Q: How important are my personal eating habits during my pregnancy?
A: Eating properly is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your growing baby. It is best to use fats, oils, and sweets sparingly, and to eat a variety of foods.
Q: What are the recommended number of food servings for a pregnant woman?
A: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women eat, daily, 9 servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta, 4 servings of vegetables, 3 servings of fruit, 3 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese and 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts. This may seem like a lot of food, but with a bit of planning, these can be combined into your 3 daily meals.
Q: Since I am now eating for two, should I be eating a great deal more?
A: Just because you are pregnant does not mean that you should
literally, be eating for two. Many women, although not all, are hungrier during pregnancy. It’s fine to increase the amount you eat so long as your meals are healthy and well balanced. You’ll want to stay clear of too many high-fat foods or sweets. These are “empty” calories and don’t provide a great deal of nutritional value. It is important to increase your calcium intake with dairy products or green, leafy vegetables.
Q: Exactly how much fluid should I drink while I’m pregnant?
A: I recommend that you drink at least two quarts, or eight to ten glasses of water, every day. It’s important to keep yourself well hydrated. If water is too bland for your taste, you can spice it up by adding a fruit essence such as lemon, lime, orange or berry. Just squeeze in a bit of fruit for a refreshing, tasty change. Fruit juices are another drink alternative but some contain a lot of sugar so limit yourself to 1 or 2 glasses a day. Gatorade and other kinds of electrolyte drinks are fine in moderation. They contain high amounts of sodium and potassium and shouldn’t be overdone.
Q: Why do I experience bizarre food cravings now that I’m pregnant?
A: It is thought that food cravings during pregnancy represent a way for women to get the extra nutrients their bodies need. A craving for ice cream, for example, may be your body’s way of suggesting that you need additional fat in your diet. Many women crave meat for its extra protein and perhaps, a particular vegetable or salad. Be careful not to let cravings for high fat foods or sweets get out of hand.
Tori Kropp is a Perinatal Registered Nurse at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and an international figure in the field of women’s health, pregnancy and early parenting. She is known as the “Dear Abby of Pregnancy” and has helped deliver over 5000 babies. She is the author of The Joy of Pregnancy, The Complete, Candid and Reassuring Companion for Parents-To-Be and the blog The Joy of Pregnancy.
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