by Alicia Kenny
Hello New Mom! It’s you and Baby now, so you’ll want to eat what’s best for both of you. Keep in mind that while you are eating for two, only one of you is a full grown adult so you will probably only need to take in an extra 200-300 calories per day while pregnant. The bottom line? Do eat for two, but don’t overeat.
In general, you should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, foods rich in vitamin C, iron and calcium plus plenty of water. While you don’t need to eliminate salt and fat from your diet, you should take care to eat salty foods and high-fat foods only sparingly.
Also, as an expectant mom, you’ll want to make sure to take the prenatal vitamins prescribed by your physician and pay attention to your intake of folic acid in particular. Folic acid is a member of the B vitamin family and occurs naturally in orange juice, green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils. The synthetic form of folic acid, which is more easily absorbed by your body, can be found in fortified breakfast cereals, enriched grain products and vitamins. Folic acid helps prevent and decrease the risk of several common birth defects and supports rapid growth of the placenta and fetus.
There are several things you should avoid during your pregnancy due to the possibilities of bacterial contamination, birth defects, decreased attention and decreased memory. While pregnant, you should steer clear of:
- caffeine and artificial coloring
- cigarette smoke
- over-the-counter meds and herbal remedies ( unless otherwise directed by your physician)
- raw meat
- raw eggs and food containing raw eggs
- soft cheese
- fish with accumulated mercury levels or high levels of an industrial pollutant called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
As you avoid what’s bad and consume adequate amounts of what’s good, you will increase your baby’s chances of being born at a normal birth weight and having good fetal brain development. You will also decrease your risk of having pregnancy complications and severe mood swings and you will help ensure a good post-pregnancy recovery. So eat up!