1. Nutrition and Exercise

A healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy diet and lifestyle.  The saying “you are what you eat” was never more important or truthful than it is in pregnancy.  Additionally, pregnancy offers families a wonderful opportunity to introduce or continue healthy habits related to diet and relationships with food that can convey lifelong health benefits to you and your baby. 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 300 extra calories are needed daily to maintain a healthy pregnancy. 

Your diet should be balanced and contain a variety of foods, with a focus on plant based eating.  This includes more dark, green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, orange vegetables like carrots and squash, and fruits like apples, blueberries, raspberries, oranges, and bananas. 

Cooked dried beans and lean protein sources from organic meats are preferred.  Two fish servings per week are also recommended, and can be safely ingested without concern about harmful mercury contamination in the form of non-predatory fish (hake, kingklip, sole, pilchards, sardines, cooked tuna). 

The hormonal changes in pregnancy make cravings for carbohydrates and sugars intense at times.  It is better to include complex carbohydrates to avoid excessive weight gain that can result from sugars and simple carbohydrates.  Healthy carbohydrates include oatmeals, brown rices, sweet potatoes, quinoa, barley, whole grain pasta, and multigrain bread products. 

Avoidance of excessive amounts of high sugars found in juices, cakes, pastries, bagels, and ice cream is important. 

Increased water intake is a must to encourage proper blood flow and hydration. 

Below is a guide to help plan meals during pregnancy as well:

Milk, Yogurt, Cheese Group

  • 3-4 Servings
  • Pregnancy typically needs about 1200mg of calcium daily and 1000 units of Vitamin D daily
  • Foods that provide about 300mg of calcium per serving include 1 cup milk, yogurt, 2 oz cheese
  • If you are lactose intolerant, consider green vegetables, calcium fortified orange juice or supplements

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans, Nuts

  • 3 Servings
  • Consider 50-75grams protein per day
  • Servings include 2 eggs, 3 oz cooked lean meat, peanut or almond butter, 1/2 cup lentils/beans
  • Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tile fish.  Limit other fish to 12oz per week 

Fruits and Vegetables

  • 5-10 Servings
  • Excellent Sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibre
  • Wash thoroughly before eating
  • Servings include 1 medium size fruit, 1 cup berries/melon, 1/2 cup cooked veggies, 1 cup raw veggies

Breads, Grains, Cereals

  • Focus on complex carbs and true whole grains
  • Add fibre by adding beans, dried fruit, nuts/seeds, bran cereals/muffins
  • A diet rich in fibre in pregnancy can help when constipation is an issue

Important Nutrients

  • Folic Acid – contained in your prenatal vitamin and many whole grains, cereals, vegetables, and beans
  • Iron – lean meats, dark leafy green vegetables, beans, molasses
  • Vitamin C – can help enhance iron absorption.  Rich in fruits and veggies 
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