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Nutrition While Pregnant

Eating for Two, When One of You is the Size of a Pinto Bean

You’re pregnant, congratulations! You have an exciting 9 months ahead of you. Mood swings, food cravings and morning sickness await, but so does the unfettered right to eat for two – right? Right, but not exactly. Although it is true that your body will require more calories while you are pregnant than it did before you are pregnant, it is not true that you need to eat enough to feed two full grown adults. You must remember that one of you is tiny. Especially in the early days, the food on your plate is bigger than the bay in your belly. Sure that baby has a ravenous appetite, but keeping things in perspective, a pinto bean, even at its hungriest could never eat a whole pint of Hagen Daaz.

So how much should you eat while you are pregnant? From a strictly caloric perspective, a good pregnancy diet will allow you about 300 extra calories per day in the second and third trimesters. During that first trimester, you don’t actually require extra calories! Assuming that you were not underweight to begin with and that you are only carrying a singleton, keeping your daily caloric intake right around 2,600 will help you maintain a slow, steady weight gain and a successful, healthy pregnancy. Many expectant moms struggle with eating anything in the first trimester because of morning sickness, so taking in even 2,000 calories can be a struggle.

Honestly though, what you are eating is much more important than how much you are eating while pregnant. There are certain foods that are considered real no-no’s on just about any pregnancy diet, and that is because of the increased chances of introducing bacteria to the body that your fetus might be harmed by that they pose. Food items such as sushi, unpasteurized cheeses and cold deli meats can harbor the dangerous listeria bacteria. Sprouts and certain unpasteurized fruit juices can contain salmonella or E. coli and certain types of seafood are too high in mercury. Make certain that the foods that you eat are well washed and fully cooked before you eat them, and you will have a much healthier pregnancy.

As with most things surrounding pregnancy, the best advice is to use common sense. Remember that while you are eating for two, you are also feeding two. Consider whether or not you would want to feed your child what you are about to eat, once they are born, and use that as a yardstick for whether or not you should eat it while pregnant.