Here are the answers to some frequently-asked questions on healthy eating during pregnancy.
During your pregnancy you should aim to gain about 25 lbs to 35 lbs (11.4 kg to 15.9 kg), although this might vary depending on your pre-pregnancy weight and whether you are carrying twins or multiples.
Most women typically gain between 3 lbs and 4 lbs (1.4 kg to 1.8 kg) during the first trimester. You should gain weight slowly but steadily during the last half of your pregnancy. A good rate of weight gain after the first trimester is approximately 1 lb (0.45 kg) each week.
First trimester: Most women usually don't need to increase their usual daily intake of calories (i.e., 1,800 to 2,000 calories), unless they need to compensate for starting a pregnancy underweight.
Second and third trimesters: You will need an extra 200 to 300 calories each day. But that doesn't mean feeling uncomfortably full. For example, just one piece of toast and a banana can supply those extra calories.
Women who start out under- or overweight, women who are very physically active, and women with certain medical conditions should talk to their doctor about specific caloric needs.
Choose a variety of different foods from each of the four food groups of Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide. Eat regularly and enjoy nutritious snacks – aim for 3 meals and 3 snacks daily. These should include:
Consult your doctor or dietitian to find out if you need to take a vitamin or mineral supplement during pregnancy. Your doctor can help you choose an appropriate supplement that contains suitable amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Here are some common supplements used during pregnancy:
Vegetarians: Pregnant women who are vegetarian can still enjoy a carefully planned vegetarian diet, provided they take extra care to get enough protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. The Vegetarian Food Guide published by the Dietitians of Canada suggests that pregnant women consume the following amount of these foods daily:
Vegans: Vegan diets can be low in calories, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, B6, calcium, and vitamin D. If you are vegan, talk to your doctor or a dietitian about ensuring you get enough essential nutrients during pregnancy.
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