A Nutritional Guide For The Expecting Mother

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By: Karen Cowan

In a typical mom-to-be, the news of a pregnancy is met with excitement, anxiety and a frantic desire to learn everything needed to ensure that her child is born healthy. Consuming a healthful, nutrient-dense diet throughout pregnancy and while nursing can help set the stage for an optimal birth and postnatal experience. With that said, all the recommendations and guidelines women are bombarded with can be overwhelming to moms-to-be. A healthy nutrition plan in pregnancy begins with eating small, frequent meals. Those traditional “three square meals a day” are best replaced by five small meals—breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner and a bedtime snack. Pregnant women should avoid fasting (>13 hours) and should never skip breakfast, as doing so can increase the risk of a dangerous condition called ketosis, which is an increased acidity of the blood that can increase the risk of preterm delivery. Pregnant women are encouraged to eat an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and high-calcium foods during the entire gestation period. Other nutrition recommendations are more specific to the exact stage of fetal growth and development, which by convention is divided into pregnancy trimesters and postpartum lactation. Remember to always consult your physician before changing your diet if you have specific medical requirements. The next time you feel tempted to indulge on those cravings during your pregnancy, try one of these healthier, tasty substitutions:

Ice cream- Frozen low-fat yogurt topped with granola, sliced berries and a few dark chocolate shreds

Potato chips- Baked potato chips or low-fat soy crisps or veggie chips

Chocolate- Trail mix with equal portions of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and a few chocolate-covered raisins

Cheeseburger- Low-fat turkey or veggie burger, topped with avocado, tomato, and lettuce on a thin whole-wheat bun

Karen is an AFPA Certified Nutritionist, Wellness Specialist, and Certified Pre & Post Natal Exercise Specialist, having received certification through the American Fitness Professional & Associates. Karen is currently studying towards her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a member of the American Nutrition Association, IDEA Health & Fitness Association, and the American Fitness Professional & Associates. Additional CEC’s in Adolescent Fitness, Weight Training for Women, Nutrition & Dining Out, Stress Resilience, Research & Senior Fitness, Kid’s Health. Visit www.centralfloridanutrition.com or the Central Florida Nutrition facebook page, for more info.

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