Nutritional Guidelines for Pregnant and Nursing Moms

Nutrition during pregnancy is serious business. What you eat plays a vital role in determining the health of that little one you are so anxiously awaiting. Contrary to common belief, it isn't how much you eat that's so important, but WHAT you eat. In fact, a pregnant mom need only increase her calorie intake by 300 calories a day during the second and third trimester. But because weight gain seems to weigh so heavily on the minds of pregnant moms, we'll get that subject out of the way first.

How much to gain?

If you enter pregnancy at a weight you are realistically happy with, then the suggested amount of weight you should gain is about 25 pounds. Only two to four pounds of that goes on during the first trimester, the remainder is added at a rate of about 3/4 of a pound to one pound a week. For underweight moms, it is important to put on at least 28 to 40 pounds. If it's lots of extra weight you've started with, add only 15 to 25 pounds. Because little weight is gained during the first 14 weeks, don't worry if you just don't feel like eating during that trimester. By nature's design, when the nausea has calmed down, it's time to start tipping up the scales.

Weighty nutrients:

In addition to the developing fetus, the increased demand on your system requires lots of extra nutrition, and there are a few nutrients that play a critical role. Because your calorie increase isn't large enough to insure that you get those essential nutrients, you will have to pay special attention to your diet and take an appropriate supplement as well. The important components are:

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