The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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1) c. Assuming you ate healthfully before you became pregnant, add 300 calories a day during your second and third trimesters. A total daily intake of 2,500 calories is about right; eat more if you’re very active. Also—need we say it—pecan pie is not the most nutritionally sound way to get your calories.
2) b. Normal-weight women may gain 3 to 5 pounds during the first trimester (although some women don’t gain any weight and some lose a few pounds, which is normal), and up to 1 pound a week thereafter, for a total of 25 to 35 pounds. That’s a substantial but reasonable amount of heft, meant to be nurtured and not despaired or dieted away. Weight-gain guidelines differ for women who are under- or overweight, so check with your doctor.
3) e. However, some of these menu options are more practical than others. Adding foods rich in folate, such as dried legumes, dark green vegetables and oranges, to your diet is wise. But since getting enough of these on an everyday basis can be challenging (the requirement jumps to 600 mcg of folate a day once you’re pregnant), take a multivitamin containing 100 percent of the daily value of folic acid as insurance. And while drinking 4 cups of orange juice will fulfill your daily requirement for folate before you are pregnant, it’s not recommended (unless you own stock in the citrus industry and you don’t mind taking on the shape of an orange from all those extra calories).
4) d. According to the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., a woman needs 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day, whether or not she is pregnant. That’s the equivalent of 3 1/3 cups of milk, or way more oyster shells than your teeth can safely pulverize.
5) c. The Institute of Medicine recommends 101 ounces of liquid a day from water, milk, juice, other beverages and food (especially fruit and vegetables). We recommend that at least 64 ounces (eight glasses) come from water. Juice and soda are fine in moderation, but one serving a day of either is ample.
6) c. Although prunes (now called dried plums; prunes have an image problem), pears and whole-wheat bread are fine sources of fiber—weighing in at 3.6 grams for a half-dozen prunes, 7.6 grams for four slices of bread and 7.8 grams for two pears—100% bran cereal wins, with nearly 15 grams of fiber per 3/4 cup serving. No reliable data are available on hay.