15. Your Nutrition

During your pregnancy, you need to be selective in the foods you choose. Eating the right foods, in the correct amounts, takes planning. Eat foods high in vitamins and minerals, especially iron, calcium, magnesium, folate and zinc. You also need fiber.

Some of the foods you should eat, and the amounts of each, are listed below. Try to eat these foods every day. We discuss food groups in the following weeks. Check weekly discussions for nutrition tips. Foods to help your baby grow and develop include:

• bread, cereal, pasta and rice—at least 6 servings/day

• fruits—3 to 4 servings/day

• vegetables—4 servings/day

• meat and other protein sources—2 to 3 servings/day

• dairy products—3 to 4 servings/day

• fats, sweets and other “empty” calorie foods—2 to 3 servings/day

16. You Should Also Know

Your First Visit to Your Healthcare Provider

Your first prenatal visit may be one of your longest. There’s a lot to do. If you saw your healthcare provider before you got pregnant, you may have already discussed some of your concerns.

Understanding Serving Portions

You may believe it will be difficult for you to eat all the portions you need for the health of your growing baby. However, many people overeat because they don’t understand what a “portion” or “serving” really is.

Supersizing in fast-food restaurants and huge meal portions at other restaurants have skewed our idea of what a normal portion size really is. For example, a blueberry muffin is now about 500 calories. Twenty-five years ago, it was about 200 calories. Look for the following serving sizes when you eat—they’re what a “normal” portion size is.

• cup of vegetables—the size of a lightbulb

• 1 serving of juice—a champagne flute

• 1 pancake—the size of a CD

• 1 teaspoon of peanut butter—the end of your thumb

• 3 ounces of fish—an eyeglass case

• 3 ounces of meat—a deck of playing cards

• 1 small potato—a 3×5 index card

Read labels for portion sizes; a common mistake is to read the calorie/nutrient information on a label and not take into account the number of servings each package contains. Even a very small package may contain two or more servings, doubling or tripling the calories if you eat the whole thing.

To learn the correct serving size for each of the food groups, check out the USDA’s website www.cnpp.usda.gov; it lists actual serving portions. For example, a large bagel may be four to five grain servings! If you don’t have access to a computer, ask your healthcare provider for some guidelines or nutrition handouts.

Feel free to ask questions to get an idea of how your healthcare provider will relate to you and your needs. During pregnancy, there should be an exchange of ideas. Consider what your healthcare provider suggests and why. It’s important to share your feelings and ideas. Your healthcare provider has experience that can be valuable to you during pregnancy.

At this first visit, you will be asked for a history of your medical health. This includes general medical problems and any problems relating to your gynecological and obstetrical history. You will be asked about your periods and recent birth-control methods. If you’ve had an abortion or a miscarriage, or if you’ve been in the hospital for surgery or for some other reason, it’s important information. If you have old medical records, bring them with you.

Your healthcare provider needs to know about medicine you take or medication you are allergic to. Your family’s medical history may also be important.

Various tests may be done at this first visit or on a subsequent visit. If you have questions, ask them. If you think you may have a “high-risk” pregnancy, discuss it with your healthcare provider.

Tip for Week 6

If you have questions between prenatal visits, call the office. It’s OK; your healthcare provider wants you to call to get correct medical information. You’ll probably feel more comfortable when your questions are answered.

In most cases, you will be asked to return every 4 weeks for the first 7 months, then every 2 weeks until the last month, then every week. If problems arise, you may be scheduled for more frequent visits.

17. Ways to Have a Great Pregnancy

Every woman wants to have a happy, healthy pregnancy. Start now to help ensure that yours will be the best it can be! Try the following.

• Prioritize—Examine what you need to do to help yourself and your growing baby. Do what you need to do, decide what else you can do and let the rest go.

• Involve others in your pregnancy—When you include your partner, other family members and friends in your pregnancy, it helps them understand what you’re going through so they can be more understanding and supportive.

• Treat others with respect and love—You may be having a hard time, especially at the beginning of pregnancy. You may have morning sickness. You may find adjusting to the role of “mom-to-be” difficult. People will understand if you take the time to let them know how you feel. Show respect for their concern, treat them with kindness and love, and they will respond in kind.

• Create memories—It takes some planning, but it’s definitely worth it. When you’re pregnant, it seems like it will go on forever. However, speaking from experience, we can tell you it passes very quickly and is soon a memory. Take steps to document the many changes occurring in your life right now. Include your partner. Have him jot down some of his thoughts and feelings. Take his picture, too! You’ll be able to look back and share the highs and lows with him, and, in the years ahead, you and your kids will be glad you did.

• Relax when you can—Easing the stress in your life is important. Do things that help you relax and focus on what is important in your lives right now.

• Enjoy this time of preparation—All too soon your pregnancy will be over, and you’ll be a new mother, with all the responsibilities of being a mom and a partner! You may also have other responsibilities in your professional or personal life. Concentrate on your couple relationship and on the many changes you will be experiencing in the near future.

• Focus on the positive—You may hear negative things from friends or family members, such as scary stories or sad tales. Ignore them. Most pregnancies work out great!

• Don’t be afraid to ask for help—Your pregnancy is important to others. Friends and family will be pleased if you ask them to be involved.

• Get information—There are many sources today, various magazine articles, television programs, radio interviews and the Internet.

• Smile—You’re part of a very special miracle that is happening to you and your partner!

Dad Tip

Is your partner suffering from morning sickness? If so, cooking can be a real chore for her. Just looking at food or smelling it can make her feel sick. To help out, bring home your dinner, or cook it yourself. Sometimes it’s the only way you’ll get any food!

18. Exercise for Week 6

Stand with your left side next to the sofa or a sturdy chair. Hold onto the back with your left hand. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, step back about 3 feet with your right foot. Bend your leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your knee over your toes. Hold for 3 seconds, then as you return to standing position, lift your right leg and squeeze your buttocks muscles for 1 second. Start with 3 repetitions and work up to 6. Repeat for your other leg. Strengthens hip, thigh and buttocks muscles.


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