Washington Family Magazine : November 2015
washingtonFAMILY.com November 2015 19 Protein: the BaBy Builder Protein is essential throughout pregnancy, but it’s especially important in the final stages, when your baby is growing rapidly and adding layers of cute baby fat. The amino acids in protein form the basic building block for cell growth, fueling your body and organs as they grow to accommodate the needs of your baby. Consuming enough protein also helps stabilize blood sugar, which is especially important to women at risk for gestational diabetes, notes Schoenfeld. Pregnant women should aim for 70 grams of protein per day; about 35 grams more than the recommended daily limit for non-pregnant gals. Meat and poultry, dairy foods and legumes are protein powerhouses. A medium-sized chicken breast has 30 grams of protein, half a cup of tofu packs 20 grams, and half a cup of cottage cheese has 15 grams. CalCium: Got milk? Late pregnancy is not the time to skimp on your calcium. All of the calcium in your baby’s skeleton is laid down during the third trimester, says Michael Hobaugh, M.D., Ph.D., chief of medical staff at La Rabida Children’s Hospital. Consuming enough calcium also helps to get breast feeding off to the best possible start. In order to produce the perfect food for your little one, your body will pull calcium from your own bones if your stores are insufficient. Dieticians recommend 800 milligrams of calcium daily for pregnant women. Dairy foods like yogurt, milk and cheese all contain at least 300 milligrams of calcium per serving. Many non-dairy foods are also calcium rich, including salmon, oatmeal, tofu, rhubarb, spinach, almonds and calcium- fortified orange juice. maGnesium: miGhty mineral While you’re boning up on calcium, don’t forget its super sidekick, magnesium. This mineral aids calcium absorption and performs a host of other important functions. Magnesium helps build and repair body tissues, relaxes muscles, eases leg cramps and may help prevent preterm labor. Pregnant women should consume 350-400 milligrams per day; breast feeding moms should aim for 300-350 milligrams per day. Black beans, artichokes, barley, pumpkin seeds, oat bran and almonds all provide at least 100 milligrams of magnesium per serving. doCosahexaenoiC aCid (dha): mental musCle During the third trimester, your baby’s brain is burgeoning, adding mass and forming millions of neural connections. So consuming enough DHA—linked to better cognition in infants in numerous studies—is as important as ever, says registered and licensed dietician, Gina Hill, Ph.D., associate professor of nutritional sciences at Texas Christian University. The Journal of Prenatal Medicine recommends 200 milligrams of DHA per day during pregnancy. Now that many grocery store staples like eggs, milk and juice are fortified with DHA, it’s not hard to meet your daily requirement. Hill likes expectant moms to have two servings of fish per week. Many obstetricians now recommend DHA supplementation; check with yours to see if you should pop a daily DHA pill. Malia Jacobson is a nationally published health writer. What not to eat: Avoid common third-trimester complaints by passing on these: 1. sWellinG: Caffeine Though caffeine is a diuretic, high amounts can have the opposite effect, causing you to retain water. 2. heartBurn: ChoColate Put down that candy bar—acidic foods like chocolate are known to contribute to heartburn. 3. fatiGue: suGar Nutrient-dense foods fuel baby’s growth. Don’t waste valuable stomach space on empty junk-food calories.