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Pregnancy is a very special time in a woman's life when there is an added focus to take care of yourself and your unborn child. The adage 'you are what you eat' takes on a whole new meaning during this period as it becomes the soon to be mother's responsibility to pack in extra nutrition to nourish her growing bump. Doctors often add in a dose of vitamins to ensure that the both mother and child are well nourished. But beyond that, the food choices you make will maintain a healthy weight gain for you and your baby and eventually even help when you want to shed the extra weight after your child is born.
Here are some tips to have a perfect diet during your pregnancy
- Load up on the good stuff: Even if you've always been eating healthy, it is time to crank things up a notch and include more proteins, vitamins, minerals especially folic acid and iron and some extra calories for energy and increase it as you progress in your pregnancy. But eating to get more nutrients doesn't have to mean eating more in general. If you are already at a healthy weight, then you don't need extra calories in the first trimester. In the second trimester, you need about 340 extra calories a day and about 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester. The numbers will change if you are underweight or overweight.
- Say no to some: During pregnancy, give a skip to food items like raw seafood and undercooked meat and poultry. This could lead to potentially dangerous infections. Other foods to steer clear from include unpasteurized milk and soft cheese. All of these are possible sources of bacteria that can be harmful to an unborn child. It is always good to give your fruits and veggies a good extra wash, as always. Try to avoid the known culprits like popular local fruits that may be laden with artificial ripeners. Also avoid food with excess oil or preservatives. You will also have to say a complete no to alcohol or smoking during this period. While most sites suggest that you also ditch your caffeine fix, you can best keep it less than 200 mg or 12 ounces in a day. Stick to decaffeinated tea and sodas when possible. Some other foods that have to be avoided during pregnancy are packaged food, cold drinks, preserved food items as they contain preservatives, which are harmful. Also, chinese food should be avoided as it contains monosodium glutamate, which is again harmful due to teratogenic chemical.
- Diet a big no: Another big no during pregnancy is dieting or controlling the intake of food to lose weight. Pregnancy is the time you actually, for once, get to legally gain weight and be happy about. Don't mess up your natural system with forced diets.
- Keep the food coming: Pregnancy is the time for food craving at all odd hours and the time to give into them without an ounce of guilt! If you are dealing with nausea and food aversion, try to stick to small meals throughout the day. Replace the chips with carrot sticks and the pizza slice with soup. If that sweet tooth starts acting up, give it a frozen fruit dessert or shake.