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35978292_SPregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life. There is so much to look forward to, especially for first-time mothers.

You want to do everything right to ensure you have a healthy child, as the months before a child is born can have tremendous impact on his or her health. This might call for the mother-to-be to consider changes in lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise.

Adopting a healthy eating plan before pregnancy is ideal, but it’s never too late to start. A well-balanced diet can pave the way for an easier labor and help to establish essential building blocks of growth and overall health for your child. A diet rich in delicious vegetables, whole grains and legumes, lean protein and other wise food choices will give your baby a strong start in life.

What should I eat? A diet rich in lean proteins, (i.e. beans and meat) can help the fetal tissue and the brain. Nutritionists recommend consuming 75 to 10 grams of protein per day. Legumes, like split peas and black peas provide an excellent source of nutrients. The recommended serving is ½ cup.

Got milk? The daily requirement of calcium is around 1000 milligrams during pregnancy. Calcium helps your body regulate fluids, and it helps build your baby’s bones and tooth buds. Examples of daily sources of calcium include milk, eggs, tofu and salmon.

Do not underestimate the power of fruits and vegetables. Leafy grains are vital to a healthy diet. Pregnant women should load up on lettuce, spinach, cabbage, etc. Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C will help with wound healing, tooth and bone development, and promotes metabolic processes. Experts recommend at least 85 milligrams per day.

How much should I eat? A woman’s body undergoes many changes during the nine months. To accomplish all of these productive changes, a woman needs on average 300 extra calories per day during the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

Of course every woman should discuss her individual nutrient needs with her health care provider. Above all, do not neglect your baby’s health by neglecting your own!

If you have vices, now is the time to give them up. Although some habits may be hard to break, and some behaviors difficult to modify, adopting a healthier lifestyle during pregnancy will ensure that your baby has an excellent start in life. It could also be the beginning of a healthier lifestyle for you that you may choose to continue after you give birth.