Eating Right – Right from the Start
Having a baby is an amazing thing. Perhaps at no other time in your life will the choices you make around what to put in your body be so important. While you’re pregnant, your baby relies on you to provide everything your baby needs to grow and develop. The added strain on your own body makes it even more important you follow a balanced diet and eat foods that give you a boost of important nutrients that you need to keep going.
What are some important nutrients during pregnancy?
Folate – Too little during pregnancy can result in neural tube defects, premature birth and anemia. Folate can be found in fortified grains, dark green leafy vegetables, orange juice, and lima, kidney and garbanzo beans.
Iron – Too little iron (a condition called anemia) can lead to fatigue, increased risk of hemorrhage and premature birth. Iron can be found in fortified grains, nuts, prunes, egg yolks and red meat. When you eat foods containing iron and vitamin C together, it increases iron absorption.
Calcium – Too little calcium during pregnancy means your body will give up calcium from your own bones and teeth so your baby has enough to build its own. It is even more important for teen moms to get enough calcium because their bones are still growing. Calcium can be found in low- or no-fat dairy foods, calcium-fortified soy milk, tofu, or orange juice, leafy greens and almonds.
Talk to your doctor about other important nutrients you and your baby need during this special time, such as protein and vitamin D.
Drink up. – Make sure you drink enough water. Too little water during pregnancy can make you feel tired, cause constipation and increase risk of early labor.
Plan to gain weight. Calories – No matter how much you weighed beforehand, you need to gain more during your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about how much weight gain is right for you and your baby. On average, pregnant women only need an extra 200-300 calories a day. The trick is to make sure those extra calories come from wholesome foods that provide the other important nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.
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