What to Eat While Pregnant

We all know when you are pregnant, you are eating for two. But just which foods are best when it comes to keeping you and your baby healthy? Sophie Pachella, Nutritionist and Contributor to American Baby Magazine, offers the foods you should eat when you have a bun in the oven.

First salmon is something pregnant women should eat. It's the best source of DHA, an essential omega 3 fatty acid that helps grow baby's brain and nervous system. Studies show that if you eat a lot of fish while pregnant, you can boost your baby's brainpower. Although salmon is low in mercury, a little each day can add up, so cap weekly intake at 12 ounces cooked.

Asparagus is high in folate. Only beef liver and fortified cereal contain more. These spears help prevent birth defects including spina bifida.

Eggs are your reserve of choline, a B vitamin that boosts fetal brain and memory development. Choline gets wiped out during pregnancy so you need to make sure you're getting enough. And prepare the whole egg, not just the white, because choline lives in the yolk.

Yogurt is a great source of zinc, a mineral essential for tissue growth and repair. Zinc helps create the bricks of baby's genetic roadmap, namely DNA. And yogurt is also rich in calcium which helps grow baby's bones and keeps your bones strong.

Cottage cheese is loaded with protein, which is a building block for your baby's growth and it repairs your cells as your body changes. During your pregnancy your protein needs to increase from 46 to 71 grams daily. Cottage cheese is an excellent, quick source of protein, 15 grams in half a cup, and it offers bonus calcium.

Oranges are an ideal source of vitamin C, which increases immunity. If you catch a cold or flu while pregnant, you're five times more likely to develop a serious complication like pneumonia or bronchitis. Stick with Florida oranges over mandarin oranges; they pack in three times more vitamin C.

Garlic cuts your risk of preeclampsia. About a quarter of women with high blood pressure develop preeclampsia, and those who've had it are more than twice as likely to have heart disease later in life.

Almonds are nutritional gems that are loaded with magnesium, fiber, vitamin E and a good amount of protein. Recent research shows that children of moms who include nuts in their diet during pregnancy had a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies.

And finally, black beans are rich in potassium, which controls your blood pressure, and are bursting with fiber, helping to prevent constipation, which is often caused by the iron in prenatal vitamins.

For more information on healthy foods and other pregnancy tips, please visit AmericanBaby.com.
by Jenn Eaker and Sophie Pachella