Healthy Diet During Pregnancy
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, but especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Healthy eating keeps you feeling good and gives your baby the essential nutrients they need in the womb.
Overall, aim for a balanced diet, with an appropriate blend of all the 5 food groups:
Aim to drink plenty of water every day most town water contains fluoride, which helps your growing baby’s teeth develop strong enamel. Some water supplies, such as tank water, do not have fluoride.
You will probably find that you are more hungry than usual, but you don’t need to ‘eat for 2’ even if you are expecting twins or triplets. It is more important to concentrate on the quality of the food you eat rather than the quantity.
Eating healthily often means just changing the quantities of different foods you eat so that your diet is varied, rather than cutting out all your favourites. For example, if you have a healthy breakfast every day it is easier to avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar.
You should also avoid certain foods because they are not healthy or they can be dangerous for the baby.
What Not To Eat While Youre Pregnant
- Aerated drinks, canned food, and foods with preservatives, chemicals, artificial colours and synthetic substances should preferably not be on the grocery list.
- The consumption of alcoholic beverages must be strictly avoided.
- Food with high calorific content such as sweets and fried food should be kept at a distance since they do not have much nutritional value and only lead to accumulation of fat and other complications in the future.
- While eating out, it must be ensured that the food is hygienically prepared , that it is not too oily or spicy , and that they are freshly made . Craving such food items is only natural, but a home fix is always advised because in case eating out results in an illness, medication available becomes limited for the conceiving mother.
Fish With Low Levels Of Mercury
Fish is a good source of lean protein, and some fish, including salmon and sardines, also contain omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that’s good for the heart. It is safe for pregnant women to eat 8 to 12 ounces of cooked fish and seafood a week, as long as it’s not a high-mercury fish , according to ACOG.
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Dietary And Caloric Recommendations
To maintain a healthy pregnancy, approximately 300 extra calories are needed each day. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Sweets and fats should be kept to a minimum. A healthy, well-balanced diet can also help to reduce some pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea and constipation.
Should Pregnant People Completely Stop Drinking Alcohol
There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. It is safest to drink none at all.
Alcohol in the blood passes to the fetus via the umbilical cord, and too much exposure to alcohol can seriously undermine fetal development.
Also, there is a risk that the baby will develop a . This can result in vision or hearing problems, issues with attention, and low body weight, among other complications.
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What Is Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes occurs in about 2 to 10% of pregnancies, and it’s diagnosed only in people who are “gestating” . It happens when your body can’t make enough insulin during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There usually aren’t symptoms of gestational diabetes, and you’ll need to be tested to see if you have it. It typically develops between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, Healthline reported.
Blood sugar levels usually return to normal after a person’s baby is born, per the CDC, but about 50% of people who have gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes also puts the pregnant person’s child at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in their own life and of being born early, which can lead to breathing difficulties according to the Mayo Clinic.
The high blood sugar levels that a pregnant person shares with the fetus can also cause the baby to get too big, Bachmann says, which can complicate pregnancy.
“The other problem with increased weight is that a vaginal birth may not be possible because the baby will be too big to get through the birth canal,” Bachmann says, which will then make a C-section necessary.
Nutrition During Pregnancy: 10 Do’s And Don’ts
Healthy prenatal eating isn’t just about avoidingit’s about choosing wisely.
When I ordered shrimp rolls at a tapas bar 12 weeks into my pregnancy, one of my friends reacted as if I’d ordered a double martini. “You can’t have shrimp when you’re pregnant!” she insisted. When I asked her why not, all she could offer was, “Well, I’m not sure, but I know you can’t.” Turns out, she was mistaken , a common phenomenon when it comes to prenatal nutrition.
Yes, certain foods and eating patterns can compromise a baby’s development in utero, and every mom-to-be should know about them. But it’s equally important to focus on the nutrient-rich foods and healthy habits that will keep you and your baby thriving for the whole nine months. Here, in a nutshell, is the lowdown on nutrition during pregnancy.
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Should I Take An Iron Supplement During Pregnancy
Talk to your health care provider about an iron supplement. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that all pregnant women following a balanced diet take an iron supplement providing 27 mg of iron during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy . Your doctor may increase this dose if you become anemic. Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the size and number of red blood cells are reduced. This condition may result from inadequate intake of iron or from blood loss.
Starchy Foods In Pregnancy
Starchy foods are an important source of energy, some vitamins and fibre, and help you to feel full without containing too many calories. They include bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, maize, millet, oats, yams and cornmeal. If you are having chips, go for oven chips lower in fat and salt.
These foods should make up just over a 3rd of the food you eat. Instead of refined starchy food, choose wholegrain or higher-fibre options such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or simply leaving the skins on potatoes.
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Nutrient Needs During Pregnancy
A person needs more water- and fat-soluble vitamins during pregnancy and lactation. This includes folate, choline, and vitamins B12, A, and D, among others.
To help prevent illnesses and other complications during a pregnancy, avoid:
- Seafood that contains mercury: Avoid shark, swordfish, and marlin, or keep the intake to an absolute minimum.
- Uncooked or partially cooked meats: Opt for thoroughly cooked meats.
- Uncooked shellfish: This is due to a risk of bacterial or viral contamination, which can cause food poisoning.
- Raw eggs: Avoid these and any foods that contain them.
- Soft, mold-ripened cheese: Cheeses such as brie and camembert carry a risk of Listeria contamination. Listeria is a group of bacteria that can cause potentially fatal infections in pregnant people and their babies.
A Message From The American Academy Of Physician Assistants
PAs are licensed health professionals, and valued members of a health care team that includes a supervising physician. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations. They can diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, and write prescriptions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories, with the exception of Puerto Rico. PAs also counsel on preventive health care and assist in surgery.
AAPA is the only national organization to represent the nations more than 108,500 physician assistants in all clinical specialties. Founded in 1968, the Academy works to promote quality, cost-effective health care, and the professional and personal growth of PAs. For more information about the Academy and the PA profession, visit AAPAs Web site, www.aapa.org.
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Choose Fish Low In Mercury
Fish can provide important nutrients like protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed for healthy growth and development. However, some types of fish contain mercury, which can harm your babys brain development. Vary the types of fish you eat and follow advice from Health Canada to limit your exposure to mercury in fish. Check with your local, provincial or territorial government for any advisories on local fish.
Don’t Overlook Food Safety
To protect yourself and your baby from harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, “don’t eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood or eggs, and don’t eat leftover food that has been sitting out for more than two hours,” says Gidus. Also, stick a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure the temperature is below 40 degrees, cold enough to stop bacteria from growing. Heat deli meats until steaming hot. With Brie, blue cheese and other soft cheeses, check the label to make sure they are made with pasteurized milk unpasteurized soft cheese can harbor Listeria, which can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage or stillbirth. If there’s no label, don’t take the chance. Stay away from sushi made with raw fish, but you’re welcome to enjoy California rolls containing imitation crabmeat or sushi made with cooked eel.
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Pregnancy Nutrition: Weight Change And Calories
Your body will gain weight during your pregnancy! As you watch your weight begin to increase, take it as proof that your body is nurturing your growing baby. By the time you are ready to give birth, your total blood volume will have increased by as much as 60%.Your breasts will have filled with milk. Your uterus will have grown to accommodate your baby and has filled with amniotic fluid. Your baby has grown to weigh 6 to 10 pounds . To accomplish all of these productive changes, your body needs approximately 300 extra calories per day during your 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy.Every woman should discuss her individual nutritional needs with her health care provider. Do not neglect your babys health by neglecting your own!
Myth: Now that you are pregnant, you should be eating for two.Fact: It is true that your nutrient needs increase, but energy requirements only increase by about 300 calories per day for the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
Myth: Gaining less weight during pregnancy will make delivery easier.Fact: Mothers who do not gain enough weight during pregnancy place their babies at risk for severe complications such as premature birth, which can cause lung and heart problems.
Myth: If you gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy, none of it will be fat gain.Fact: A healthy pregnancy includes fat storage. Your body uses this excess fat as energy during labor and breastfeeding.
There’s No Need To Eat For 2
You will probably find that you are more hungry than usual, but you do not need to “eat for 2” even if you are expecting twins or triplets.
Try to have a healthy breakfast every day, because this can help you to avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar.
Eating healthily often means changing the amounts of different foods you eat, so that your diet is varied, rather than cutting out all your favourites. You can use the Eatwell Guide to get the balance of your diet right. It shows you how much of what you eat should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.
You do not need to achieve this balance with every meal, but try to get the balance right over a week.
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What Should I Be Eating
- Have a balanced diet – this is eating a variety of food from the five main groups of fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates such as pasta and potatoes, protein like pulses, fish, eggs and meat, dairy such as milk and yoghurt and fats
- Have a healthy breakfast every day to avoid snacking on high fat and sugar foods
- Get at least your five-a-day of fruit and vegetables
- Get fibre from wholegrain foods and nuts
- Make carbs just over a third of the food you eat. Carbohydrates, including bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and oats, are an important source of energy
- Have protein every day which can include fish, eggs and pulses
- Eat two portions of fish a week, only one should be oily fish like salmon or mackerel
- For dairy – try and choose low-fat options of milk, yoghurt and hard cheese
- Limit food and drinks high in fat and sugar like fizzy drinks and biscuits
- Choose healthy snacks such as salad vegetables, hummus, and vegetable soup
How Can I Get Enough Calcium If I’m Lactose Intolerant
If you are lactose intolerant, you can still receive the calcium you need. Here are some suggestions:
- Use Lactaid Milk fortified with calcium. Talk to your dietitian about other lactose-reduced products.
- You may be able to tolerate certain milk products that contain less sugar including cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
- Eat non-dairy calcium sources, including greens, broccoli, sardines, and tofu.
- Try consuming small amounts of milk with meals. Milk is better tolerated with food.
Why Do I Need More Calcium When Pregnant
Calcium is a nutrient needed in the body to build strong teeth and bones. Calcium also allows blood to clot normally, muscles and nerves to function properly, and the heart to beat normally. Most of the calcium in your body is found inside your bones.
Your growing baby needs a considerable amount of calcium to develop. If you do not consume enough calcium to sustain the needs of your developing baby, your body will take calcium from your bones, decreasing your bone mass and putting you at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes dramatic thinning of the bone, resulting in weak, brittle bones that can easily be broken.
Pregnancy is a critical time for a woman to consume more calcium. It may help prevent high blood pressure while you’re pregnant. Even if no problems develop during pregnancy, an inadequate supply of calcium at this time can diminish bone strength and increase your risk for osteoporosis later in life.
The following guidelines will help ensure that you are consuming enough calcium throughout your pregnancy:
Unpasteurized Foods And Raw Meat
According to the USDA, pregnant women are at high risk of getting sick from two different types of food poisoning: listeriosis, caused by the Listeria bacteria, and toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite.
Listeriosis is about 20 times more common in pregnant women than in the rest of the population, according to a study published in the journal Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology. The CDC says that Listeria infection may cause miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-term labor, and illness or death in newborns.
To avoid listeriosis, the USDA recommends avoiding the following foods during pregnancy:
- Unpasteurized milk and foods made from it, such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, queso blanco and queso fresco. Pasteurization involves heating a product to a high temperature to kill harmful bacteria.
- Hot dogs, luncheon meats and cold cuts, unless heated to steaming hot before eating to kill any bacteria.
- Store-bought deli salads, such as ham salad, chicken salad, tuna salad and seafood salad.
- Unpasteurized refrigerated meat spreads or pâtés.
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Address Weight Concerns Early
While youll certainly gain weight naturally from your pregnancy, the majority of this weight gain happens in the second and third trimesters. Your baby also grows rapidly during the last two months of pregnancy. You cant control weight gain attributed to your baby and supporting elements like the placenta, so its best to address any weight issues earlier in pregnancy.
Some success in weight intervention among pregnant women has been reported through a study published in the journal Obesity .Researchers found that women who received advice between weeks 7 and 21 of pregnancy were less likely to gain excess weight during the third trimester. The same group of women studied also benefited from weekly support group meetings.
This is just one example of when early planning helped to stave off excess weight gain. If you want to lose weight, or control the amount of weight you gain overall during your pregnancy, be sure to have your doctor help you come up with a plan early on. Your doctor can also refer you to a dietitian for more advice and meal planning.
Where Can I Find Reliable Information On Which Foods To Avoid
Dr. Barnes recommends the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology as a good resource for learning which foods may be unsafe for expectant mothers. Heres what she tells her own patients: The main foods to avoid are high-mercury fish, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish. Avoid undercooked foods make sure that meats are cooked to minimum recommended internal temperatures. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products and raw uncooked foods such as sushi. Avoid hot dogs, lunch meats and cold cuts unless they are heated up prior to eating.
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