A pregnant woman needs all the nutrients the rest of us need, only more so. She does not need double the amount of calories – just a twenty-five per cent increase over her normal intake. An acceptable weight gain during the pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds. In order to make sure that weight gain is not excessive, the woman hoping to become pregnant needs to make sure that everything she eats makes a positive contribution to her health and that of her baby. And yes, pre-natal nutrition starts before conception. Lactating mothers need even more, as much as 3000 calories a day.
During the 9 months of baby-making, there is no place for empty calories – junk food, highly processed carbohydrates like chips and candy, white bread and soda. There is no place for additives and preservatives, no place for GMOs or saturated fats. No place for tobacco or alcohol. That said, baby is not going to be irreversibly damaged if Mom has a glass of wine on her anniversary or a donut once in a while. The famous cravings of pregnancy often reflect a real nutritional need.
If you base your diet on the following 9 foods, you can’t go wrong:
Eggs - 12 vitamins and minerals, lots of quality protein, choline for brain health, omega-3 fats for brain and vision development.
Salmon – quality protein and omega3 fatty acids
Beans – loaded with fiber for regularity
Whole grains - fiber and nutrients, vitamin E, selenium, and phytonutrients Walnuts
Greek yogurt – calcium for your bones and that of the baby
Dark green, leafy vegetables - vitamins A, C, and K, and folic acid to prevent many birth defects
Lean meats – lots of protein to build muscle
Colorful fruits and veggies – different colors supply different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plus baby may develop a taste for veggies.
Fruit - particularlyberries for vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber and citrus for vitamin C.