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Choosing The Best Pregnancy Diet

When you’re pregnant, it’s very important to ensure that your diet provides good nutrition, both for you and your baby. The recommended weight gain for a pregnant woman of average weight is between 25 and 35 pounds. Women who begin pregnancy underweight will be expected to gain more, while even women who begin pregnancy overweight will need to gain about 20 pounds during the course of their pregnancies. However, the amount of weight you gain is less important that the diet you eat to gain that weight.

When you’re pregnant, your diet should consist primarily of lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy and healthy fats. Protein is the basic building block of the body – your baby needs lots of it to help her body grow and develop. Studies also suggest that adequate protein intake can help minimize morning sickness and help prevent hypertension and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. You’ll need to take in between 80 and 100 grams of protein every day while you’re pregnant. The best sources of protein are lean meats, eggs, poultry and fish. You can use vegetable sources of protein such as beans and rice, but excessive consumption of soy isn’t recommended during pregnancy.

In addition, vegetables and fruits are good sources of many of the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need. They’re also a great source of fiber, which is important to help prevent a common pregnancy side effect – constipation. Leafy green vegetables and fruits rich in Vitamin C should be a part of your pregnancy diet every day.

Whole grains also provide energy, nutrition and even more fiber. It’s especially important to choose whole grains over refined grain products while you’re pregnant. Refined grain products include white bread, pasta, cakes, cookies and many more – all of these items should be avoided. Not only are whole grains more nutritious, they’re also more satisfying and will help you to avoid empty calories.

Dairy products are also good sources of protein and calcium. Generally, you should include four servings of dairy as a part of your pregnancy diet.

Healthy fats are another crucial part of your pregnancy diet. There are certain fat soluble vitamins that your body can only metabolize properly in the presence of fat. In addition, fat is essential for your baby's growing nervous system. Sources of healthy fats include seeds and nuts, avocados and olive oil.

You should also drink enough liquids to satisfy your thirst – about 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. The best sources of liquids for pregnant women are water and milk. You should try to avoid beverages and foods containing caffeine, as they can cause nervousness and dehydration, although one cup of coffee daily is usually fine. Generally, it’s better to eat fruit than to drink fruit juice.

Finally, try to keep in mind that when you’re pregnant with one baby, you’ll need an additional 200 to 500 calories per day. When you’re carrying more than one baby, you’ll need even more than that to ensure you and your baby get the nutrition you need.

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