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The Importance of Eating Enough During Pregnancy

Your Diet Affects Your Baby's Health
-- By Tanya Jolliffe, Healthy Eating Expert

Oftentimes, the focus of weight gain during pregnancy is targeted at the potential problems related to gaining too much weight. This can scare many pregnant women into eating too little, in an effort to limit or prevent excess weight gain.

However, it is equally as important that woman gain enough weight. It is very important that your baby get proper nutrition from the foods you eat. Dieting or limiting food intake during pregnancy is not a wise idea.

Recommendations for healthy weight gain during pregnancy are based on your weight before you became pregnant. Women who are at "normal" weight (Body Mass Index of 19.8 - 26) when they become pregnant are advised to gain 25 - 35 pounds during their pregnancies. Likewise, experts advise women who are "underweight" (BMI less than 19.8) when they become pregnant to gain 28-40 pounds during their pregnancies.

Healthy eating and healthy weight gain result in many positive pregnancy benefits. Gaining a healthy amount of weight:
  • Counteracts your baby's susceptibility to infection and birth defects caused by low birth weight
  • Decreases your risk for complications such as anemia and pre-eclampsia
  • Reduces the risk of pre-term labor and delivery
  • Helps to ensure a healthy birth weight for your baby, which decreases his risk of delayed development, disease, and mortality during the first few months of life.
During the first trimester, it is normal to gain anywhere from zero to six pounds.

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Member Comments About this Article
"It is important to be sure you are getting all your key nutrient needs especially for protein, iron, calcium and folate and that usually takes at least about 1800 calories a day for the average healthy eater. Work with your medical provider to ensure you have a slow but healthy weight gain and focus on nutrients within your healthy eating plan." -- TONKA_14
"I feel like 2000-2300 calories a day is too much. I am a constant calorie counter (not a dieter) and I have kept off 130 pounds for 6 years. I never ate above 1500 calories a day since my weight loss otherwise I would gain weight. I am nervous and scared to become obese again. Out of habit and fear I try to keep my calories below 1500 a day. I have gained 3 pounds and I am 15 weeks pregnant. I guess my question is do I really need 200-2300 calories every day? I am 5'5 and I weigh 168 pound..." -- JESSANN66203
"If you're having troubling gaining a healthy amount of weight, you may need a referral to see a dietitian in your area for a complete nutritional assessment and evaluation. In addition, try the following tips to help you pack on the right number of pounds. Having Trouble Eating Enough during Pregnancy? Use These Calorie-Boosting Tips
" -- TONKA_14
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About The Author
Tanya Jolliffe
Tanya earned a bachelor's degree in dietetics and nutrition and has more than 15 years of nutrition counseling experience. She has worked with clients in such areas as prenatal nutrition, general family nutrition and therapeutic nutrition in end-stage organ disease.

 


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