More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?

All of us have days when we would rather have a tall cappuccino than a spinach salad. Holding up a glass of milk and saying, "Here's to you, baby; I'm building your bones!" can be a great motivator. This article mainly includes nutrients that are challenges to a number of pregnant women. I grouped the foods by nutrient types, and if I mention foods that you don't like, there's probably an alternative you do like.

Meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, and legumes are all great sources of protein. Proteins are the "building block" of bodies. Think about building baby's muscles (they also build other tissues). They are the foundation of the antibodies that fight infection and of hormones that regulate almost every aspect of baby's growth and development. Protein is also important for Moms. During pregnancy, your uterus grows to about 20 times its non-pregnant size, your breasts grow, and your blood volume expands significantly. So eat that protein - for you and baby! Eat 60 grams daily (more if you are pregnant with twins).

Milk, yogurt, cheese and other forms of dairy have protein also but they are also an excellent source of calcium. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth. It is also important for muscle functioning, nerve conduction, and production of hormones and enzymes. A low level of calcium is one cause of muscle cramping. Lactose intolerant or prefer a vegan diet? There are alternatives to dairy. Almonds are a good source of calcium, as are navy beans and turnip greens. [link to vegetarian pregnancy article] Pregnant women should eat at least 1000 mg of calcium daily - some sources say 1500 mg. If you are a teen mom, you will need even more.

Green leafy vegetables, asparagus, avocados, and beets are great sources of folic acid but so are black beans and navy beans. Many breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid. Folic acid is important in preventing serious birth defects. Pregnant women should have 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. Because folic acid deficiencies are so dangerous to babies, it is generally recommended that women of childbearing age have a supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid daily.

"Eat that liver for iron!" Grandma might have told you. She is right; red meat is a great source of iron and organ meats are especially high. However, you can also get iron from other foods such as fish and poultry and some vegetarian sources including dried fruits, dried beans, and fortified cereals. Iron is important for blood production and you and baby are both producing significant amount of blood. Baby is also storing up iron for the first few months of life. The CDC recommends that all pregnant women take an iron supplement (30mg/day). Eat 30 mg daily.

If someone says "vitamin C" many of us think of oranges and other citrus fruits. They are good sources of vitamin C but so are other foods. A yellow bell pepper has more vitamin C than a glass of orange juice. Just about every fruit and most green vegetables have some vitamin C. Use The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan Software to see which of your favorites have a lot. What does all that vitamin C do for mom and baby? It helps both of you form and maintain healthy blood vessels and keeps you from bruising easily. Vitamin C is essential to form collagen, that substance that "holds everything together." It helps Mom use that important folic acid. Vitamin C helps maintain a healthy immune system. Eat 85 mg or more daily. You may need more vitamin C if you have diabetes, have been unhealthy, or had an injury.

If it is one of those days when you just don't "feel" like a healthy meal, hold up some healthy food and picture your baby growing well and saying, "Thanks, Mom!"

Nourish yourself and your baby!