Nutritional Guidelines for Pregnant and Nursing Moms


  1. Calories:Add 200 to 300 per day during the second and third trimester. It may not seem like a lot, but those extra calories are very important. Proper weight gain is needed to make sure your newborn is delivered at a healthy weight.
  2. Protein:Protein provides materials for the growing tissues, including the placenta, mother's blood and also for the baby. Get three good servings a day from tofu, beans, chicken, fish, meat or eggs. The National Academy of Science suggests a daily intake of 74 grams during pregnancy.
  3. Calcium: This mineral is needed for proper bone formation in the baby and to help preserve the mother's own bone strength. The need for calcium is most crucial during the last three months when fetal bone formation takes place. If mom's diet doesn't supply enough calcium, the fetus will deplete her supply. Drink a little more than one quart of milk a day to ensure you get enough. This amount of milk will also make a significant contribution toward your protein intake.
  4. Iron: An iron supplement is recommended during pregnancy since it is so difficult to get enough in your diet. The National Academy of Science recommends taking a daily supplement containing 30 milligrams of iron during the second and third trimester. Baby accumulates it for early life during the last three months, and moms need the extra iron to replenish their red blood supply and accommodate the demand created by increased blood volume.
  5. Folic Acid:This B vitamin is needed for proper cell division and can help prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spine. Studies show a reduced risk of spina bifida (open spine) and anencephaly, by about 50 percent. Because these birth defects develop during the first month after conception -- before most women know they are pregnant -- get 400 micrograms a day at least one month before becoming pregnant. A vitamin supplement is the best way to ensure you have met you requirements, but also include foods like orange juice, spinach and legumes.
  6. Fluids: You need extra fluid to feed your increased blood volume and for amniotic fluid. Drink at least six to eight glasses of liquid a day. Holding back on them won't alleviate the swelling you may have during pregnancy. In fact, too little fluid can tax your kidneys, causing them to compensate by retaining fluids.
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