Nutrition During Pregnancy
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||adage, anemia, congenital, folic, food-related, low-calorie, low-fat, nutritionist, pregnancy, prenatal, trimester, whole-grain, additional, retardation, gradual, odds
||I'm Marie, Now I'm
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Nutrition During Pregnancy
By Jennifer Kenny
1 Sandra walked into the nutritionist's office and sat down. She looked around at the posters hanging on the wall. The door opened.
2 "Greetings! You must be Sandra. I'm Marie," the nutritionist said as she opened the door. "What can I do for you today?"
3 "I'm here because I'm expecting a baby in June. I want to eat the right foods and gain just the right amount of weight, not too much and not too little. When I started asking my doctor many food-related questions, he gave me your name. So here I am!" said Sandra.
4 "Well, you've come to the right place!" Marie responded confidently. "Let's start with some basics. Eating healthy meals and snacks are an important priority. It affects the health of that little baby growing inside of you. Did your doctor prescribe any vitamins?"
5 "Yes," said Sandra. "He prescribed prenatal vitamins."
6 "Perfect," said Marie. "Your body needs certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Taking that vitamin pill each day is important, especially because of the folic acid it contains. Folic acid has been proven to prevent certain birth defects of the brain, birth defects of the spine, cleft lip, and congenital heart disease."
7 "OK," Sandra said. "I'll remember to take it each day then."
8 "Now," Marie continued, "in terms of calories and weight gain, I recommend approximately 2,500 to 2,700 calories a day for expectant mothers. Of course, these calories should be from healthy foods. For most pregnant women, this is only about 300 extra calories a day. You need additional nutrients because of the growing baby, but I don't think you need to eat for two as the old adage says."
9 Marie went on, "Every mom-to-be seems fixated on weight gain. A woman who is underweight usually needs to gain 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. A woman who is overweight usually needs to gain 15 to 25 pounds. You seem right about average weight, so I would recommend a weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds to be quite healthy. The weight gain should be gradual. Most of the weight gain will be in the last trimester."
10 "Sandra, now is not the time to go on a low-calorie diet. If you don't eat enough, your body will produce ketones. Ketones indicate the body is in starvation mode. The presence of ketones in the body over an extended period of time can cause mental retardation in the baby," Marie said. "Do you have any questions so far?"
11 "No," Sandra said. "Everything seems like common sense so far."
12 "That's because it is, Sandra," Marie replied. "Pregnancy should be your healthiest eating time. You need the recommended daily allowances plus... so to speak. Now I'm going to give you a chart with some specifics. I would recommend seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Besides the fiber and minerals, vitamin C helps develop healthy gums, heal wounds, and absorb iron."
13 "That should be easy enough," said Sandra.
14 Marie continued, "The next thing on the chart mentions whole-grain breads and cereals. I recommend six to nine servings each day in this category. Next comes four or more servings of low-fat dairy. This might be milk, yogurt, cheese, and so on. The calcium in these products is needed for strong bones and teeth. These foods also offer vitamins that aid growth, fight infection, and improve vision. In addition, I recommend that you eat around 60 grams of protein each day. That's about 10 grams more a day than I would expect if you were not having a baby. Then there are a couple of odds and ends I think we should address."
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