Preggo Health Nut

Pregnant and fit is not an oxymoron.. its possible!

Eating Right While Preggo

on August 6, 2012

Normally when you find out you are pregnant, besides being excited for this new journey in life, you will start consuming more and “eating for two”.. as society has taught us. Yes, you do need to provide extra nutrients for your growing fetus. However, you DO NOT need to double your intake of food! You only need a few hundred extra calories (give or take depending on your pre-pregnancy weight). Here are the guidelines for what extra calories you need to intake:

Typically you only need about 15% more calories than you needed per day before being pregnant (ex: 2,000 cal diet- add 300 calories). For the second trimester increase to about 340 extra calories and the third trimester up to about 450 extra calories. If you are carrying twins or have other health problems like hypertension see your doctor for a recommended caloric intake.

As far a s weight gain, you should gain 3-4 lbs in your first trimester and then about 1 lb a week from 2nd trimester on. You should gain in total about: (depending on your pre-pregnancy weight)

Normal weight- 25-35 lbs
Under weight- 28-40 lbs
Over weight- 16-25 lbs
Carrying Twins- 35-45 lbs

Its really important that you try to gain your suggested weight gain during pregnancy to avoid complications during labor and delivery as well as postpartum obesity. “Obese women also have an increased risk for complications during, pregnancy including hypertension and gestational diabetes”(1) (we’ll get into the latter in a later post). We will also talk postpartum weight and losing it later on (as my pregnancy gets closer to the end.. trying to keep this chronological)

Ok so now that we got the weight gains standards out of the way… lets talk nutrition! So, here are some guidelines on what is needed during pregnancy and then I’ll go into how you can achieve good health depending on your current eating habits after. During pregnancy you need to keep your nutrient stores adequate especially in early pregnancy when the baby is going through crucial developments. Malnutrition can affect behavior and cause learning disabilities later in life for the child. Here is a breakdown of extra nutrients needed:

Protein– additional 20 grams
Folate– 50% increase because of blood volume increase and rapid growth of fetus
Iron-27-30 mg per day (you’ll need to get this through a supplement because the amount you need is near impossible to get through eating right, and you should take this supplement with vitamin C)
Calcium– 1,000 mg per day (1,300 mg if your a teenager)

You should pay special attention to your intake of zinc and other vitamins that are needed to be increased but could be toxic in high amounts. (I’ll try to post an image of the chart that breaks down full nutrient in take sometime this week). So that is the details of what you need in excess… now I know its not easy to count your intake of each nutrient so here is a basic guide for how much of each food group you should get per day:

Grains– 7 to 10 oz
Veggies– 3 to 3.5 cups
Fruit– 2 to 2.5 cups
Meat/Beans– 6 to 7 oz
Dairy– 3 cups

When picking foods for each food groups try to get fruits and veggies as fresh as possible and if you go over on your daily intake that is fine… probably better for your health anyway; for grains try to pick out breads and pastas that are whole grains with no High Fructose Corn Syrup in them and the minimal amount of ingredients possible; for dairy and meat go as natural or organic as you can afford to and with beans/ legumes etc pick out the ones canned in water instead of syrup or oil or even better… buy the dried bags and cook them yourself if you have to time! If you like seafood, stay away from  large ocean fish (shark, sword fish, king mackerel, and tile fish) since they can accumulate high levels of mercury; choose up t0 12 oz of cooked or canned seafood or up to 6 oz of cooked or canned tuna, and limit to once a week or less. If you are a coffee or tea (with caffeine) drinker limit it to less than 150 mg a day… I try to stay at a cup a day.

If you are an avid dieter here are some practices you should avoid: eating low carb or low cal diets- this can cause ketosis and can deprive the fetus’s brain of needed glucose and cause congenital deformity; eating low amounts of protein- this can cause hight and head circumference to diminish markedly and irreversibly. As long as you eat a wholesome balanced diet and try to stay away from processed sugary foods and excess in sweets- you should get through this pregnancy as healthy as can be! I really recommend trying to cut out processed foods and making more homemade food if possible (I will do a post with some recipes I use at home to help you out). And If you feel the need to snack (which you will) grab a fruit/ veggie or a protein with grains (cheese and crackers, peanut butter on toast, yogurt and granola etc) instead of the processed junk! … Last but not least, its ok to have sweets once in a while but limit them to as few times per week as possible or if you feel the need to have something sweet daily, choose a small amount or choose something like graham crackers or healthier oatmeal cookies (like this recipe from Sara Snow). Hope this helps and if you have questions feel free to ask!

1- info taken from Personal Nutrition by Marie A. Boyle & Sara Long

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