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Common Questions During Pregnancy

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With pregnancy and parenthood comes a great opportunity to raise a healthy baby. It also brings countless questions and uncertainties. Below are answers to common questions we receive regarding pregnancy.

"I've heard staying hydrated is important during pregnancy but I hate drinking water. I would rather stay away from beverages containing artificial sweeteners. What should I drink?"

Consuming adequate fluids is particularly important during pregnancy. Expecting mothers need approximately 10, eight-ounce glasses each day as opposed to the 8 glasses the average adult needs. This extra fluid cushions and protects baby, as well as helps prevent constipation — a common side effect during pregnancy.

Though water is the preferred beverage during pregnancy, you can meet fluid needs with 100% juice, lowfat milk and decaffeinated tea and coffee. If adding fruity flavor to water helps you meet daily fluid goals, but you prefer mixes without artificial sweeteners, try mixing water with 100% juice, slices of fresh fruit like lemons, cucumbers and strawberries or liquid sugar-sweetened drink mixes in which you control the flavor and amount of added sugar.

"I'm eight months pregnant. After working all day, I just don't have the energy to cook a large meal for my family. Help!"

During the third trimester, it's not uncommon to feel tired. Incorporating balanced nutrition and physical activity to your day can give you the extra burst of energy you need.

To get well-balanced meals on the table in minutes, stock your kitchen with healthful convenience foods. Make cooking easier with easy-to-prepare options like canned beans, herb-seasoned steam-in-bag frozen fish with minimal added salt, frozen soy-protein burgers and burger crumbles, pre-chopped fresh, frozen and no-salt-added canned vegetables, whole grain pasta, rice and breads, and fresh, frozen, dried and no-sugar-added canned fruit.

"My doctor told me I should increase my fiber intake while pregnant. What foods should I eat?"

When expecting, fiber needs increase from 25 grams to 28 grams per day. Incorporating enough fiber into your daily meal plan helps maintain a normal blood sugar level (important for preventing and/or controlling diabetes). Additionally, fiber can help keep your digestive system regular. Just be sure to increase fiber intake slowly and drink plenty of fluids to prevent abdominal discomfort.

Foods rich in fiber include whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal), fruits, vegetables and legumes (dried beans). Drinking 100% juice, like plum juice, can also help reach your fiber quota.

"Is snacking important during pregnancy?"

Including two to three planned snacks throughout the day is key during pregnancy. Snacks help to meet increased Food Group goals and calorie needs, keep blood sugar stable, provide energy to get through the day and prevent the urge to reach for indulgent treats.

For balanced snacks, include foods from at least two different Food Groups to provide a mixture of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Yogurt topped with mixed berries, a whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter and air-popped popcorn with a glass of milk are all nutritious choices.