Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Diets For The Pregnant Woman

The major myth surrounding diets for a pregnant woman is that she can eat whatever she wants because of her cravings. In fact, this could not be farther from the truth. Pregnant women should follow certain diet guidelines to ensure that their baby is born healthy, receiving enough nutrients and vitamins to grow accordingly. There is no one prescribed diet for pregnant women, but there are a few basics.

One of the first things a newly pregnant woman should do is increase the amount of folic acid or complex B vitamins. In reality, you should be increasing this amount even prior to becoming pregnant, but maintain an increased amount in your diet during the early stages of pregnancy as well. These vitamins help with the neurological and spinal development of a baby in its early stages, and increasing your consumption of them ultimately helps the baby's growth.

Another important part of diets for the pregnant woman is getting enough protein. Protein helps with cell development and producing blood. When consuming protein, pregnant women should consider lean meat choices, such as chicken or turkey, along with egg whites or nuts and tofu. Iron, often found in lean red meats, is also necessary to help cell production and prevent anemia in both the mother and the child.

The diets for a pregnant woman should not be low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets, however. Carbohydrates are necessary for one's energy on a daily basis. With the extra weight gain and the hormonal changes of pregnancy, one should try to keep one's energy up. This means continuing to exercise - but focusing on exercises for pregnant women instead to maintain your health and metabolism.

Beyond protein and carbohydrates, it is essential for pregnant women to maintain a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients. As most everyone knows, calcium is crucial to building strong bones, but it can also help with nerve functions. Pregnant women should be sure to consume a moderate amount of calcium per day. Other essential vitamins like A, C, B12, D, etc., are necessary to help with healthy skin and bones and maintaining the nervous system. A lot of these vitamins can be found in leafy green vegetables and fruits.

Overall, it is important to understand that diets for a pregant woman must be balanced diets that are healthy. Understanding the five food groups of the food pyramid as established by the U.S. government is perhaps the easiest way to ensure that you are eating the right kinds of foods. Many pregnant women think they need to eat for two people, but in reality, you should only be consuming about 300 more calories per day for the baby, and those 300 calories should be nutritious and healthy.

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