OB ABCs

Week 8

week_08The common thought is you are now eating for two, but your growing baby only needs about 300 extra calories each day.

The common thought is you are now eating for two, but your growing baby only needs about 300 extra calories each day.

As your pregnancy continues on its natural course, your job is to take care of yourself. In addition to getting adequate rest and exercise, you should be eating a healthy diet to ensure you and your baby have the vitamins and nutrients you’ll both need for the weeks ahead.

Way to Grow

The common thought is you are now eating for two, but your growing baby only needs about 300 extra calories each day. During the first trimester—from the beginning of pregnancy through week 12—women who are at a healthy weight should only gain about 3 to 5 pounds (underweight women should gain up to 6 and overweight women should gain about 2).

Put aside the stereotypical pregnancy diet of ice cream and pickles, and think about your food choices during the coming weeks as high-test fuel for your baby’s optimal development. You will also need additional nutrient requirements as your body changes.

On the Menu

Women and their growing children require a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein, including beans, eggs, low-fat milk and dairy products, nuts, nut butters and lean meats. If you are a vegetarian, consult your healthcare provider regarding strategies to ensure you consume the needed nutrients while avoiding meat.

Drink plenty of water—at least six 8-ounce glasses daily—to promote healthy elimination, protect against dehydration and support body changes such as an increase in blood volume.

Avoid junk food and sweets that add calories but offer little nutritional value to you and your growing baby. Continuing to take a prenatal vitamin will help ensure you are receiving vital nutrients daily, but it should not be considered a substitute for a healthy diet.

Additional iron is needed to make hemoglobin—a component of red blood cells that carries oxygen. Easily absorbed sources include beans, dark leafy vegetables, eggs, enriched cereals, red meat and tofu.

To help meet your calcium requirement of 1,000 mg each day for strong bone and teeth growth, aim for at least four servings of dairy, such as one cup of low-fat yogurt or milk, one and a half ounces of natural cheese or two ounces of processed cheese. Calcium is also found in almonds, beans, tofu and vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and spinach.

TIPS

  • Pregnant women should obey cravings for healthy foods, such as a navel orange each day. However, some pregnant women have the strong urge to eat non-food items—a condition called pica. Discuss any urges to eat non-food items, such as such as dirt, ice, laundry starch and soap, with your healthcare provider.
  • Eating fish during pregnancy can provide protein and healthful omega-3 fatty acids, but certain types contain mercury, which can be harmful to your growing child. Avoid predator fish, such as king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish during pregnancy, and limit canned tuna consumption to six ounces and total fish consumption to 12 ounces each week.