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Pregnancy and Nutrition for Healthy Babies

One of the most important things you can do to ensure you have a healthy baby is to eat right during pregnancy. This is especially important during a teen pregnancy because young women still need extra nutrition for their own growing bodies. If you're a pregnant teen or know one, these tips can help ensure healthy babies by helping you plan healthful meals and snacks.

Drink Your Milk

Calcium is a vital nutrient during pregnancy. Your baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth and to help his brain cells create healthy cell walls. If your diet doesn't provide enough calcium during your pregnancy, your body will pull it from your own calcium stores. You need to take in 1,000 to 1,300 mg of calcium a day, so if your diet doesn't normally contain that much, add a glass or two of milk to your daily intake, and keep a store of low fat yogurt on hand.

Frugal Tip: Skip the sweetened, flavored yogurts in little cups. Instead, buy plain yogurt in larger tubs and sweeten or flavor it naturally with fruit and fruit juice. You'll cut out processed sugar, artificial flavors and colors and add in extra antioxidants.

Bulk Up on Whole Grains

Whole grains contain fiber and lots of nutrients that your body needs. They'll also help keep you regular, something that many pregnant women have trouble with during pregnancy. The FDA recommends 6 to 11 servings of whole grains daily during your pregnancy.

Eat Your Spinach

Your body needs additional iron when you're pregnant, so try to eat at least three servings of foods rich in iron each day to get at least 27 mg of iron daily. Spinach has a reputation for being high in iron, but there are foods that have even more iron. Many enriched breads and breakfast cereals have extra iron in them. Spinach and leafy green vegetables provide iron, as do chicken and beef liver, cooked beef and lentils or beans.

Get Your Vitamin C

Choose at least one good source of vitamin C each day. Have an orange at breakfast or eat a handful of strawberries for a snack. Other good sources of vitamin C include papaya and honeydew melon, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli.

Eat Orange Veggies

Eat a good source of vitamin A at least every other day. Vitamin A is important for fetal development. It's essential for heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, and bones, and the circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous systems. Too much vitamin A, on the other hand, has been connected with fetal abnormalities. Pick carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, kale and spinach as vegetables, or cantaloupe and apricots for fruits.

Get Your Folic Acid

Choose at least one good source of folic acid every day. Folic acid is essential to the development of the neural tube. A deficiency of folic acid can result in spina bifida and other neural tube defects in your baby. Good foods to eat to provide folic acid during pregnancy include veal, black beans, black-eyed peas, lima beans and dark green, leafy vegetables.

Healthy diets during pregnancy mean healthy babies. Eating right can ensure that you and your baby will be healthy and strong during pregnancy and after birth.

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