Test Your Prenatal Nutrition Knowledge

Do you know how to eat right for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby? Answer these nutrition questions to find out if your prenatal nutrition is on track.

Do I need more calories when I am pregnant?

While a pregnant woman does need to take in more calories than prior to pregnancy to provide adequately for the baby, the old adage about “eating for two” isn’t accurate. In fact, you don’t really need any extra calories until after the first trimester, and then only an extra 300 calories a day. That really isn’t much, so use caution. Overeating during pregnancy will lead to excess weight gain, and many women find those extra pounds especially hard to lose after pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy will reduce the strain on your body and keep you in good shape to care for your baby!

Can I just take a supplement and not worry about my diet?

Prenatal supplements are an important source of the extra nutrients your body needs during pregnancy, but they should support a healthy diet, not replace it. The purpose of taking a supplement is to help provide a backup to fill any gaps in your diet. You should take a supplement every day, but it should not be your main source of vitamins and minerals. The nutrients found in food are better absorbed by the body than those in a supplement form, so they are still vital to good health.

Do I have to eat foods I don’t like?

You need to eat from all four food groups and choose a variety of options from each in order to get everything your body requires. If there are certain foods you really can’t bear, it’s ok to skip them as long as you ensure they are replaced with other foods offering similar benefits. If you aren’t a meat eater, you will need to find alternate sources of protein and iron. If broccoli doesn’t make your list, be sure to eat plenty of other leafy greens like spinach and kale. If you can’t eat an entire food group, such as dairy, due to an allergy or lactose intolerance, you should talk to your doctor about supplementation to make sure you get the right amounts of the nutrients missing from your diet.

Do I have to eat three meals a day?

It’s not necessary to eat three meals a day if you are having trouble with feeling too full or struggling with nausea that makes it hard to eat at certain times of the day. Breaking up your consumption into smaller meals throughout the day will prevent feelings of over-fullness, especially later in pregnancy. As long as you are getting the recommended servings of each of the food groups every day, it doesn’t matter how you split them up.

Are some nutrients more important than others?

All of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to be healthy are also vital to your baby’s health. There are some nutrients that have been especially newsworthy recently, however, as having special importance during pregnancy. Folic acid or folate has been shown to help prevent a number of birth defects, and pregnant women are strongly encouraged to eat plenty of foods containing folate. Calcium is also vital to a baby’s developing bones, so good sources in your diet are important. Pay special attention to these, and also to iron in your diet especially if your routine iron test shows low levels.

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