bones weak and easy to break. Adding milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, spinach and beans to your pregnancy diet will help meet your nutritional needs
- Iron: Try to eat three servings of iron rich foods, including enriched grains, lean meat, poultry and leafy green vegetables a day. Iron helps your red blood cells circulate oxygen to you and your baby. If you don’t get enough, you may be left feeling tired and without energy. You should increase your daily iron intake to about 27 mg a day in order to ensure you and your baby are getting enough oxygen.
- Fiber: Remember to incorporate high-fiber foods such as whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, fruit, rice and vegetables into your daily pregnancy diet.
- Folic Acid: Meeting your daily folic acid requirement is as simple as choosing at least one good source of folic acid a day. To meet your daily intake, try eating dark green leafy vegetables, veal or legumes (like black beans, lima beans, etc).
- Vitamin C: You should eat at least one source of Vitamin C a day. Many fruits and juices are good options for meeting your 70 mg daily requirement during pregnancy. Try oranges, grapefruit or honeydew.
- Vitamin A: Eat foods rich in Vitamin A every other day to satisfy your pregnancy nutrition needs. Some good food options for Vitamin A include carrots, cantaloupe, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
- Prenatal Vitamins: It is very important to take a prenatal vitamin-mineral supplement to ensure that you’re satisfying all of your pregnancy nutrition needs. You can ask your doctor to recommend one that fits the specific needs of your pregnancy.
Eat frequent, smaller meals. At certain points during your pregnancy you may find it difficult to eat 3 full meals a day. This is because your growing belly can make it harder for you to consume large meals, and heartburn, nausea and vomiting can make eating uncomfortable or unpleasant. In order to meet your nutritional needs, you should eat small, frequent meals. Adjusting your pregnancy diet can be difficult, especially if you aren’t used to planning your meals with nutrition in mind. While focusing on your pregnancy nutrition can be a big adjustment, your baby’s healthy growth and development depend on it. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to have something sweet once in awhile, just remember–everything in moderation! If you’re confused about what you should be eating for your specific pregnancy needs, ask your doctor how you should go about satisfying all of your pregnancy nutrition needs. Once you get the swing of things, it’s not as hard as it looks! Photo Credit