Diets and Diet Programs Information
Calories in Diet During Pregnancy
While pregnant, you do need additional nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy. However, that does not mean you need to eat twice as many calories. An increase of only 300 calories per day, is recommended during pregnancy. A baked potato has 120 calories, so getting those extra 300 calories should not be that difficult.
Nutrition in Diet During Pregnancy
Pregnancy boosts the need for good diet nutrition. In particular, pregnant women need extra iron, calcium and folate.
Iron During Pregnancy
Iron is needed in larger doses, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. This mineral is essential to the formation of healthy red blood cells. Pregnant women should eat iron-rich foods in order to prevent an iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods include leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli, strawberries, meats, whole grains, prune juice, dried fruit, legumes, and blackstrap molasses. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA), additional iron requirements in pregnancy cannot be met through diet alone and should be attained through supplements containing iron. More iron is needed for both fetal demands and the large increase in maternal blood volume.
Calcium During Pregnancy
Pregnant and lactating adult women require an additional 40% of calcium a day (1200-1500 mg per day). Calcium is essential for maintaining the bone integrity of a pregnant woman and providing for the skeletal development of the fetus. The U.S. RDA (recommended daily allowance) for calcium is 1200 mg, which is sufficient to meet both the maternal and fetal needs. Women should increase their intake of calcium-rich foods, such as milk products. To get this extra calcium, 3 extra servings (3 cups) of milk or dairy products are needed. Women who dont drink milk or consume dairy products should take a calcium supplement of 600 mg per day.
Folate (Folic Acid or Folacin) During Pregnancy
Pregnancy doubles a womans need for folate from 2 mg to 4 mg per day. Folic acid has been shown to be important in preventing neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly and is essential to the formation of red blood cells. Severe folate deficiency can result in a condition called megaloblastic anemia, which occurs most often in the last trimester of pregnancy. In this condition, the mothers heart, liver and spleen may become enlarged which and can threaten the life of the fetus. Folic acid can be found in many foods, including kidney beans, leafy green vegetables, peas, and liver. It is possible to meet this requirement through a well-selected diet. Folate-rich foods include eggs, leafy vegetables, oranges, legumes, and wheat germ. But some women may require as much as 3mg of daily supplements.
Advice on Diets
Special diets or diet plans with special diet foods are sometimes needed for particular health conditions. Ask your doctor, dietitian or nutritionist about your personal dietary needs. Otherwise, a balanced diet program containing foods from all the nutritional food groups is best.