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Q&A:
Can I safely continue a reduced-carb diet when I'm pregnant?

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Can I safely continue a reduced-carb diet when I'm pregnant?

Answer

Dieting in pregnancy —always an interesting topic! First, you should know that there is good evidence that eating a well-balanced diet during pregnancy will lead to a moderate weight gain (25 to 30 pounds), a healthy and well-nourished baby, and a healthy and well-nourished mother. There are no studies that tell us that Atkins is a dangerous diet for pregnancy, but there are also no studies that tell us that Atkins is a good diet for pregnancy, either.

I think you need to consider this: There will probably be very few times in your life that you will be pregnant, so why not use that time to be as healthy as you possibly can? It can only be good for you and for your baby. I would advise you to wean yourself from Atkins before you become pregnant, and then stay on a healthful, nutritious diet that includes all food groups. You can keep your calorie count low (1,200 to 1,500 calories a day) if you want to maintain your recent weight loss. Also, in these months before you become pregnant, be sure to take folic acid every day in the form of a multivitamin. This has been shown to help prevent some birth defects in infants, and it's one of the best things you can do to insure a healthy baby!

When you are fortunate enough to become pregnant, increase your calorie count, but eat a healthful, nutritious diet that contains all food groups. You need to drink milk, which is not on the Atkins diet, and you should eat grains, yogurt, and cheese as well. The average woman does not have to "eat for two" during pregnancy! Most women need to add only about 300 extra calories each day to meet all the pregnancy requirements. You might be surprised to know that's only 2 1/2 cups of lowfat milk, 1 cup of ice cream, a bagel with cream cheese, or a tuna fish sandwich! You do need extra protein while pregnant, so drinking milk or eating red meat will suffice. You'll also need extra calcium, which you can get from green leafy vegetables, orange juice, milk, yogurt, and cheese.

There are nutritionists in most communities, and if you remain concerned about your nutrition, you should go have a visit with one and map out a proper diet for yourself during pregnancy. Remember that weight gained during pregnancy can be lost, but there's no need to gain inordinate amounts of weight if you watch your caloric intake.

 
 
 
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