Friday, August 15, 2008

Eating Right for a Healthy Baby

You hear a lot about how you need to eat the “right” foods when you are pregnant. Sometimes you may wonder if you are getting the right kinds and amounts of foods. It’s really pretty easy. Eat healthy foods during your pregnancy to give your baby a good start in life. The foods you eat help your baby’s growth, muscles, bones, brain cells and more!

It is important that you get enough calcium. Even if milk does not agree with you, you might find you can drink small amounts at a time. A few other options are cheese or turnip greens.

You need to drink more fluids when you are pregnant. Drink at least 8 glasses of water, milk, fruit/vegetable juice each day. These are your best choices are you will be less constipated and less likely to get bladder and urinary tract infections.

If you fill up on junk food, you won’t have room for healthy foods. Snacks like potato chips, cakes, cookies, pies, candy, salad dressings, and fried foods are high in calories, fats and/or sugars. Although they taste good, they do nothing to help your and your baby stay healthy. Choose snacks wisely. Great snack ideas are raisins, fresh fruit, low fat frozen yogurt, salt-free pretzels, and raw vegetables with a low-fat dip.

You may be eligible for WIC services. Besides learning about the food you need, you will be able to get free food. The healthy foods include milk, eggs, fruit juice, peanut butter, cheese and dry beans/peas.

A lot of women are worried about weight gain during pregnancy. Eating enough during pregnancy can make a big difference to the health of your baby. Healthy eating will help you maintain a safe and steady weight gain.

Weight gain during pregnancy varies from woman to woman in each pregnancy. If you were a normal weight before you got pregnant, it is recommended that you gain between 25 and 37 pounds. Talk to your prenatal care provider for advice on weight gain if you were under or overweight before you got pregnant.

*Portions of this post originated from "If You Are Pregnant: A Handbook for Expectant Mothers" previously distributed by Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene.

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