The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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All the do’s and don’ts that go along with having a baby can be overwhelming, especially when you’re holding down a job and fitting in doctor’s appointments. We know. That’s why we’ve compiled the most important prenatal-nutrition information into 10 concise tips. We’ve also included nine power snacks to help you keep your energy up.
1. Choose from each of the five food groups every day> Moms-to-be need a minimum of the following daily, according to the American Dietetic Association:
2. Use fats, oils and sweets sparingly> A little bit is OK, but don’t go overboard.
3. Focus on fiber> Aim for a total of 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day to help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids, both of which are common during pregnancy.
4. Drink at least 64 ounces of fluid every day> Fluid helps regulate body temperature, aids in digestion, works with fiber to fight constipation, and cushions joints and organs. Be sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day, more if you’re active and during hot weather.
5. Take your vitamins> Ask your doctor to prescribe a daily prenatal multivitamin that contains the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy. Folic acid is especially important—you need 600 micrograms daily—because it helps prevent neural-tube defects such as spina bifida. Consider taking calcium supplements if you can’t make the quota of at least 1,000 milligrams a day. And steer clear of herbs and other botanicals, as their safety remains to be proven during pregnancy and lactation.
6. Aim for a 25- to 35-pound weight gain> If you began pregnancy at a normal weight, you should gain between 3¼4 and 1 pound per week after the first trimester. (A multiple pregnancy requires that mom gain even more.) Underweight women may be advised to put on more than 35 pounds; overweight women could be counseled to put on less. Never diet during pregnancy, and always follow your doctor’s advice.
7. Add 300 calories a day to your diet, beginning in the second trimester> Women carrying more than one baby need even more than 300 additional calories, as do physically active moms-to-be.
8. Abstain from alcohol> Drinking even small amounts can cause physical malformations and developmental difficulties in baby that last a lifetime, according to the March of Dimes.