Rules to eat by: follow these prenatal guidelines for your health and your growing baby’s - nutrition

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During pregnancy, every meal is an opportunity to feed both yourself and your baby as well as possible. Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in nutrition to do that: Eating for two is simple when you follow the daily-eating rules we’ve outlined here.


During pregnancy, every meal is an opportunity to feed both yourself and your
baby as well as possible. Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in nutrition to do that:
Eating for two is simple when you follow the daily-eating rules we’ve outlined
here. For more information on pregnancy nutrition, go to www.fitpregnancy.com.

Rule #1 EAT EIGHT TO 10 SERVINGS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

* WHY Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that protect tissues from damage,
help cells grow and help form connective tissue throughout the body. Folate in
these foods also helps prevent birth defects, including spina bifida, and premature
delivery.

* HOW Include two servings at every meal and one at every snack. Choose produce
that’s rich in color; deep greens, oranges, reds and purples mean more vitamins.

Rule #2 EAT SIX OR MORE SERVINGS OF WHOLE GRAINS

* WHY Packed with trace minerals such as chromium and selenium, whole grains
help regulate blood sugar, protect the immune system and prevent gestational diabetes.
They’re also packed with fiber to keep you regular and carbohydrates for the energy
needed to make a baby.

* HOW Have a bowl of whole-grain cereal for breakfast, a sandwich made with whole-wheat
bread for lunch and a serving of whole-wheat pasta or brown rice at dinner.

Rule #3 INCLUDE THREE SERVINGS OF CALCIUM-RICH FOODS

* WHY Calcium builds your baby’s bones and protects yours. It also helps prevent
preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure
and swelling.

* HOW Have oatmeal cooked in milk for breakfast, snack on yogurt and drink calcium-fortified
soy milk at dinner.

Rule #4 EAT THREE SERVINGS OF LEAN PROTEIN

* WHY Lean meats, fish, poultry, milk, legumes and eggs help build the placenta
and your baby’s tissues.

* HOW Eat a breakfast burrito with eggs, a turkey sandwich for lunch and hummus
dip with bell peppers as a snack.

Rule #5 DRINK EIGHT OR MORE GLASSES OF WATER

* WHY Water keeps you hydrated and helps create the extra blood needed to carry
oxygen and nutrients to your baby.

* HOW Carry a bottle of water and take eight swigs every hour. Also drink a glass
of water between each meal and snack.

Rule #6 CHOOSE HEALTHY FATS

* WHY Unhealthy saturated fats (in meats and whole-fat dairy products) and trans
fats (in some margarines and hydrogenated vegetable oils) should be eaten in moderation.
But some fat is necessary for the fetus to build brain tissue and develop eyesight.
And fish oils may help prevent hypertension.

* HOW Snack on nuts, use olive oil and eat fish once or twice a week. (Avoid
fish that may contain excessive mercury, such as swordfish and shark.)

Rule #7 ELIMINATE ALCOHOL AND LIMIT CAFFEINE

* WHY Alcohol passes freely through the placenta and can cause irreversible damage
to the baby. And be wary of caffeine: Some studies show a possible link to miscarriage,
low birth weight and growth retardation.

* HOW Drink only non-alcoholic beverages and switch to decaffeinated tea, cola
and coffee.

Rule #8 LIMIT JUNK FOOD

* WHY Junk food is low in nutritional value and high in calories, so it’s best
to avoid it. Keep in mind that your calorie requirement increases by only 300
calories per day (about 30 potato chips)–and then only in the last two trimesters.
If you’re of normal weight, stay within the recommended 25- to 35-pound weight-gain
range (28 to 40 pounds if you’re underweight and 15 to 25 pounds if you’re overweight;
check with your doctor or midwife).

* HOW Snack on “real foods” such as baby carrots, string cheese, frozen blueberries,
nuts and dried cherries.

Rule #9 AVOID POTENTIALLY CONTAMINATED FOODS

* WHY The worst culprits for bacterial contamination and food poisoning are soft
cheeses and raw or undercooked meats, sushi, seafood and eggs. Feta, brie, camembert
and Mexican-style cheeses are prime candidates for harboring the listeria bacterium,
which can cause an infection resulting in fever or miscarriage, as well as infection
in the newborn. Also avoid deli meats and hot dogs unless they are steaming hot.

* HOW Thaw foods in the refrigerator, cook meats and eggs until they are thoroughly
done, wash produce before eating and avoid the foods listed above.

Rule #10 TAKE A PRENATAL SUPPLEMENT PRESCRIBED BY YOUR DOCTOR OR MIDWIFE

* WHY Folic acid is better absorbed from supplements than from foods, and it’s
difficult to get as much as you need during pregnancy unless you take a supplement.

* HOW Make sure your supplement contains approximately 100 percent of the daily
value for a wide range of vitamins and minerals.

Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., is the author of Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy
(Henry Holt and Co., 2002). She lives in Salem, Ore.
 
 

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group



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