Nutrition During Pregnancy — Eating to Keep Mother and Baby Healthy

Throughout your pregnancy, it's especially important to be aware of the necessary nutrients and components of a well-balanced diet. Here is a handy reference guide to help maintain proper nutrition for your baby throughout your pregnancy.

Keeping You Well Fed

While it's important to always "eat healthy," it's particularly important to maintain a healthful diet during pregnancy. Ask your healthcare provider about your specific nutritional needs. During your pregnancy you generally require 300-500 more calories than your regular daily intake. Most pregnant women should gain between 20 and 30 pounds.

It's recommended that you eat three meals per day with regular between-meal snacks of fruit, cheese and milk. Include plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals found in lean meats, fish, chicken, vegetables and whole grains. Increase your fluid intake by drinking up to six eight ounce glasses of water per day. Do not smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs. They are passed directly to the baby developing within you.

Protein

Good sources include fish, meat, cheese, eggs and peanut butter, and they are needed to to four times per day. Protein supplies amino acids from which cells are made. Milk is another excellent source of protein and calcium, as well.

Calcium

In order to form strong bones and teeth, a quart of milk should be consumed daily. Skim or low-fat milk will supply the same amount of calcium with less fat and calories. Calcium is also found in milk products, including cheese, yogurt and ice cream, as well as leafy green vegetables (especially broccoli) and in whole grains.

Iron

While you are pregnant you need extra iron to produce hemoglobin in your own red blood cells and in your baby's blood. Foods such as liver, beef, blackstrap molasses and spinach are excellent sources of iron. Since most diets are deficient in these foods, you should take 30-60 milligrams of an iron supplement per day.

Vitamins and Minerals

Certain vitamins and minerals are particularly important during pregnancy and while you're breastfeeding. How well you eat has a direct effect on successful breastfeeding. Getting the essential amount of these vitamins and minerals during breastfeeding plays a major role in your current and future health.

Calcium

It's important to have 1,200 milligrams of calcium, or six cups of milk, each day to provide the calcium that is released in breast milk. You may substitute yogurt, cheese, pudding, ice cream and ice milk to meet this high daily requirement for breastfeeding. It's important to remember that the baby will abosrb your calcium even if you are not getting enough.

Vitamins (A, B, C, D and E)

Vitamins A, B, C, D and E are essential for making good breast milk. While you should be getting these vitamins within your diet, it's recommended that you increase them with vitamin supplements while breastfeeding.

Protein

Amino acids, found in protein, are necessary for milk production. Four servings of protein per day are recommended. As a breastfeeding mother, you should increase your intake of fluid to three quarts per day. It's normal to feel thirstier. Water, fruit and vegetable juices and soups will help provide you with the recommended amount.

Contact the Birthing Center

To schedule a tour, reserve your place for childbirth and parenting classes or get more information about the Birthing Center, please call 561-798-9880.