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Eating For Two: Exploring Nutrition & Pregnancy With St. Clair Hospital?

“You’re eating for two now!” We’ve all heard this phrase before – chances are we’ve even used it as part of celebratory dinner conversation when meeting with a friend who’s pregnant. But the reality behind healthy eating during a pregnancy is more complicated than this simple phrase suggests. In fact, according to St. Clair’s own Clinical Dietician, this well-known phrase is often misconstrued and translated into unhealthy dietary practices.

St. Clair’s lead registered dietitian, Anne Berzinsky, provides nutrition information specifically for pregnant women as part of her day-to-day role within the Hospital. And she’s quick to explain to expecting women that the phrase “eating for two” does not mean literally eating twice as much food as normal – nor is it a pass to eat whatever one wants. Instead, she says, “Think of it as eating twice as well!”

Eating well is definitely critical leading up to a due date. A healthful diet is a key part of a healthful, complication-free pregnancy wherein a growing fetus hits its developmental milestones. But what does it really mean to eat “well” during a pregnancy? It ultimately boils down to a few key points:

  • A healthful diet during a pregnancy has many similarities to a normal recommended diet, according to Anne. In fact, generally speaking, only “an additional 300 calories are needed each day during the second and third trimester to reach the recommended amount of weight gain.”
  • This additional caloric intake should only equal about 25 – 35 pounds of weight gain during a pregnancy – not quite as much as literally “eating for two” would generate. Of course, expecting women should always meet with their doctor and any recommended specialists to determine not only a healthy weight to hit during pregnancy, but what types of foods to eat while gaining it. Because, a final important part of a healthful diet when expecting is that…
  • The sources of those additional calories make a big difference. A good diet and healthy amount of weight gain can prevent health issues such as high blood pressure during pregnancy. For example, iron and folic acid are critical nutrients during a pregnancy. But they’re just a piece of the healthful eating puzzle!

It ultimately takes a variety of healthful foods to meet the needs of a growing baby. To help you begin to evaluate your own dietary needs, we met with Anne and created a five-minute video on the subject. Join her as she explores recommendations on what to eat – and not eat! – while pregnant. You can use her advice to start a dialogue during your own doctor’s appointment, and ensure that you’re prepared for a healthful pregnancy.