Pregnancy Nutrition: Tips for Mothers-to-Be

Congratulations, you’re pregnant!! You may be feeling a strange mixture of excitement, joy, anxiousness and anticipation right now. You may also be wondering how to best take care of yourself and the little one now growing inside of you. Here are some nutrition tips below to help you on your pregnancy journey:

Try to eat a varied, well balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least 3 meals 1-3 snacks a day. No, you don’t really need to ‘eat for two’, but starting in the 2nd trimester you can add on an extra 340 calories a day to your intake. Then in the 3rd trimester you can increase this slightly to an extra 452 calories a day. In terms of actual food though, 340 calories is not a huge amount more. It is equivalent to about an extra 12 ounce cup of semi-skimmed milk and a slice of toast with jam. Alternatively, it could also be equivalent to about 6 oreo cookies or just 2/3 of a Starbucks’ iced lemon pound cake, so think about how/where you spend those extra calories!

Make sure you take at least 2-3 servings of a calcium rich food/beverage daily. Examples are cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese or calcium fortified soymilk, oatmilk or other calcium rich alternatives. Most health professionals also recommend starting daily prenatal multivitamins, as well as a calcium supplement depending on your nutritional status and intake during pregnancy.

Lastly, go easy on those carbs. If rice or pasta is your staple, or you have a sweet tooth, it is easy to go overboard on the cookies, cakes, sweets, noodles and white rice, using pregnancy as your excuse. Don’t get gestational diabetes like I did! It’s definitely no fun poking your finger 4 times a day…So space out your carbohydrate intake throughout the day, and go easy on the sweets which don’t offer much nutritional value. If you do get gestational diabetes, don’t worry things will improve after you give birth. But a history of gestational diabetes does increase your risk of having type 2 diabetes later in life, so you will still need to be careful post-labor. If you had gestational diabetes, then after baby is born, still make it a point to check your blood glucose levels periodically using a self-testing glucometer kit or get a fasting blood glucose level check every year around your baby’s birthday.

And of course, do your stretches, walking, swimming and/or other exercises as you are able to (with your doctor’s advice) to keep moving and flexible!