Nutrition is such an important part of pregnancy. Nikkie Strong is a registered dietician and personal trainer in Spokane. She has written an informative segment below on nutrition and has offered her contact information for anyone interested. Please take the time to read and ask one of us if you have questions, or contact her directly.
Dominique Grant M.D.
Eating healthy transcends through all life cycles. What is needed to be healthy when you are trying to get pregnant, when you are trying to lose weight, when you are a child, and when you are aging all have the same foundations with unique properties to thrive. Pregnancy in particular, has some key changes to keep you and your baby safe. Your nutrition during this time not only affects you, but inadequate nutritional status during development can also have consequences for the child later in life, increasing his or her risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and Type II diabetes. Listed below are the key factors to healthy nutrition during pregnancy.
You’re building a person (maybe a few!) and this means that your calories and nutrient needs increase as well, resulting in weight gain. How much weight should you gain? If you start out at a normal weight, expect to gain 1-1 1/2 pounds each month during your first trimester, during your second trimester you should gain 1/2-3/4 pound each week, and during your third trimester you should about 1 pound each week.
Not sure what category you are in? Use this link and enter your pregnancy starting weight: Learn More Here.
During your second and third trimester you will need an additional 300 calories/day. If you exercise regularly, you may need an extra 500 calories/day. Adjust your calorie intake as needed to meet your weight gain recommendations.
* The FDA recommends eating 8 to 12 ounces of fish low in mercury per week. That amounts to about 2 to 3 servings of fish per week, which can be eaten in place of other types of protein. Make sure to choose a variety of fish lower in mercury, such as salmon, tilapia, shrimp, tuna (canned light), cod, and catfish.
Your body is in a state of building and your protein needs are increasing. During pregnancy you need to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. (For example, if you weight 150 lbs, you will need 150 grams of protein). Good sources of protein include lean meats, greek yogurts, and cottage cheese.
Omega-3’s are important for central nervous system development, particularly nerves and eyes. Studies have shown that higher levels of maternal omega-3 consumption are related to better visual acuity and mental and psychomotor skills at 6 months and 11 months. Good sources of omega-3’s include flax, walnuts, chia, algae or fish oil supplements (non liver), and seaweed.
Vitamin D supports immune function, healthy cell division and bone health for both the mother and the baby. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Good sources of vitamin D include 20-30 min sun exposure 2-3 days per week, and Vitamin D-fortified foods.
Zinc is known to be important for many biological functions including protein synthesis, cellular division and nucleic acid metabolism. Good sources of zinc include legumes, nuts, whole grains, and animal foods.
Folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Good sources include dark, leafy veggies, legumes, and folate-fortified foods.
Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth. Calcium also allows the blood to clot normally, nerves to function properly, and the heart to beat normally. Good sources include dark, leafy veggies, bok choy, tofu, legumes, figs, nuts, seeds, fortified milks, fortified cereals, and grains.
Vitamin B-12 helps to maintain your nervous system. Good sources of Vitamin B-12 include animal products, particularly milk, poultry, and fish.
Your body uses iron to make extra blood for both you and your baby during pregnancy, as well as move oxygen from your lungs to the rest rest of your body, including your placenta. Iron deficiency anemia is common during pregnancy, a condition that will make you feel even more tired. Good sources of iron include dark, leafy veggies, dried fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and animal foods.
Staying hydrated is especially important during pregnancy. Your water needs increase during pregnancy because your blood volume is rapidly increasing. Complications from dehydration include headaches and migraines, nausea, cramps, swelling, achy joints, and dizziness. Use the link below to calculate your hydration needs:
SupplementationResearch has shown that vitamin supplementation can improve pregnancy outcomes while even reducing nausea. Things to consider when adding a supplement:
Most prenatal vitamins meet these requirements. Ideally you should start taking a prenatal vitamin once you start trying to conceive. But what if your prenatal vitamin is making you sick???
Have more questions? Talk with your doctor at Spokane OB/GYN or contact Nikki Strong, Registered Dietitian at: