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Q: What are the nutrition basics of pregnancy?

Posted March 05, 2014 in Advice Column, Johnston

A: I cannot stress enough how important it is to start out your child’s life with a healthy diet, even in the womb. Pregnancy is not the time to be focusing on weight loss, but is also not a ticket to eat large amounts of whatever you want.

The first trimester of your pregnancy generally does not require extra calorie consumption, second trimester increase by 340 calories per day, and third trimester add 450 calories to your pre-pregnancy consumption. You can accomplish a “normal” weight gain of 25 – 35 pounds by eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein. If you are expecting twins, a gain of 37 – 54 pounds is normal. Moderate exercise of 30 minutes on most days of the week is still recommended throughout pregnancy (check with your doctor first, of course).

There are several food safety precautions to consider while pregnant. Tips include washing hands frequently, cooking your meat to proper temperatures, avoiding high mercury fish (shark, swordfish), avoid unpasteurized dairy products and undercooked or raw eggs. It is also wise to heat ready-to-eat meats (lunch meat, hot dogs) to steaming to avoid listeria that can potentially cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. Be mindful of these pregnancy nutrition basics and enjoy your pregnancy. Remember, your baby can only consume what you do yourself.

Information provided by Missy Anker, Registered Dietitian, Hy-Vee, 5750 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, 270-9045.

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