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Healthy Diet

START WITH A HEALTHY DIET

Pregnancy is a time of extra nutritional need. Of course, a healthy diet is always an important part of a healthy lifestyle but it's especially important if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.

Good nutrition keeps the expectant mom's body processes functioning as well as supporting the development of the baby. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking a prenatal vitamin that includes folacin, or folic acid, are recommended.

Another thing: there's no need to "eat for two" when you are pregnant. It's quality of food, not quantity, that's important. Below are some nutritional suggestions:

  • Protein foods (such as meats, beans, eggs, tofu and fish) – about 3 servings per day
  • Calcium foods (such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese) – about 4 servings per day
  • Vitamin C foods (such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries and greens) – about 3 servings per day
  • Leafy green and yellow vegetables and fruits (like melons, carrots, broccoli, and squash) – 3 or more servings per day
  • Other fruits and vegetables (such as apples, bananas, mushrooms and potatoes) – 2 servings per day
  • Whole grains and legumes (such as whole wheat bread, cornbread, oatmeal and brown rice) – 6-11 per day
  • Iron-rich foods (such as meats, spinach, soy products and dried fruits) – have some daily, along with your vitamin-mineral supplement

What's A Serving?

ONE SERVING EQUALS:

Fruit
1 medium fruit
6 oz juice
˝ cup fresh, canned, or frozen

Vegetables
1 cup raw leafy vegetables
˝ cup cooked or raw vegetables
6 oz vegetable juice

Dairy
8 oz low fat milk
1 cup yogurt
1 oz cheese

Grains
1 slice bread
1 oz cooked cereal
˝ cup cooked pasta or rice

Try To Avoid:
  • Fat and fatty foods
  • Fried foods
  • Sugar and sugary foods
  • Salt
  • If you prefer herbal tea, discuss with your doctor first
Choose:
  • Low-fat yogurt and cheese
  • Skimmed or low-fat milk
  • Fructose or, if you use sugar substitutes, discuss with your doctor

What About Caffeine?

Moderation is the key. This is because high levels of caffeine may lower birth weight and may also increase the possibility of early miscarriage.* Caffeine occurs naturally in a range of foods, such as chocolate; it's also added to some soft drinks and 'energy' drinks—even to certain medicines. Try not to have more than 300mg a day—read labels carefully. Decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit juice or mineral water are alternatives to caffeine.

*The New England Journal of Medicine published a study on December 21, 2000, called Caffeine Intake and the Risk of First-Trimester Spontaneous Abortion. This study concludes that non-smoking women who intake 100 mg of caffeine per day or more increase their risk of early miscarriage, if their baby has no genetic problems. The rate of risk is proportionate to the amount of caffeine—the more you intake, the greater the risk. A five ounce cup of instant coffee averages about 65 mg of caffeine. Six ounces of some soft drinks contains about 20 mg of caffeine, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).