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It is hard to believe that women do have a hard time eating healthy when they are expecting a visit from the stork.  The sad truth is some women find it very hard.  There is a trick though to remember how to eat throughout your pregnancy and it is as easy as ABC.  

Assortment is the first key.  It's been said that variety is the spice of life.  Keeping your diet filled with assortment of fruits, vegetables and protein will help make sure that you and your baby don't get too much of one nutrient and not enough of another.  Eating a daily variety of healthy foods will give your growing baby and daily assortment of necessary nutrients.  

Balance is the next thing to keep in mind.  We all know that balance and moderation is the key to any diet.   There is no reason to deny yourself  a bowl of ice cream but the whole container is over doing it.  You want to keep all your meals as balanced as possible and make sure you are getting enough vitamins, whole grains and lean protein.  Eating one and not the other is not going to help you or your baby in any way shape or form. Indulging in cravings is fine every now and then as long as you keep it in moderation, if you want a cookie, have one.  If potato chips are your craving, have a few.  It is when you eat the whole box of cookies and the whole bag of chips in one sitting that you might have a problem.

The third key is color.  You want to make your plate look as colorful as possible.  Look at fresh fruit and veggies to paint your plate.  The more colorful your plate is, the more appeasing it is going to look to your eyes.  Have you ever noticed in magazines and cooking shows the dishes always look so tasty?  This is because of the variety of color that are used in these dishes.  You can get red strawberries and tomatoes to yellow peppers and squash.  Pick your favorite colors and create your dishes based on that.

Forget about dieting while you are pregnant.  You and your baby need a steady supply of calories and nutrients through out the nine months of pregnancy and beyond.  Pregnancy is one of the only times where a woman is expected to gain weight.  Trying to prevent that weight gain can not only put you at risk, but also your baby at risk.  You will have all the time in the world after your baby comes to lose the weight, but for nine months don't even think about the word diet.  

If you find you that you are getting sick of the food you have been eating, then it's time to start experimenting with different foods.  Pregnancy is a time to expand your eating horizons as well as your waistbands.  Plus with food aversions, you might find yourself turning green at some of your favorite foods and craving foods you never dreamed you would eat.  You may find that the thought of pizza can send you running for the toilet, but place a dish of brussel sprouts in front of you and you are in heaven.  

Lastly, have fun with your food.  Eating should be fun.  Nothing will ruin your good habits faster than boredom.   Add little touches like a dip for your veggies.  Enjoy your food and try not to gulp it down.  This will help avoid heartburn too!  When you decide to treat yourself, leave the guilt at the door.  After all, you are growing a person inside of you and decide a treat now and then for all your hard work.

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Prenatal vitamins are one of the most important vitamins that you take through out your pregnancy.  Ideally, you should start taking prenatal vitamins when you are trying to conceive a baby.  By taking prenatal while you are trying to conceive, you are preparing your body for the challenging task that lies ahead.  Some experts believe that taking prenatal before you are pregnant might actually reduce your risk of a miscarriage after you become pregnant.   

Taking prenatal before pregnancy is not always possible for some people, but taking them during pregnancy is essential.  Prenatal vitamins contain one of the most important nutrients that a new mother needs and that are folic acid or folate.  By taking in extra folic acid, you lower your chances of your baby being born with an incomplete spinal column which is known as spina bifida.  In order for your baby to be protected, it is imperative that folic acid is taken in the first four weeks of fetal development.

This can be a problem for women who do not take prenatals before they are pregnant.  Most of the time, most women do not know they are pregnant until after they missed their period which is about two weeks after conception.  This is why if you are of child bearing age, you should make it a habit of taking folic acid even if you are not planning to become pregnant and we all know that not all pregnancies are planned.  

You can still get your folic acid in food.  Folic acid is added to many breads and pastas and is found in dark green and orange fruits as well as vegetables.  Keep in mind though that taking a daily supplement of folic acid offers more protection from spina bifida then eating the same amount of folic acid in food.    

While you are pregnant you should aim to take at least 600mcg of folic acid a day. If you have had a baby with a neural tube defect, you will have to take 4000 mcg or 4 milligrams of folic acid every day, starting at least a month before you get pregnant.  

Some women report that they can not take their prenatals especially in their first trimester.  Women who suffer from morning sickness and food aversions find that they can not eat much food.  Taking a prenatal on an empty stomach can leave you feeling sick and queasy which is why so many women in the first trimester do not take them.   Another reason some women report upset stomachs is due to the high iron level that some prenatals have.  Not only could this cause an upset stomach, this can also lead to constipation which can already be a problem for some pregnant women.

If you find that you can not take your prenatal, talk to your doctor to see if he can give you a prenatal with less iron or give you a folic acid supplement also.   The worst thing you could do is not take anything, especially during those first few weeks.

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A majority of plus sized women who are pregnant will experience a healthy pregnancy, but they are at a risk of having a more bumpy ride than someone who is not overweight.

Women who are overweight, or have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more are at a greater risk of certain pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.  No knows for sure why weight matters so much, as far as most doctors are concerned it is just one piece of the puzzle.  The truth is most plus size women go on to have completely uneventful pregnancies and deliver perfect healthy babies as long as they eat well, exercise and watch their weight throughout pregnancy.  The biggest problem with being plus sized and pregnant is that you are at a greater for some of the following.

Studies have shown that overweight women have a higher rate of neural tube defects which are problems with how your baby's brain and spinal cord develop.  These studies are unable to pin point exactly why overweight women are at a higher risk and have a higher rate.  Some studies have shown that overweight women have lower blood folate levels than a woman who is of normal weight.  Folate is needed especially in the early stages of pregnancy to help avoid neaural tube defects.  Because of this, if you are overweight your doctor may prescribe you a prenatal vitamin with 1000 micrograms of folic acid.  In fact, if you are overweight and planning on becoming pregnant, you may want to start taking folic acid before you even conceive.   

Gestational diabetes is another complication that overweight women are at a greater risk of developing.  Gestational diabetes is elevated blood-sugar level during pregnancy.  The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development estimate that women with normal BMI which is between 19 and 24 have a 2% chance of developing gestational diabetes.  Overweight women have a 6% chance of developing this condition and obese women or women who have a BMI of 30 or more have a 9% chance of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  Remember though that if you are diagnosed with this, you can still go on and have a healthy pregnancy with a modified eating plan.

Almost 10% of obese and overweight women develop a condition called gestational hypertension.  This is when your blood pressure becomes high with a reading of 140 over 90 or higher after your 20th week of pregnancy but you do not have any protein in your urine.

Gestational hypertension is usually a small concern but can put you at a higher risk for preeclampsia (which is indicated by high blood pressure AND protein in your urine), intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, placental abruption and still birth.  If you do go on to develop preeclampsia, your weight is probably not that big of a factor.  In fact if you are under 35 and overweight you have LESS of a chance of developing preeclampsia that a woman over 35 and a healthy weight.

Perhaps the most common complication for overweight women is longer labors and the possible risk of a cesarean section.  Nearly 26-35% of deliveries are cesarean delivery.    You are at a bigger risk if you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia or gestational hypertension or have a large baby. 

Eating healthy throughout your pregnancy and working with your doctor to manage your weight will help reduce these risks and increase your already high chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

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You are besides yourself with joy as you see that your pregnancy test is postive.  You find yourself already caressing your stomach in hopes that your little one can feel you.  The next nine months are going to be an exciting time for you and your baby.  You are going to have a human life grow inside of you and feel them move as they get bigger. Your baby is going to go from a single sperm and egg into pounds of adorable flesh that you can't help but kiss over and over again.  It truly is a miracle.  

In order to help this miracle along, it is essential for you to eat as good as you can through out most of your pregnancy.  The first three months might be a little difficult to eat balanced meals when you are dealing with food aversions and morning sickness.  If you are one of the rare lucky ones whose stomach doesn't so much as move during your first trimester, then you can take full advantage of eating healthy right out of the gate.  

Making sure you eat balanced nutritious meals is laying down the foundation for your baby.  A diet of junk food is not going to help your baby with bone development and organ formation.  Potato chips will not help with brain development.  Your baby and your body need calcium and vitamins to achieve all of this.  

Eating well during pregnancy is going to help your baby eat well after it is born and on solid foods.   As your pregnancy progresses, some of what you eat will cross the placenta and the taste will be in your baby's amniotic fluid.  Babies swallow this fluid and their taste buds are so develop that even in the womb they are able to taste the flavors.  Doctors believe that babies who are exposed to a wide variety of fruit and vegetables while in utero have less of a chance of being a fussy eater later in life.   They believe that these are the babies who will eat their fruit and vegetables without putting up any fight.   

Doctors also believe that moms who drink their milk through out their pregnancy have an easier time weaning their babies from formula or breast milk to regular milk.   This however is only one benefit, the other benefit of drinking milk throughout your pregnancy is all the calcium you will be giving your baby's bones.  Many doctors recommend that you drink at least one eight oz glass of milk, usually fat free a day.  Calcium is a must have your baby's bones and his teeth, even though you won't see his teeth for at least a few months.

This isn't to say that you have to stay away from all sweets all the time.  You can indulge every now and then and thanks to cravings you may find yourself wanting sweets more often than not.  You do have to keep it in moderation.  Being pregnant should not be looked at as an excuse to eat whatever you want for nine months.  Both you and your baby could pay a dear price.

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Planning ahead when it comes to food could mean the difference between making wise choices and making irrational choices.  It helps us learn how to undo our bad habits and being pregnant is a great time to try and change any bad habits you may have.  The best way to break bad habits and to form new ones is to constantly plan ahead.   

You want to plan for snack attacks especially if you are not going to be home.  You want to make sure you take some healthy food with you, so that you can resist the temptation of going to the vending machine and taking out that candy bar.  Throw some nuts into your pocketbook or some cheese sticks in case of any hunger that might hit you through out the day.  

Plan your food shopping list.  Some people find that when they go to the supermarket with just a rough idea of what they need they usually wind up forgetting something important or they wind up buying half of the food store.   Take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week and buy what you need to go with it.  

Speaking of planning meals, that is a excellent idea.  Plan for meals you can realistically prepare.  Do not plan for meals that you do not have the time to prepare.  You are only going to stress yourself out.  Look for recipes that are easy and quick to make.  Do not try to make something where you can't pronounce half of the ingredients and need to shop at a gourmet cooking store.  Chances are you are still working and the last thing you want to do is come home after a long day and then slave over a complicated recipe.

Also, planning your meals out for the week tends to help you be a little more organized for the week.  It is no secret that pregnant women tend to forget things and this is due to their changing hormone level. By taking out the time to sit and plan your meals for the week will help you stay a little organized and save you a lot of time.  If you already know what you are making for dinner, you do not have to worry about coming home after a long day and standing in front of the fridge trying to decide what to make.    

You also want to make sure that get yourself in the habit of using vegetables are your main dish.  Instead of doing chicken breast with a side salad, make your salad your main dish and the chicken breast a side one.   You also want to buy your vegetables as fresh as possible, even if that means making two trips to the grocery store through out the week.  The fresher the vegetable, the better they are for you and your baby.  The same holds true for fruit also.  Keep plenty of fruit on hand, especially if you tend to crave sweet stuff through out your pregnancy.  Instead of reaching for a candy bar, you can reach for a piece of fruit dipped in cool whip

By planning ahead for the week or even month to come will help you stay on track with your eating and decrease the risk of you making the wrong choice if a craving should hit you.