During pregnancy a healthful diet benefits mother and baby. Never diet to lose weight while pregnant. In fact, a pregnant woman needs to increase her daily caloric intake by 300 calories. Let us explore a proper pregnancy diet plan.
The Basic Food Groups
The basic food groups contain nutrients that are especially important during pregnancy.
- Fresh Produce
- Grains (including bread)
Servings from each group must be consumed daily. What is the value of these foods and how much of each should be consumed daily?
Dairy 4 Servings Daily
Calcium is essential to cardiac, muscle, and nerve health. Three cups of milk or orange juice with added calcium equals 1,000 mg. Some cereals contain 1,000 mg of calcium.
Your baby needs calcium too and that calcium will come directly from you. Those who are pregnant and 18 or younger should take in 1,300 mg. of calcium per day. Those over the age of 18 need a minimum of 1,000 mg per day. While dairy products are excellent sources of calcium lesser known calcium sources include salmon and kale.
Too much calcium can lead to iron and zinc deficiencies. Kidney stones are also a possibility. The maximum daily calcium intake for a pregnant woman over 18 is 2,500 mg or 3,000 mg for those age 18 and under. Insufficient calcium intake can lead to osteoporosis and an illness known as hypocalcemia.
Grains and Bread 6 to 11 Ounces Daily
Bread and cereals are a source of B complex vitamins and iron. Through the essential carbohydrates, they contain grains and bread are a source of energy. B vitamins help promote eye health and aid in the development of the baby’s nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems. B vitamins reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, aid in digestion and mitigate migraine pain and nausea. The iron contained in grains and bread keeps the blood oxygenated and prevents anemia.
There are variables that determine the number of grains and bread someone who is pregnant should consume. The variables are the woman’s individual dietary needs and her weight. Talk to you obstetrician to determine the number of grains and bread you need.
Proteins 3 Servings Per Day
Another source of B vitamins and iron protein can be derived from beans, eggs, fish, and poultry. Getting sufficient protein is important to ensure baby gets enough oxygenated blood. Protein is particularly important during the last 6 months of pregnancy. The benefits of protein to mommy have increased stamina the mitigation of agitation and depression.
It is recommended that women eat fish during pregnancy. With the presence of mercury in fish being a possibility some caution has to be exercised. Fish that should absolutely be eschewed during pregnancy and while breastfeeding are tilefish caught in the Gulf of Mexico, king mackerel, shark, and swordfish. If the level of mercury in a fish is undetermined keep the serving to 170.10 grams weekly.
There are well-known doctors such as Dr. Rahul Sen Obstetrician who have explained supplements that can be consumed during pregnancy. Women who don’t get enough Vitamin D from sunlight may need a Vitamin D supplement to help their bodies metabolize calcium. Following a vegan or vegetarian diet increases the likelihood of a Vitamin B12 deficiency. A blood test determines if a B12 supplement is indicated.
Throughout pregnancy, iron levels are checked. While maintaining proper iron levels is important too much iron can be harmful. A calcium supplement might be prescribed if proper calcium levels are not maintained through diet.