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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Eating for Two


Pregnant women have an increased need for vitamins B6 and B12. B12 maintains healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, and is also essential for creating DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B6 is essential for normal brain development and function, and aids in the formation of important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. You can usually meet B6 requirements usually can be met by eating more whole grains, milk, egg yolks, and organ meats. Vitamin B12 is found in animal foods, including meat, eggs and milk products; vegetarians who eat no eggs or dairy products and vegans should ask their health-care professionals about B12 supplements.


Calcium is crucial during pregnancy for synthesis of fetal bones and teeth. It is also necessary for proper blood clotting and regulation of blood pressure, heartbeat, water balance in cells, and muscle contractions. If your diet does not supply sufficient calcium, the fetus will draw from reserves in your bones, which can cause osteopenia (a similar, but milder condition than osteoporosis). Fortunately, increased estrogen production during pregnancy facilitates calcium absorption.

The U.S. RDA of calcium for adult women (pregnant or not) is 1000 mg. You can achieve this by consuming three or more servings of milk or other dairy products a day. For women who are lactose intolerant, there are a variety of low-lactose or lactose-free dairy products available, or your doctor may recommend a calcium supplement. However, you should not take calcium supplements such as bone meal and dolomite, which FDA surveys have shown may contain substantial amounts of lead. In addition, do not take a calcium supplement at the same time as your prenatal vitamin-mineral supplement because iron inhibits the absorption of calcium.

Calories and Weight Gain

In the past, pregnant women were told to limit their weight gain to about 15 pounds. Excessive weight gain was thought to be related to toxemia (also called preeclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension), a condition of unknown origin that occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and water retention.

Although sudden large weight gain, water retention and blood pressure elevation are still recognized danger signs of toxemia, most physicians agree that weight gain does not cause toxemia. In fact, the consequences of restricted weight gain and weight loss appear to be potentially more harmful than unrestricted weight gain, particularly to the fetus, even in women who were overweight before becoming pregnant.

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