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Posted January 23, 2023 by Phillip Dayley, D.O.
You’re pregnant, so you can now “eat for two,” as the popular saying goes, right? Not quite. While pregnancy increases your body’s need for extra calories and nutrition, eating double the calories could cause you to gain an excessive amount of weight.
To maintain a healthy pregnancy, you only need about 350 extra calories each day — and maybe slightly more during your third trimester. That’s roughly the number of calories in a half a sandwich and glass of skim milk.
It’s not just about how much you eat during pregnancy, but also what you eat. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy mom and growing baby. That’s why these extra calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while keeping sweets and fats to a minimum. In fact, studies show what you eat can directly impact your developing fetus.
So as your hunger and cravings increase, Summa Health offers guidelines on what you should and shouldn’t eat during pregnancy. A healthy pregnancy diet not only promotes your baby’s growth and development in-utero, but also can set the stage for healthy eating after your baby is born.
Foods to eat during pregnancy
While pregnant, the principles of healthy eating remain the same: a diet full of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. However, there are a few nutrients that deserve extra attention, including folic acid for brain and spinal health; calcium and vitamin D for strong bones; protein for growth; and iron for red blood cell production.
So during pregnancy, make sure you’re eating a variety of:
Most providers recommend a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy to ensure your nutritional needs are met. Just remember, the prenatal vitamin does not replace a healthy diet.
Food to avoid during pregnancy
During pregnancy, it’s a good idea to limit foods and beverages that are higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium. In addition, there are certain foods you should avoid because mom and baby are more susceptible to the effects of foodborne illnesses.
So while pregnant, stay away from:
Eating well is one of the best things you can do for your baby — and you. Making nutritious choices also strengthens your body to handle the extra demands on it as your pregnancy progresses.