Your Diet During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, it is important to remember that everything you put into your body, you are also putting into your baby’s body. A diet filled with healthy foods and free of potentially harmful ones is therefore absolutely vital to a healthy pregnancy.

When you find out you are pregnant, it’s a good time to review your current diet and make the necessary changes. You will need to provide your baby with all the nutrients required for growth, so make sure they are all represented in your diet.

Eat From All the Food Groups

A balanced diet includes foods chosen from all of the food groups. During your pregnancy, you should aim to eat the following amounts from each food group:

  • Grains, such as breads, pasta and rice: eat 6-9 servings a day. Choose whole grain options such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread.
  • Fruits and vegetables: eat a minimum of 5 servings a day. Be sure to include both fruits and vegetables, and choose a wide variety of different types to get all the varied nutrients they offer.
  • Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese: eat 4 servings a day. Choose low-fat options and look for choices fortified with vitamin D.
  • Meats, poultry, fish, and beans, as well as other protein sources: eat 2 servings a day. Look for lean meats and include fish as well for the important Omega-3 fatty acids.

What Is A Serving?

When reading the recommendations above, you might think that’s a lot of food to fit into a day. This is because most of us have a skewed view of what a serving should look like. In our society of oversized portions, we have come to think more is better. But learning to eat the appropriate portion sizes will help us to keep a healthy, balanced diet, and eat the right amounts of the foods we need. This is especially vital during pregnancy when it might be hard to eat the right amount due to the pressure of the uterus on the stomach.

Sample servings of all of the food groups include:

  • For a serving of grains: one slice of whole wheat bread, half a cup of cooked pasta or rice, half a cup of hot cereal or one cup of cold cereal
  • A serving of fruits or vegetables is one medium sized fruit like an apple or a pear, half a cup of cooked vegetables, or three quarter of a cup of fruit juice.
  • A proper serving size for a protein on your plate is about a two to three ounce piece of meat or chicken, one egg, or one third of a cup of nuts.
  • To get a serving of dairy, try one cup of milk, one cup of yogurt, or one and a half ounces of cheese.

What About Sweets And Fats?

As with any healthy diet, during pregnancy sweets and fats should be kept to a minimum. Although fat is a necessary component of a healthy diet, if you are eating the proper amounts from the food groups, you are likely getting all the fat you need. Extra fats are not healthy, and neither are added sugars. It’s ok to have a treat once in a while, but don’t make it a regular habit. It will take the place of a serving of much-needed nutrients in your diet, and your baby needs all the nutrition you can get.

If you are getting all your recommended servings from the four food groups, you are well on your way to a healthy pregnancy. It is still a good idea to take a prenatal vitamin, however, to fill in any nutritional gaps.

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