As soon as the + sign appears on the pregnancy test, most women are bombarded with well-meaning, well-intentioned, but sometimes contrary advice. Food is one of those areas of concern for pregnant women and advice can come at them from every angle.
"Don't eat too much!" "Don't eat too little!" "Eat lots of protein." "Have seconds...you're eating for two."
It is no wonder moms-to-be can get overwhelmed with advice on their diet. To keep it simple, here are five easy tips to create a healthy pregnancy diet.
1. Eat a variety of foods.
Experts recommend 6-11 servings of bread and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four dairy servings, and three servings of lean protein. Keep fat and sweets to a minimum and try to choose foods high in fiber to avoid pregnancy constipation and hemorrhoids.
2. Get enough vitamins and minerals.
Taking a prenatal vitamin is a must to ensure that both the mother and unborn baby are getting enough nutrients. However, diet is key, too. Getting 1000 to 1300 mg of calcium, about four servings of dairy, each day is recommended. Other recommended vitamins to focus on are folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and iron.
3. Limit caffeine. Eliminate alcohol.
Experts agree that pregnant women can safely consume about 300 mg of caffeine a day, which is equal to about two small cups of coffee. However, when it comes to alcohol, total abstinence is the safest bet. Drinking alcohol has been linked to birth defects, premature delivery, mental retardation, and babies with low birth weight. No drink is worth it.
4. Do not diet.
Every pregnant woman, especially those who can't see their feet at the moment, dreams about getting back in their skinny jeans. But experts agree, save the dieting until after the baby is born.
One thing that will help moms shed the baby weight easier, is to decrease the amount of fat eaten during pregnancy. Try keeping the fat content to less than 30% of one's total intake. For someone eating 2000 calories a day, that would mean limiting fat to 65 grams or less.