Prenatal Care: Nutrition

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  • 0:01 Prenatal Nutrition
  • 0:44 Caloric Intake
  • 1:41 What to Eat
  • 3:21 Foods to Limit
  • 5:57 What to Avoid
  • 7:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Heather Adewale

Heather has taught reproductive biology and has researched neuro, repro and endocrinology. She has a PhD in Zoology/Biology.

Does the saying 'You're now eating for two' mean that a pregnant women should double her caloric intake? What types of foods are needed during pregnancy? What about foods to avoid? Learn this and more in this lesson on prenatal nutrition.

Prenatal Nutrition

All right contestants! Let's test your nutritional knowledge. Today's topic: prenatal nutrition. This is the management of a future mother's nutrition or diet both prior to and during pregnancy. A growing baby needs lots of nutrients, and where does it get these? Anybody? That's right! From the mother! So, it's important for pregnant women to make sure they are getting both the right amounts and right kinds of nutrients from their food or their vitamins. So, today's categories are:

  • How much should you eat?
  • The good, the bad and the ugly

Caloric Intake

Contestant 1, choose your category. All right! The first question is true or false: 'Pregnant women should double their caloric intake; after all, they are eating for two!'

That's correct! This statement is false. Yes, a pregnant woman is eating for two, but that other person is a very tiny little baby who doesn't need the same amount of calories as a full grown adult does. So, 'how much does a pregnant woman need to increase her caloric intake by?'

A. 300 calories

B. 500 calories

C. 1000 calories

300 is correct! A pregnant mother only needs to increase her daily diet by about 300 calories; that's equal to a banana with peanut butter or two bowls of cereal.

What to Eat

Let's take a look at the other category - the good, the bad and the ugly. First question: 'Which of the following is the better breakfast for a pregnant woman to consume?'

A. Cooked eggs with a glass of milk and fruit

B. Waffles with syrup and OJ

C. Cereal with sugar sprinkled on top and a cup of coffee

C is incorrect. Let's take a look at why. Many cereals can be good for you because they contain whole grains and many vitamins and minerals, so what makes this meal not the best choice? That's right, the added sugar and the coffee! Two things that should be consumed in lower amounts during pregnancy.

That's correct! Eggs with milk and fruit is the best choice! Anybody know why? Eggs contain protein, the milk contains calcium and the fruit contains vitamins - all things that make this the best choice!

Some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy are foods high in protein. Not only will this give the mother energy, but it's also important to help the baby grow. A pregnant woman should also be sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables because these provide important vitamins and minerals that the baby needs to develop and grow properly. A moderate amount of dairy and carbohydrates are good too, as long as they aren't the only things she eats, and the carbs should be the good kinds, like whole grains. Now, what about the bad and the ugly?

Foods to Limit

Any ideas as to what sort of foods should be limited during pregnancy? No? Well, we all know that fish is good for us, but pregnant women should limit their intake of and even avoid certain fish. Anybody know why? What metal can be found in fish?

Yes, some fish, like grouper and some types of tuna, contain higher levels of mercury than other fish. Mercury is a metal that can be toxic to the nervous system, interfering with its development and function. Safer fish to consume are salmon and tilapia and canned tuna, but even they should be limited to one to two times a month.

And, of course, foods high in fat, sugar and refined foods should also be kept to a minimum. So, no more daily cans of soda! That leads us to our next question: 'Too much sugar or carbohydrates during pregnancy can lead to?'

A. Gestational diabetes

B. Fetal diabetes

C. Type 1 diabetes

Yes, Contestant 3? Gestational diabetes is correct! And, can you tell me what this is? Yes, it is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, but more specifically a form of diabetes occurring during the second and third trimester when sugar levels in the blood are too high. Any other ideas on what should be limited during pregnancy?

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