Nutrition in Pregnancy

How your diet affects your baby

What you eat while you’re pregnant affects your health and that of your unborn baby. The belief that a baby’s nutritional needs are accommodated regardless of what the mother eats used to be well accepted. But, now many doctors are realizing that if the mother is in need of specific vitamins, it’s not just her that suffers. The mother’s deficiencies in nutrition may cause her baby to be deficient as well.

What you eat when you’re pregnant plays a vital role in the development of your growing baby and the consequences of malnourishment and a poor diet may include health problems for your baby. Low birth weight, nutritional deficiencies, birth defects and even mental retardation, can result from not eating properly during pregnancy. A healthy diet also has been found to decrease the risk of miscarriage, along with the possibility of preterm labor.

Calories

When you’re pregnant, you need to consume an extra 300 calories per day, especially during the second and third trimester. If you are carrying more than one baby, adding in more calories will be necessary. How much depends on suggestions from your physician. Normally the calories you take in are not much more than you are already digesting, but are important in your diet. Don’t forget to add in a prenatal vitamin to ensure that your baby is getting what he or she needs. Do not digest empty calories that lack little or no nutritional value. Just because junk food fills you up, doesn’t mean it’s good for your baby. And, in fact, could harm you or your baby if you are not adding in the right kind of foods to our diet.

Benefits of Eating Healthy

In pregnancy, it is necessary for your level of energy to increase by more than fifteen percent, so your body can take care of the baby within you efficiently. That’s why eating a well-balanced diet will move you in the right direction to achieve that goal. Eating right can make your pregnancy easier and can lessen your discomforts and might even decrease your chances of complications. You may notice less heartburn, fatigue and constipation. Your body will return to pre pregnancy status easier after birth and heal faster. Isn’t that great news!

If you have questions about how to improve your diet and need help choosing healthy foods, be sure to speak with your doctor or midwife.

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