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Quiz: Do You Know How to Eat Smart While Pregnant?

  • Chris Woolston
  • Posted March 11, 2013

The choices that you make at the dinner table have never been more important. You aren't just eating for two -- you're making decisions for two. How much do you know about good nutrition during pregnancy? Take this short quiz to find out.

1. How many calories should you eat each day during pregnancy?

a. 2,400 or less

b. 2,200 to 2,900

c. More than 3,000

d. Double your usual calories

2. Most pregnant women get all the iron they need from their diets. True or false?

True

False

3. Which of the following foods should you avoid during pregnancy?

a. Cold deli meats

b. Alfalfa sprouts

c. Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk

d. Sushi

e. All of the above

4. It's OK to stick with a low-carb diet during pregnancy. True or false?

True

False

5. Folic acid is only important during the last few weeks of pregnancy. True or false?

True

False

6. To get enough calcium, how many servings of dairy should you have each day?

a. Two

b. Four

c. Six

d. None, you should avoid dairy during pregnancy

7. Pregnant women need a lot more fruits and vegetables than other people. True or false?

True

False

8. If you had a healthy weight when you got pregnant, how much weight should you expect to gain before your baby's born?

a. 10 to 15 pounds

b. 15 to 20 pounds

c. 20 to 25 pounds

d. 25 to 35 pounds

9. It's okay to have a glass of wine now and then when I'm pregnant. True or false?

True

False

Your Results

1. How many calories should you eat each day during pregnancy?

The correct answer is: b. 2,200 to 2,900.

Eating for two doesn't mean you need a lot of extra calories. During the first trimester you don't need any more than usual, and during the second and third trimesters you only need an additional 300 calories a day. The American Dietetic Association recommends that pregnant women eat a total of 2,200 to 2,900 calories per day, but your needs may be higher or lower based on your weight and activity level.

2. Most pregnant women get all the iron they need from their diets. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

Pregnant women need about 27 milligrams of iron every day, about 9 mg more than other women. A shortage of iron could lead to anemia, which is bad news for you and your baby. Your doctor will encourage you to seek out iron-rich foods such as red meats, dried beans, and leafy green vegetables, but even these foods often won't be enough to meet your iron requirements. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, all pregnant women should take a supplement that contains iron. Your doctor can help you choose a prenatal vitamin with the dose that's right for you.

3. Which of the following foods should you avoid during pregnancy?

The correct answer is: e. All of the above.

Cold deli meats (such as turkey, ham and hot dogs) and unpasteurized soft cheeses (such as feta, brie and Camembert) could potentially carry dangerous listeria bacteria. Don't eat lunch meats unless they're steaming hot, and look for the word pasteurized on all soft cheeses. Sprouts and other raw produce (and unpasteurized juices) may carry salmonella or E. coli bacteria, so be extra careful when washing them or only eat them cooked. Never eat fish that may be high in mercury, such as swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel, and limit yourself to one serving (about six ounces) of albacore tuna or tuna steaks per week. For fish and shellfish lower in mercury, such as salmon and shrimp, eat no more than two servings per week.

4. It's OK to stick with a low-carb diet during pregnancy. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

This is no time to stick to a weight-loss diet, and it's certainly no time miss out on the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in whole wheat bread or a bowl of cereal. According to the U.S.D.A.'s food pyramid, pregnant women should aim for about 6 to 9 ounces a day of whole grains, enriched breads, or enriched cereal every day.

5. Folic acid is only important during the last few weeks of pregnancy. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

Folic acid helps prevent birth defects during the first few weeks of development and continues to play an important role through most of pregnancy. Since you may not even know you're pregnant during the early critical weeks, it makes sense to start taking extra folic acid before you become pregnant. The U.S. Public Health Service urges all women of childbearing age to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day (a mark you can reach with a daily vitamin supplement or a bowl of fortified cereal); if you're pregnant, you should up your intake to 600 micrograms a day, according to the National Women's Health Information Center. (Many daily prenatal vitamins contain 800 mcg of folic acid.)

6. To get enough calcium, how many servings of dairy should you have each day?

The correct answer is: b. Four.

You'll need about 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day to help your baby grow while keeping your own bones strong. If you're lactose intolerant, look for low-lactose or reduced lactose products. If you're a vegan or have another reason for avoiding dairy products, make sure you load up on calcium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, tofu, and calcium-fortified orange juice. If you're not getting enough, your doctor may recommend calcium supplements.

7. Pregnant women need a lot more fruits and vegetables than other people. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

The U.S.D.A.'s food pyramid says pregnant women should aim for about 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables daily, which is slightly more than the standard recommendation for adults. Of course, pregnant women have extra motivation to actually meet that goal: Fruits and vegetables are loaded with the vitamins and minerals that will help your baby thrive.

8. If you had a healthy weight when you got pregnant, how much weight should you expect to gain before your baby's born?

The correct answer is: d. 25 to 35 pounds.

A moderate weight gain will help ensure that your baby is born healthy and on schedule. If you were overweight before pregnancy, you should aim for a weight gain of 15 to 25 pounds. If you were obese, the guidelines call for a modest 11-20 pound gain. If you were underweight, you should put on between 28 and 40 pounds. Your doctor can help you set the goal that's right for you.

9. It's okay to have a glass of wine now and then when I'm pregnant. True or false?

The correct answer is: False.

Despite what they might do in Europe, there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy, and there is no time during your pregnancy when it is okay to drink. Heavy drinking can result in a condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes severe and lasting brain damage, and even light drinking during pregnancy has been linked to learning disabilities. If you had a few drinks before you realized you were pregnant, your baby is probably fine, but it's important to stop drinking as soon as you find out. If you are trying to get pregnant or suspect you could be pregnant, you should also stop drinking immediately.

References

IOM Updates Guidelines for Weight Gain in Pregnancy. American Academy of Family Physicians. News Now. June 2, 2009

Increasing Calcium in Your Diet During Pregnancy. Cleveland Clinic. 2010

American Pregnancy Association. Weight gain during pregnancy. August 2003. Last updated October 2008

FDA Consumer. How Folate Can Help Prevent Birth Defects.

March of Dimes. Food-borne risks in pregnancy. 2005.

University of California at San Francisco Children's Hospital. Eating right before and during pregnancy.

University of Virginia Health System. Becoming healthy before becoming pregnant. February 2004.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pregnancy and a healthy diet. January 2005.

National Women's Health Information Center. What to Eat While Pregnant. April 2006.

American Dietetic Association. Nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome. 2002.

National Women's Health Information Center. Folic Acid. January 2005.

March of Dimes. Calcium.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome. March 2008.

U.S.D.A. Food pyramid. http://www.mypyramid.gov

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