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NUTRITION

Pregnant women, nursing mothers and women who may become pregnant should avoid alcohol, smoking and drug use.

In addition to eating a healthy diet, pregnant women are encouraged to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid and a mineral supplement daily.

Avoid empty calories from added sugars and solid fats in foods like desserts, fried foods, cheese, fatty meats, soda, and whole milk. Look for choices that are low-fat, unsweetened, or with no added-sugars. They have fewer or no empty calories that can be the cause of weight gain.

Make choices from each food group: Vegetable, Fruit, Dairy, Grains and Protein. Remember to always drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

WEIGHT GAIN

Many pregnant women often ask, “How much weight should I gain?” The total amount of weight gained depends on your weight when you become pregnant. If your weight is in a healthy range, you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds.

Women who are underweight, overweight, or expecting more than one baby should consult their healthcare provider to find out the amount of weight gain that is appropriate.

Weight gain should be gradual from 1 to 4 pounds during the first 3 months and 2 to 4 pounds per month during the 4th to the 9th month. Intake of calories per day for the first 3 months should be 2,000. From the second trimester until the end of your pregnancy and the first 6 months of breastfeeding your intake of calories should be 2,400 a day to help support the demand for the growing fetus or breastfeeding.