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FOOD GUIDE FOR PREGNANCY WOMAN

FOOD GUIDE FOR PREGNANCY WOMAN
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Some expectant mothers believe being pregnant is a license to consume whatever they crave. But, the quality of calories consumed is important to ensure the mother's health and the baby's growth and development.

"Moms-to-be should choose nutrient-rich foods like eggs, low-fat yogurt and fruits and vegetables, which are high in essential nutrients compared to their calorie count," says Claudia Gonzalez, MS, RD, co-author of "Gordito: Doesn't Mean Healthy" and mother of three. "Eggs, for example, provide four of the nutrients pregnant women need most -- protein, iron, folate and choline -- for just 75 calories per large egg."

March of Dimes Underscores Importance of Choline

Choline, a little-known nutrient, is one of four nutrients that the March of Dimes emphasizes for healthy pregnancies; the other nutrients are protein, calcium and folate. "Choline is an essential nutrient for an expectant mother and her developing baby," said Janis Biermann, Senior Vice President of Education & Health Promotion with the March of Dimes. "Prenatal choline intake may help contribute to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby."

What's more, a growing body of science demonstrates the role that choline plays in brain development, as well as in the prevention of birth defects. "Research has shown that sufficient choline consumption during pregnancy is important to prevent birth defects and aid in brain development of the fetus and newborn," said Donald J. McNamara, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center. "Emerging science also suggests that an offspring's memory function later in life may be affected by a mother's consumption of choline and other foods during pregnancy." The National Academy of Sciences recommends increased choline intake for pregnant (450 milligrams per day) and nursing women (550 milligrams per day).(1)

Pregnancy Food Guide Available Online

How can moms-to-be get the nutrients they need, including choline? For starters, they do not have to give up the foods they love during pregnancy. But learning which foods to eat (and which to limit or avoid) is the first step toward a healthy pregnancy and a happy, healthy baby. A panel of experts, organized by the Brigham and Women's Hospital and supported by an Egg Nutrition Center grant, developed the "Pregnancy Food Guide" to help pregnant women understand the importance of staying healthy during pregnancy with a smart balance of nutrition and exercise.

The "Pregnancy Food Guide" is a FREE brochure focusing on a variety of important topics, including weight gain, food safety, vitamins and minerals, and sample snacks and meals. The brochure can be downloaded for FREE at a new web site, www.pregnancyfoodguide.org. In addition to the guide, the new web site offers pregnant women important nutrition and exercise tips, along with healthy AND delicious recipes, such as "Pasta Veggie Scramble" and "Tortilla Quesadilla" (see sidebar). Expectant mothers can also receive expert advice and helpful hints from registered dietitian, Claudia Gonzalez.

Visit www.pregnancyfoodguide.org for nutrition tips, recipes and more.

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