Healthy EATING DURING PREGNANCY 9
MERICAN ACADEMY OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS (AAPA)
developed by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA), offers personalized
eating plans, interactive tools to help plan
and judge food choices, advice on smart
food choices from every food group, and
tips for how to get the most nutrition
while staying within calorie needs.
The MyPyramid for Pregnancy and
Breastfeeding guidelines help women plan
healthful meals and snacks before, during,
and after pregnancy. Variety within the
meat and beans and dairy groups offers
choices for vegetarian women as well.
Pregnant women should consume eight
to 12 cups of fluid per day. Milk, juice,
water, soup, and other beverages,
including soft drinks and coffee, all
contribute to fluid intake (see section on
caffeine for information about
consumption during pregnancy).
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Research has shown that there is no better food than breast milk
for a baby’s first year of life. Breast milk provides good nutrition,
immunity boosters, and nutrients aimed at brain development for
newborns and infants. Also, current scientific evidence shows
that breastfeeding may help prevent childhood obesity.
Some components of breast milk enhance the baby’s natural
defenses and promote development of the immune system. In
fact, research suggests that breastfeeding may be associated with
a reduction in risk of food allergy in high-risk infants (those with
a parent or sibling with food allergies). That said, there is still
some debate surrounding the degree to which breastfeeding pre-
vents, reduces, or delays the development of allergy. Research
has also shown that children who are breastfed may have a lower
risk of developing asthma.
The World Health Organization (WHO)/UNICEF infant feeding
guidelines support exclusive breastfeeding for the first six
months of life and the continuation of breastfeeding, together
with age-appropriate solid foods, up to two years of age or
beyond. While breastfeeding is highly encouraged, iron-fortified
and water-based soy formulas can also be given to infants, if
breastfeeding is not possible.
Breast milk provides good nutrition,
immunity boosters, and nutrients aimed at
brain development for newborns and infants.