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5 Pregnancy Diet Strategies

Healthy eating tips for you and your baby-to-be.
It is especially important to eat right during your pregnancy because your food choices will have a direct effect on your baby's growth and development. Not only that, healthy eating habits will keep you feeling energized throughout the nine months of your expectancy. So check out these five smart food strategies.

1. Don't diet

It's natural to worry about excessive weight gain during pregnancy, but this is not the time to cut down on calories and fats. "Women should consume enough food to gain around two to four pounds during the first two months of pregnancy," says Judith Brown, maternal nutrition expert and author of What to Eat Before, During, and After Pregnancy. Your growing baby needs certain fats to develop properly particularly for vision development and formation of healthy skin. Aim to consume "good fats", i.e. the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

2. Eat a variety of foods

"The cornerstone of a healthy diet is the selection of a variety of foods that together provide the level of energy and nutrients needed for maternal health and fetal development and growth," adds Brown. Supplements should never take the place of food because many components of food that promote health are not contained in supplements.

In addition to eating a healthy diet, it is vital to ensure you're getting at least 400mcg of folic acid from prior to conception throughout pregnancy. Poor folate intake in early pregnancy causes about 70 percent percent of all cases of spina bifida and other forms of neural tube defect, and also increases the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and fetal heart defects, cautions Brown.

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