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Pregnant women need an extra 300 calories a day to ensure the health of their babies. It is important that these extra calories come in the form of nutritious food and not empty calories. The American Pregnancy Association recommends four servings of fruits and vegetables, nine servings of carbohydrates (whole-grain bread or pasta), three servings of meat and three servings of dairy each day. Make sure all your diet and healthy recipes include:
Folic Acid: This vitamin has been proven to prevent certain birth defects that form in the early stages of pregnancy such as spina bifida. Most doctors recommend around .4 milligrams of folic acid per day in the form of a supplement. Folic acid is found naturally in orange juice, enriched grains and leafy greens such as spinach.
Calcium: During pregnancy it is essential that you get the recommended 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Most doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins with calcium, but you can also get calcium from dairy, broccoli and enriched juices among other things.
Iron: This nutrient prevents low birth weight and premature delivery. Though found naturally in spinach, beef and oatmeal, iron also comes in a supplemental form. Doctors recommend about 27 milligrams of iron per day.
Vitamin C: This vitamin helps build your and your baby's immune system. It is usually incorporated in prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor, but you can also find it in citrus fruit, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and green beans to name a few.
Vitamin B6: If you have trouble with morning sickness, get a daily dose of vitamin B6. Doctors recommend 1.9 milligrams per day, which can be taken in supplemental form or found in foods such as chicken, fish, dairy, eggs, soy and bananas.