Now that you have a new life growing inside you, you must pay careful attention to what foods to eat when pregnant. Your pregnancy diet has a large effect on the growth, development and health of your baby.
Now that you are pregnant, how must your diet change? If you are used to a healthy diet every day, there isn't really that much to change when talking about foods to eat when pregnant. There will only be a few minor changes needed to meet the special nutritional needs of you and your baby. In fact, a pregnant woman only needs 300 more calories a day than needed pre-pregnancy. This means that an average pregnant woman should take in 2,500 to 2,700 calories a day - all of which should come from healthy foods. What you must pay attention to is your intake of extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients through a variety of food sources. You must make sure that you get your daily supplementation through prenatal vitamins and healthy foods from the basic food groups.
What other nutrients do you need in your pregnancy diet? When you choose which foods to eat when pregnant, make sure that you are getting enough of the following very important pregnancy nutrients:
Folic Acid - You need at least 400 mcg (micrograms) of folic acid in order to prevent birth defects. Folic acid is a B vitamin that prevents defects in your baby's brain and spine, and can also prevent cleft lip and congenital heart disease. The easiest way to get enough folic acid is to take it through your prenatal vitamins. Alternatively, breakfast cereals, spinach, legumes and orange juice are also good sources of folic acid.
Iron - You need to double your intake of iron when pregnant - you need 30 mg per day. You can get your required iron through an iron supplement, which your doctor will be able to recommend. Pregnant women need extra iron due to the increased amount of blood in the body and to supply the needs of the baby. Rich iron sources include red meat, poultry, fish, whole grain breads and iron-fortified cereals.
Calcium - Another of the important foods to eat when pregnant include non-fat and low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt and other sources rich in calcium. Pregnant women need at least 1,000 mg of calcium a day (young pregnant women need 1300 mg a day). Getting enough calcium is important for the proper development of your baby's bones and teeth.
Knowing the right foods to eat when pregnant can go a long way in making sure that you and your child stay healthy throughout the pregnancy. It is also the best way to prevent possible congenital problems for your baby.