Eating (Well) for Two

Eating (Well) for Two

Elizabeth Ward is the guru on nutrition during pregnancy. She wrote the bookon it, literally. So what did the author of the American Dietetic Association''s"Pregnancy Nutrition: Good Health for You and Your Baby" eat during herpregnancies? Doughnuts -- and lots of ''em.

"I had to have a doughnut just about every day about midmorning duringmy first trimester. It was the fat -- I love fat when I get pregnant," Wardconcedes. "Especially with my third pregnancy. I was so sick for about thefirst four months that I ate whatever struck me. I had to get through the day,and I didn''t stop to worry that I wasn''t eating an orange or eating mycarrots."

Don''t misunderstand. It''s not that Ward pushes a steady diet of crullers andcinnamon twists for pregnancy. A balanced diet, plenty of calcium and iron, andfluids are still essential for moms-to-be and the healthy growth of theirbabies, she says. Pregnant women who eat right and gain the recommended weighthave fewer pregnancy complications, easier deliveries and lose the extra poundsfaster. Malnourished babies are at greater risk for health problems anddevelopmental difficulties, and large babies are harder to deliver.

But don''t sweat it those first few months if you can''t stomach everythingyou''re supposed to eat, either. The nutritional needs of a tiny fetus areminimal then, and especially if you''re taking a multivitamin, you''ll becompensating for some of your dietary deficiencies. "If someone''swell-nourished to begin with, they can really coast that first trimester,"says Katherine Puls, a certified nurse-midwife in Evanston, Ill. "It''s morea matter of not getting dehydrated and eating what appeals to you." Hereare some nutrition tips to follow during pregnancy, as soon as you can.

Eat Twice as Well, Not Twice as Much

You may be eating for two now, but don''t get psyched for thatdouble-chocolate sundae -- an extra glass of milk is better. Nutritional needsduring pregnancy only go up about 300 extra calories, which should generally bespread out over all the basic food groups. The only "extras" areanother serving of milk or dairy for the necessary calcium (mostly to buildstrong bones) and about 10 more grams of protein (for cell formation) than yourbasic USDA food pyramid recommendations for women who are not pregnant.

For women who are already used to eating a balanced diet with plenty ofbreads and grain, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and some meat orprotein, the change won''t be dramatic. Fats should remain at about 30% or lessof total calories, although fat restriction shouldn''t be a major concern duringpregnancy. Vegetarians should be able to get the nutrients they need fromcareful food choices, although those who don''t eat animal products may need aniron supplement.

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