I'm pregnant -- What do I eat?
Terry Huff, MD, is an OB/GYN who practices at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz.
Question: I am pregnant. What kind of diet should I eat?
Answer: Pregnancy is an important time in a woman’s life to focus on proper health care and nutrition. Take the time to consider these issues and make the necessary changes to make healthy choices for your pregnancy. Those choices can become healthy habits throughout your life.
Good nutrition, prenatal vitamins and exercise are good health habits that are key to a successful pregnancy for both the mother and the unborn child.
A balanced diet is a basic part of good health at all times. During pregnancy, the foods you eat are the source of nutrients for your baby.
Generally you will need to include:
- Protein (necessary for fetal growth and development)
- Grains (provide fiber and carbohydrates for energy)
- Calcium (helps baby‘s bones develop)
- Vitamin C (helps the body use iron to make red blood cells)
- Dark green vegetables (source of folic acid to prevent birth defects)
It is important to stay well-hydrated by drinking healthy fluids such as water, juice, milk and soup. Sweets need not be avoided but should be eaten sparingly. Dieting and dietary supplements should be avoided. Food portion size should not increase significantly when you are pregnant.
Most doctors suggest that pregnant women take vitamin supplements during pregnancy. In some cases a woman’s diet does not provide enough of certain nutrients such as calcium and iron and supplements are needed. Women considering pregnancy should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily one month prior to pregnancy and during the first three months of pregnancy.