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Should You Eat For Two During Pregnancy?

Aug 17, 2007
"Don't be shy; You're eating for two now!" Since you've announced your pregnancy, how often have you heard that phrase? People seem to still believe that expecting mothers should indulge and stuff themselves with whatever is handy and that high-sugar, high-salt foods are perfectly fine to eat in industrial quantities. There's nothing farther from the truth, and many people misinterpret the true meaning of 'eating for two.' Eating for two means is not that you should eat twice as much, but that you're eating for you and your baby.

The root of the expression really means is that you now have to be conscious that everything you eat is what your baby is forced to eat as well. Being pregnant means you're responsible for your baby's health by choosing foods and drinks that are right for him, not you. While you can still enjoy some chips or a soda, overindulgence will provide your body with a big boost of sodium or caffeine, something that isn't considered healthy for either you or your growing child. You have the option of setting aside the chips and soda to choose a peach and a glass of milk instead, but your baby doesn't.

You do need to gain weight during your pregnancy, and your doctor will want to weigh you often to make sure you're gaining in a gradual, steady ascent. Eating the wrong foods and overindulging will leave you packing on pounds that baby doesn't need and that you'll have a hard time getting rid of once your baby arrives.

The optimal weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds, but most of that isn't fat - it's mostly your placenta and your baby. What your baby does need is that you take in foods that provide plenty of vitamins and minerals to help him or her develop properly.

Eating for two in moderation doesn't mean that diets during pregnancy are recommended. Dieting can deprive your growing child of the nutrients it needs to take from the foods you eat, and doctors definitely don't want to see you losing weight during your pregnancy.

Some women are chronic dieters and this is one time in your life that you need to hold back and make sure you're getting the caloric intake your body needs. New trends of low carbohydrate diets are especially dangerous to pregnant women and their babies, as the child you carry needs to receive the glucose produced from carbohydrate for a steady, normal growth.

Contact your health practitioner or ask your doctor about nutritious foods for you and your baby. Parenting magazines and the internet can both provide information and tasty, wholesome recipes. Following the recommendations of the Food Guide is another good way to know if you're making proper, nutritious choices.

While you do need to eat more to compensate for your growing baby, there's no reason to stuff yourself or go overboard on anything at all. Eat well and properly, enjoying small, healthy snacks spread out during the day, and have complete meals for breakfast, lunch or supper that include plenty of vegetables and whole grains.
About the Author
Andi Michaels owns and writes regularly for Pregnancy And Family Planning where you can find more information and advice on all aspects of childbirth . Go to How to Stay Healthy for information and advice on getting fit generally
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