What Foods Should I Limit During Pregnancy
Processed foods tend to be high in sugar, fat and salt. Although they can taste good and are often convenient, they dont meet the daily requirements for nutrition. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that during pregnancy, you should limit the amount of foods that contain saturated fat, added salt and sugars as well as alcohol.
First Trimester Healthy Eating Tips
Ultimately, while it’s important to eat well in the first trimester, try not to worry too much about what you’re putting on your plate, as this can add unnecessary stress during a time that is likely already filled with plenty of anxiety.
Although variety is important, you’ll likely have an easier time filling your plate with a wider range of foods once your nausea and morning sickness subsides in the second trimester. So for now, take it easy on yourself and your stomach. Don’t forget to:
- Stay hydrated. Fill up a glass with water and place it on your nightstand before bed, then wake up and drink it before starting your day. If plain water doesnt sound appetizing, add a slice of lemon, cucumber or fresh berries.
- Snack well. A common symptom early in pregnancy is the quick onset of hunger with a simultaneous feeling of nausea and even fullness. Keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day by eating healthy snacks, such as a small handful of nuts, a few whole grain crackers with cheese, a piece of fresh fruit or a slice of whole grain toast with nut butter.
- Pop that prenatal. No one eats perfectly every single day, which is one reason why taking your prenatal vitamin is so important. Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to take your vitamin each day.
When in doubt, consult your OB/GYN. He or she can advise you about the foods and drinks to completely avoid during the first trimester, such as alcohol, unpasteurized dairy and undercooked meats.
Things To Do After Finding Out Youre Pregnant
1. Wait to announce your pregnancy. While you may want to shout from the rooftops that youre expecting a baby, be aware that 80% of miscarriages happen during the first trimester of pregnancy. While most pregnancies do come to term successfully, it would be more prudent to wait before making the announcement.
2. Schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN. Once you see the positive sign , you can schedule an appointment with a general practitioner to confirm whether you really are pregnant.
If youre pretty sure you are, you need to schedule your first prenatal appointment around 8 weeks since your last period.
3. If you drink, now is the time to quit alcohol. If you drink alcohol while pregnant, it will reach your baby through the umbilical cord. This can cause serious complications, such as premature birth, brain damage, birth defects, alcohol fetal syndrome, or miscarriage.
4. If you smoke, now its the time to stop . If despite all the warnings against smoking you are still doing it, now is the perfect time to reconsider. For the sake of your baby, its essential to quit smoking during pregnancy. Just like with alcohol, smoking while pregnant may cause a wide range of issues: birth defects, low birth weight, cleft lip, birth defects, miscarriage, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, to name a few.
While water is an obvious choice, you can also mix it up by consuming foods with a high water content, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and soups.
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Are Food Cravings Real
It is common for women to develop a sudden urge or a strong dislike for a food during pregnancy. Some common cravings are for sweets, salty foods, red meat or fluids, Krieger said. Often, a craving is a body’s way of saying it needs a specific nutrient, such as more protein or additional liquids to quench a thirst, rather than a particular food, she said.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.
- The Institute of Medicine has a BMI calculator to help pregnant women figure out the right amount of weight to gain.
- Find answers to frequently asked questions about nutrition during pregnancy from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
- Learn about safe food choices and food safety risks from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Editor’s note: This reference page was updated on April 24, 2021, by Live Science contributor Sarah Wild.
Nutritious Fruits You Should Eat During Pregnancy
If youre pregnant, you might be craving something sugary. But try not to make a habit of reaching for a piece of cake or a candy bar to satisfy that sweet tooth. Fruit is the perfect solution.
It offers the sweetness you crave and the nutrition you need. Enjoy these fruits as part of a healthy pregnancy diet in salads, in smoothies, over yogurt, or as a snack anytime.
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Is It Safe To Include Sugar Substitutes In Your Pregnancy Diet
You might be wondering whether sugar substitutes are a food to avoid during pregnancy, but common sugar substitutes, including aspartame, sucralose, and stevia, are all deemed safe to consume during pregnancy. This means that diet sodas and sugar-free products can stay in your pregnancy diet plan, but its recommended that you consume them in moderation.
Ideal Foods To Eat During Pregnancy
The following foods are beneficial to your health and fetal development during pregnancy:
Vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, cooked greens, tomatoes and red sweet peppers
Fruits: cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, prunes, bananas, apricots, oranges, and red or pink grapefruit
Dairy: fat-free or low-fat yogurt, skim or 1% milk, soymilk
Grains: ready-to-eat cereals/cooked cereals
Proteins: beans and peas nuts and seeds lean beef, lamb and pork salmon, trout, herring, sardines and pollock
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What Foods Should You Eat Every Day While Pregnant
Weve seen that there is a whole range of foods that are safe to include in a healthy pregnancy diet. There is no specific daily diet recommended during this time, but following the principles of a healthy, balanced diet with sufficient nutrients is best. A diet rich in produce, lean protein , whole grains, legumes, and nuts/seeds has been associated with improved health outcomes for both you and baby.
Herbs And Supplements To Take During Pregnancy
Even though theres a large variety of healthy foods containing key nutrients during pregnancy, it can be hard to get as much of those nutrients as you need from food alone, particularly folate and iron. Because of this, your doctor or midwife will likely recommend or prescribe certain supplements.
Prenatal vitamins are a common example. As the name implies, prenatal vitamins are made specifically for pregnant people and people planning to get pregnant. Prenatal vitamins provide a combination of vitamins and minerals that support healthy pregnancies , and are available over the counter in a wide range of stores.
Your care provider may also prescribe supplements based on other factors, like dietary restrictions. If youre lactose intolerant and cant eat dairy, for example, you may be prescribed a calcium supplement.
You may also want to use herbal supplements to help provide relief from pregnancy symptoms. Peppermint leaf and ginger root are commonly used to help with nausea and morning sickness. However, there are some herbs to avoid.
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Get Legitimate Advice On What To Eat During Pregnancy
Knowing what to eat during pregnancy will keep you and your baby safe and healthy. With nutritious meals on the table, you can safeguard your child from various health risks. Eating the right foods will also reduce symptoms, such as nausea, morning sickness and fatigue.
Some long-time parents who insist that they know the routine should never assume this pregnancy will be like their others nutritionally. Your family and friends may also mean well when giving you pregnancy advice, but keep in mind that a legitimate set of guidelines is what you need the most. This will ensure that you get precise details on what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy.
First-hand information from a nutritionist specializing in prenatal care is 100% reliable. Ideally, consult one, who will offer advice tailored for your specific needs. A certified nutritionist** can provide you definitive advice on proper prenatal care and diet.
During pregnancy, you are your babys only source of nourishment. What you eat and drink will affect your childs health, so you want to be sure that you choose the best food to eat during pregnancy.
Family Health Centers of San Diego can guide you through your pregnancy. Our dedicated certified nutritionists** and registered dietitians will assess your condition and help you make healthy food choices. We will help you manage your symptoms through the foods you eat and educate you on prenatal care.
Start Stocking Up Now
Diapers, wipes, and baby supplies are expensive!
Thats why we always start stocking up right away.
You might decide to wait until after the first trimester to buy baby products . However, Id definitely start stockpiling diapers, wipes, and onesies by the second trimester!
See what else I figured out after my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants first pregnancy:Rookie Parent Mistakes to Avoid with a Second Pregnancy
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Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy
If youre concerned about weight gain, dont stress too much. Some weight gain is normal during pregnancy. The extra weight provides nourishment to the baby. Some of it is also stored for breastfeeding after the baby is born.
Women gain an average of 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Its normal to gain less weight if you start out with more weight or to gain more weight if you were underweight before pregnancy.
You can speak with your doctor about the appropriate amount of weight for you to gain during your pregnancy. The chart below provides some general guidelines, though everyone is different.
Recommended weight gain during pregnancy with one baby
|> 30.0||11 to 20 lbs.|
*Body mass index can be calculated using the following equation: weight / height 2 x 703.
Dont worry too much about the number on the scale. Instead of focusing on your weight, concentrate on eating a variety of nutritious foods. Healthy eating is incredibly important, and dieting to lose weight or prevent weight gain can be harmful to you and your baby.
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
According to the Mayo Clinic, pregnant women should avoid the following foods:
- certain seafood like swordfish and shark
- unwashed fruits and veggies
- hot dogs and lunch meat
These foods carry the risk of listeria. The types of seafood listed above are also high in mercury.
Its also recommended that pregnant women dont ingest more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day because it can cross the placenta and may affect your babys heart rate.
And research about herbal teas during pregnancy is mixed, so its best to chat with your doctor before drinking them.
With a little attention to detail, you may be able to enjoy your favorite treats. For example, in some cases you may be able to eat hot dogs and other lunch meats. But make sure theyre cooked until steaming to kill any possible listeria.
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How Many Calories Should You Eat While Pregnant
The specific number of calories you should eat while pregnant varies depending on your pre-pregnancy weight/BMI, how much weight youve gained during pregnancy and what trimester youre in, registered dietitian Lyndsay Hall says. For example, Hall says, if your pre-pregnancy BMI was 18.5-25 , the general guidance is to increase your daily calories by ~350 during the second trimester and ~450 calories during the third trimester. This is essentially equivalent to an additional snack or a small meal, Hall says.
Keep in mind: Every person is different, so before you start meal planning, you should talk to your doctor about your specific caloric needs based on your own body.
What Foods To Eat While Pregnant
So you know youll need to increase your daily calories throughout your pregnancy, but the average amount of additional calories isnt a whole lot. In fact, it might be smaller than youre expecting .
And while you have caloric needs for your growing baby, you also have nutritional needs. You dont need to change your entire diet just aim to include some key nutrients if you dont already regularly do so. Specifically, dieticians and nutritionists recommended your diet to include:
- High-fiber foods: whole grains like whole wheat bread or pasta, popcorn, oats and quinoa fruits like berries, apples, bananas and oranges vegetables like carrots, broccoli, artichokes and potatoes
- Protein-rich foods: Meat, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, peanuts and peanut butter, pumpkin seeds
- Healthy fats: Avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, eggs, salmon, nuts, olive oil, full-fat dairy
- Dairy or calcium-fortified non-dairy alternatives
This will ensure that, in addition to your prenatal vitamin, you are meeting all of your macro- and micronutrient needs to support a healthy pregnancy, Hall says.
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What Should I Avoid When Im Trying To Get Pregnant
Smoking, alcohol, and other drugs can be dangerous for your pregnancy and your future baby. Changing these habits before you get pregnant lowers your risk of problems. Its also important to make sure your home and work environments are safe and healthy places for you, both mentally and physically.
Some habits can be really hard to change. So its best to start trying as soon as you can, instead of waiting until youre pregnant.
Quitting smoking helps you, your future baby, and everyone around you be healthier. People who smoke take longer to get pregnant and have higher rates of miscarriage than non-smokers.
Smoking during your pregnancy exposes the fetus to dangerous chemicals, and increases the chance that your baby will be born early or have a low birth weight. Smoking also increases the risk for other serious health problems after your baby is born, as well as sudden infant death syndrome .
Quitting smoking is hard, but your doctor can help. And many Planned Parenthood health centers have programs to help you stop smoking. You can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW .
Breathing secondhand smoke , also has negative effects on your pregnancy. If you live with someone who smokes, ask them to smoke outside, away from you.
Stay away from alcohol when youre pregnant. Most health care providers tell pregnant people not to drink at all, because theres no known safe amount you can drink at any point during your pregnancy.
Chemicals and toxic substances
Certain Kinds Of Fish
Many kinds of fish are really good for you, and some of them are especially good for people who are pregnant.
The thing is, there truly are a whole lot of fish in the sea . And some should be avoided when youre pregnant. This handy list from the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration can help you sort through it.
Doctors recommend, too, understanding where the fish you eat is sourced to understand the potential risks.
Choosing the right fish to eat during pregnancy can be a little complicated, Dr. Chien says. There are a lot of variables in the kinds of fish, how theyre sourced and how theyre prepared. If youre unsure what fish to eat and which to avoid, talk with your healthcare provider. They can help you understand better how often to eat certain seafood or whether its safe to eat at all.
Some fish can be a rich source of protein and fat that provide some excellent nutrients for you and your fetus. Good fish for people who are pregnant includes choices like:
You can aim for two or three servings per week of these best choices.
As for what fish to avoid and limit during your pregnancy, Dr. Chien helps break down the guidelines.
Avoid: Fish high in mercury
When youre pregnant, youll want to avoid fish with elevated levels of mercury. Exposure to too much mercury is toxic to humans and can cause brain damage or developmental delays in your baby. Mercury is hard for your body to get rid of and can build up in your system over time.
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Let Your Employer Know
You have rights when youre pregnant! By that I mean you have rights in the workplace.
Most importantly, your employer is NOT allowed to fire or discriminate against you if they find out that youre pregnant.
It can be scary telling youre employer , because you may be worried about how they will react. However, the first trimester can be especially difficult, and your employer will be much more understanding if they know why youre not feeling 100%.
While not required to by law, your employer may also make special accommodations to keep you both comfortable and productive. One of the nice things my boss did for me during my previous pregnancy was to bring a couch into my office. That way when my rib pain became intense, I could stretch out and rest for a few minutes.
Want to know more about your rights during pregnancy? to read an excellent article on Parents.com that breaks it down.