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Eating right for two: healthy pregnancy nutrition

This article is part of the Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy.

When you’re pregnant, you need to pay careful attention to what you eat and drink. Certain foods are important to eat because they supply needed nutrients for you and your baby. Other foods and drinks are important to avoid because they can harm your growing baby. Even the healthiest eaters need to make a few changes while pregnant.

Healthy womanPregnant women have different nutrition needs

Almost all pregnant women need to get more protein and more nutrients such as folic acid and iron. If your diet is already focused on lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, the changes you’ll make while pregnant won’t be too significant. If your diet could use some work, now is the time to start eating healthy. Focusing on good nutrition while pregnant is one of the best things you can do for your baby.

The myth of eating for two

Pregnancy can definitely increase your appetite but you really don’t need many more extra calories for your growing baby.  If you start off at a healthy weight, you need no extra calories during the first trimester, about 300 extra calories a day in the second trimester, and about 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester. If you're overweight or underweight, you'll need more or less than this, depending on your weight gain goal. At your first prenatal visit, talk to your doctor about your nutritional needs to make sure you’re doing what’s best for you and your baby. Your doctor will likely give you lists of recommendations.

Here are a few important choices you can make as soon as you know you’re pregnant - before you even see the doctor:

Things to avoid while pregnanthappy healthy family

  • Sushi and raw seafood
  • Alcohol
  • Soft cheeses such as brie or queso blanco
  • Raw or undercooked meat and poultry

Things to cut back on

  • Caffeine
  • Fish - the FDA recommends no more than two servings a week and focus on fish such as salmon, canned light tuna or pollock which are low in mercury

Things to add to your diet

  • Eggs
  • Fiber-filled foods such as beans, sweet potatoes and whole grains - popcorn is a great whole grain snack!
  • Greek  yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese and other foods rich in calcium
  • Prenatal vitamins
A note about prenatal vitamins It's hard to get all the nutrients you and your baby need, even if your diet is close to perfect and you eat a broad range of foods. Most women can benefit from taking a prenatal vitamin throughout pregnancy and even before they start trying to conceive.

Working towards Baby Friendly Designation

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is recognized as the gold standard of evidence-based maternity care in the United States. Logansport Memorial Hospital is pursuing Baby-Friendly designation in 2016. Working toward this prestigious distinction will position Logansport Memorial Hospital as one of the best maternity care providers in the country.

To learn more about this initiative and what steps we are taking as we pursue it, visit the Baby Friendly website.

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