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Follow the food pyramid guidelines, but make the following exceptions:
- Increase protein servings to at least three, and
- increase dairy servings to a minimum of four.
WARNING: Now that you know which foods to eat more of, here are some important foods to avoid:
- Do not eat swordfish, shark or fresh tuna in order to avoid exposure to mercury. Go light on canned tuna.
- Avoid all fresh-water fish as they are more likely to be contaminated with pesticides and carcinogens like dioxin or PCBs.
- Pass on the caffeine. Although studies don't confirm it, caffeine may cause birth defects, particularly in excess.
- Avoid Alcohol. This should go without saying. Don't drink when pregnant! The results are devastating.
Once the baby is born, if you plan on nursing, you need to pay just as much attention to nutrition as when you were pregnant, following the same guidelines -- with extra attention to calcium. You are still eating for two, and what you eat can still affect your baby via the nutrient content of your breast milk.
Some Advice for Nursing Moms
- A nursing mom losses 200 to 300 milligrams of calcium a day in breast milk. If your diet doesn't replace the loss, you set yourself up for the risk of osteoporosis later on.
- Nursing also demands a little more energy than pregnancy, so increase your intake of complex carbohydrates.
- When selecting from the fruits and vegetable group, be sure to include lots of vitamin C-rich foods, which are important for the baby.
- Wash it all down with lots of extra fluids. Toting a water bottle around during the day will remind you to drink.