There are millions of articles online about what you shouldn’t do during pregnancy and what you shouldn’t eat while you are pregnant. Well, what about what you can eat to make sure that your baby is strong and healthy?
Now that you’re eating for two, you don’t need to panic thinking you need to eat double what you did before. You’re looking to consume 300 extra calories a day. I’m not saying that you should let that stop you from using it to your advantage, though. Everyone deserves a bit of spoiling, but it is best to avoid unhealthy fats and to avoid sugar (sucrose) as best you can. (Sorry!). Sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, and fish.
It would be a good idea to take a prenatal supplement, which you can get for a decent price at most local supermarkets. Ask your doctor for some recommendations.recommendations.
Fiber There are plenty of foods to choose from if you’re unsure of what is high in fiber. Fruits and vegetables are great, as are beans, pasta, rice and cereals. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, too, so that you can break it down properly and prevent gas or cramping.
Calcium There are things that are really important for you to include in your diet while you’re pregnant, and calcium is one of them. You need about 1200 mg of calcium a day.
Iodine This is going to help with the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Dairy products are great for this – milk, cheese, yogurt. And baked potatoes.
Vitamin C This is an easy one to get plenty of – oranges, orange juice, grapefruits (though you might want to avoid these if you also happen to suffer from heartburn), strawberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green peppers, tomatoes, and cauliflower, too.
Vitamin A If you are looking to boost your Vitamin A intake, then you’ll find it in the produce section: carrots, pumpkins, spinach, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, and apricots.
Iron Spinach, beans, breakfast cereals, and lean meats are all iron-rich products, and you should try to get at least 27mg of iron on a daily basis.
Folic Acid You’ll find that dark leafy greens, veal, black beans, black-eyed peas, and chickpeas are all great sources of folic acid. It’s one of the things that helps prevent things like spina bifida.
Omega 3 This is good for the brain and much more! Find it in nuts, seeds, avocado, whole grain wheat, and leafy greens.
Table 1 new recommendations for total and rate of weight gain during pregnancy, by prepregnancy BMI.
What Not to Eat
Avoid alcohol, limit your caffeine. You don’t have to cut it out entirely; you just need to limit your intake to two cups a day. You should avoid sweeteners, too. Again, I recommend that you avoid anything with sugar content, and avoid soft cheeses and raw fish entirely as these can cause food poisoning. Also, certain fish products, particularly shark, mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish, should be excluded from your diet as they are high in mercury.
You may be one of the unlucky ones that suffer from morning sickness. If so, try eating crackers (or pretzels) before you get out of bed and avoid fatty, spicy, greasy, or fried foods. If you find yourself suffering from heartburn, try eating smaller meals but more frequently throughout your day. Constipation? Eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water.
If you need further nutritional information on pregnancy diets, please contact our office for a consultation.
By Scott Dunkin, DO, FACOOG