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My husband and I would like to have a baby soon. We’re both a bit overweight and could use some help with our eating habits. What can we focus on together?
—Carrie, Spokane, WA

Carrie, it’s wonderful that you and your husband will work together to have the healthiest child possible. The best thing is for both of you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight in a safe manner. Do so by following a balanced eating plan based on MyPyramid. That way, each of you can eat the same foods, even while following different calorie levels for weight loss. Whenever possible, exercise together; it helps to have support when making lifestyle changes. Get in the habit of walking every night after dinner, biking on the weekends, or going to the gym. Also, both of you should take a daily multivitamin.

Last updated 19 Jun 2009, 15:32:59

I am pregnant. Do I really need to take that huge prescription prenatal pill my doctor prescribed? I am having a lot of trouble choking it down every day.
—Shari, Leominster, MA

Since I am not your health care provider, it’s impossible for me to determine whether you need a prescription prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement. I can tell you this: as long as they eat a balanced diet, many women may meet their pregnancy nutrition needs with a regular multivitamin that has 100% of the Daily Value for the nutrients it contains, especially iron and folic acid. Our food supply, especially the processed grains we eat, is heavily fortified with vitamins and minerals. Ask your doctor if you truly need the prescription pill. If he or she says yes, make taking the pill more bearable by cutting it in half and popping the halves at separate times during the day, and taking the pill at night before bed.

Last updated 19 Jun 2009, 15:33:06

I am four months pregnant. When does the morning sickness go away?
—Barbara, Gainesville, FL

Well, Barbara, I hate to tell you, but “morning sickness” is a misnomer—it can strike at any time of day and last well past the first trimester. I’ve lived through it three times, and each time was different, so it’s hard to determine when it will go away for you. If the bouts of nausea and vomiting you experience persist, you should consult your doctor. Throwing up two or more times a day is a sign that you may need medical attention. More than likely, your morning sickness is more annoying at this point than a threat to your health. Here are some tips to minimize “morning sickness.” Don’t let yourself get hungry; eat small meals on a regular basis and be sure to include protein in each meal. Eat what appeals to you – as long as it’s safe (no raw meat or seafood, for example) and reasonably healthy. Take a multivitamin or prescription prenatal vitamin on a daily basis, if possible. Good luck!

Last updated 19 Jun 2009, 15:33:09