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Eating for two

When you are pregnant your diet influences how well your baby's organs function in and outside the womb. Laura Kalehoff, Executive Editor of American Baby Magazine gives advice on how to eat healthy when you are pregnant for you and your baby.

Eating for two doesn't mean doubling your servings. You need approximately 300 extra calories a day. You may not feel like eating during those early weeks when nausea nixes your appetite and that's okay because you don't actually need the extra calories at that point. You do need them during the rest of the pregnancy.

Weight gain is good within reason. 15 to 35 pounds if you were average weight pre pregnancy. If you are slim 28 to 40 pounds is ok and if you're overweight 15 to 25 pounds is ideal. Women who gain too much tend to deliver bigger babies and higher birth weight is associated with obesity later in life.

When you are pregnant you should eat nutritious powerhouse foods that are full of vitamins and minerals. About half your total daily intake should come from carbohydrates which help your body let the body grow. You want healthy carb rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Plus, the fiber in them can alleviate constipation and may lower the risk of preeclampsia. Lean protein is important too because it helps the body build the placenta, uterine muscles and blood vessels. Just make sure you're getting your fill of delicious, healthy foods without obsessing over your diet.

Omega 3's are particularly important during pregnancy. They contain essential nutrients that are crucial for building a baby's brain, especially during the third trimester when it's developing rapidly. The same nutrients facilitate eye movement and may improve your baby's attention span. It's also associated with decreased risk of premature birth. Fish is the richest source of Omega 3's. Indulge twice a week as long as you're skipping fish that are high in mercury like shark and swordfish. If you don't like fish, fortified eggs, nuts and leafy greens are good sources of Omega 3's too.

There are some foods you should skip when you are pregnant. You want to skip deli meats because they can harbor bacteria that are bad for your baby. You also have to pass on sushi if the fish is raw. It's ok to eat California rolls and cucumber rolls. Make sure you're only eating pasteurized soft cheeses. As for drinks, you want to skip excessive caffeine and all alcohol.

Dehydration can trigger contractions in the third trimester, so drink water throughout the day. Water also keeps food moving through your digestive system, helping to prevent constipation. If you are not a water person, pep up your beverage with fresh herbs like mint or slices of lemon or orange.

For more tips on eating well for you and your baby and other parenting tips, click here.

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