Pregnancy Diet

Guide to proper pregnancy nutrition

The health of your baby is in your hands from the very beginning. A healthy diet is important for everybody, but it is crucial for the proper development of a baby. From fertility enhancers to prenatal vitamins, discover how you can boost your chances of a healthy pregnancy by boosting your nutrition.

Nutrition During Pregnancy

A healthy diet is very important both before and during each stage of pregnancy. In fact, the food you take into your body can actually influence your level of fertility; both overly strict dieting and too much eating can negatively affect your ability to conceive. And there is scientific evidence to suggest that some foods can actually enhance male fertility, due to their relatively large amount of vitamins and minerals.

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Pregnancy weight gain is a big issue for many women, but the fact of the matter is that you must gain weight. There is no way around this, but you can control the amount of extra pounds you put on with a carefully selected pregnancy diet and healthy eating habits. Although you are now eating for two, you won't typically need to add more calories to your diet for the first few months, and then a moderate 200- to 300-calorie increase per day will be sufficient for a healthy pregnancy.

On average, a woman should gain between 25 and 35 pounds over the course of her pregnancy—a pregnancy eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia can lead to miscarriage or to poor fetal development and complications later in life. Once you become pregnant, the nutrients you consume will directly influence the growth and development of your baby.

You will need to increase your daily dose of folic acid to ensure the healthy development of your baby's brain and nervous system, and a sufficient iron intake will build healthy blood cells and provide an adequate supply of oxygen for both you and your baby. While the best source of vitamins and nutrients will be a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, many women choose to supplement their pregnancy nutrition with prenatal vitamins. Consult a nutritionist or a reputable food guide to determine the vitamins and minerals that your diet may be lacking, and adjust your routine accordingly.

Problems with Diet During Pregnancy

Vitamins can be a great way to guarantee that you and your baby are getting all the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy, but vitamins are also able to control some uncomfortable aspects of pregnancy. For instance, many women swear by vitamin B6 for nausea in pregnancy, and scientific studies have agreed that 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily can combat morning sickness. Calcium is another important mineral in pregnancy, and may help to dull or even stop leg cramping. For women who suffer from heartburn during pregnancy, stay away from spicy or acidic foods, mint products and fried foods.