What basic nutrients should every diet include?
Every diet should include proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fat. Dietary reference intakes (DRIs) are recommended amounts an individual should consume daily of certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. During pregnancy, the DRIs are higher for many nutrients.
How much should a woman eat during pregnancy?
If a woman is of normal weight before pregnancy, she needs only an average of 300 extra calories per day to fuel her baby’s growth and keep healthy during pregnancy—the amount in a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich. Having healthy snacks that you can eat during the day is a good way to get the nutrients and extra calories you need. She may find it easier to eat snacks and small meals throughout the day rather than three big meals a day.
Do I need any extra nutrients during pregnancy?
Pregnant women need extra iron and folic acid. To get these extra nutrients, a prenatal vitamin supplement is recommended for most women. You should talk to your health care provider before taking a prenatal vitamin supplement because excess amounts of some vitamins or minerals during pregnancy can be harmful.
What is folic acid?
Folic acid is a B vitamin that is also known as folate. Before pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, you need 0.4 milligrams (or 400 micrograms) of folic acid daily in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. All women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin supplement containing 0.4 milligrams of folic acid a day. Women who have had a child with a neural tube defect or who are taking certain drugs need much higher doses of folic acid—4 milligrams daily. Women who need 4 milligrams should take folic acid as a separate supplement, not as part of a multivitamin.
What does iron do in the body?
The iron in red blood cells helps carry oxygen to your organs, tissues, and baby. Women need more iron in their diets during pregnancy to support the growth of the baby and to produce extra blood. The recommended daily amount of iron you should consume while pregnant is 27 milligrams, which can be found in most prenatal vitamin supplements. Women who do not have enough iron stored in their bodies before pregnancy may develop anemia. Some women may need extra iron in the form of an iron supplement.
How much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy?
How much weight a woman gains during pregnancy depends on her weight before pregnancy. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Women with a normal BMI before pregnancy should gain between 25 pounds and 35 pounds during pregnancy.
Can being overweight or obese affect pregnancy?
Overweight and obese women are at increased risk of several pregnancy problems. These problems include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure,preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery. Babies of overweight and obese mothers also are at greater risk of certain problems, such as congenital abnormalities,macrosomia with possible birth injury, and childhood obesity. For women with a BMI of 30 or greater, a weight gain of between 11 pounds and 20 pounds is recommended during pregnancy. For women with a BMI of 40 or greater, a modest weight loss during pregnancy may be recommended.
Can consuming caffeine be harmful during pregnancy?
Moderate caffeine intake (200 milligrams per day—the amount in approximately two 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee) does not appear to lead to miscarriage or preterm birth. It is not clear whether caffeine increases the risk of having a low birth weight baby. Excess caffeine can interfere with sleep and contribute to nausea and light-headedness. It also can increase urination and lead to dehydration.
If a woman is a vegetarian, does she need to change her diet now that she is pregnant?
If she is a vegetarian, we recommend for her to carefully plan her meals to ensure she gets enough protein. She will probably need to take supplements, especially iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
Should pregnant women avoid eating certain fish?
Pregnant women should avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish during pregnancy because these large fish contain high levels of a form of mercury that can be harmful to the developing fetus. Common types of fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna (not albacore, which has a higher mercury content), salmon, pollock, and catfish. She can safely eat up to 12 ounces (about two meals) of these fish per week while she is pregnant.
What is listeriosis and how can it affect pregnancy?
Listeriosis is an illness caused by bacteria that can occur in unpasteurized milk and soft cheese and prepared and uncooked meats, poultry, and shellfish. When a pregnant woman is infected, the disease can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. To prevent listeriosis, all fresh fruits and vegetables must be washed before using them.
What is pica?
During pregnancy, some women feel strong urges to eat nonfood items such as clay, ice, laundry starch, or cornstarch. This condition is called pica. Pica can be harmful to your pregnancy. It can affect your intake of nutrients and can lead to constipation and anemia. Talk with your health care provider if you have any of these urges.