Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy diets and food intake while your baby is growing is very important for a safe, healthy baby, delivery and recovery.

When you are pregnant, what you eat and even what types of environmental products you use have a big impact on the baby and you.  Basically, the more you can eat pure, organic and non processed foods, the better you are feeding yourself and the baby.

If you consume highly processed, fat, sugar, and chemically loaded foods, your body will be feeding that to the baby also. In addition, your body will want to go into a natural ‘cleansing’ cycle to eliminate those artificial ingredients.  Part of this ‘cleansing’ is known as morning sickness.

You should select foods that are high in protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates, iron and calcium. You need approximately 200-300 extra calories daily during pregnancy. It is recommend substituting nutritionally “dense” foods like dairy products rich in calcium and protein in place of refined sugars and fats.

It is important to drink more fluid when pregnant, including 6-8 glasses of water daily (this does NOT mean caffeine-containing fluids like coffee, tea and sodas).
There are many resources around to help you learn the best foods to eat.  On this site I recommend the “ Eating Well When You Are Expecting” book as it gives you great info on the nutrition you need throughout the trimesters.

Also, here are some quick tips that Web MD recommends:

Eating Right When Pregnant
Good nutrition during pregnancy, and enough of it, is very important for your baby to grow and develop. You should consume about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant.

Although nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy can make this difficult, try to eat a well balanced diet and take prenatal vitamins. Here are some recommendations to keep you and your baby healthy.

Goals for Healthy Eating When Pregnant
•    Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Recommended daily servings include 6-11 servings of breads   and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs or nuts). Use fats and sweets sparingly.

•    Choose foods high in fiber that are enriched such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables.

•    Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet while pregnant. You should take a prenatal vitamin supplement to make sure you are consistently getting enough vitamins and minerals every day.

•    Eat and drink at least four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day to help ensure that you are getting 1000-1300 mg of calcium in your daily diet during pregnancy.

•    Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.

•    Choose at least one good source of vitamin C every day, such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens. Pregnant women need 70 mg of vitamin C a day.

•    Choose at least one good source of folic acid every day, like dark green leafy vegetables, veal, and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas). Every pregnant woman needs at least 0.4 mg of folic acid per day to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

•    Choose at least one source of vitamin A every other day. Sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, water squash, turnip greens, beet greens, apricots, and cantaloupe. Know that excessive vitamin A intake (>10,000 IU/day) may be associated with fetal malformations.

Foods to Avoid When Pregnant
•    Avoid alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol has been linked to premature delivery, mental retardation, birth defects,    and low birth weight babies.

•    Limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg per day. The caffeine content in various drinks depends on the beans or leaves used and how it was prepared. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 150 mg of caffeine on average while black tea has typically about 80 mg. A 12-ounce glass of caffeinated soda contains anywhere from 30-60 mg of caffeine.Remember, chocolate contains caffeine — the amount of caffeine in a chocolate bar is equal to 1/4 cup of coffee.

•    The use of saccharin is strongly discouraged during pregnancy because it can cross the placenta and may remain in fetal tissues. But, the use of other non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA is acceptable during pregnancy. These FDA-approved sweeteners include aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet), acesulfame-K (Sunett), and sucralose (Splenda). These sweeteners are considered safe in moderation so talk with your health care provider about how much non-nutritive sweetener is acceptable during pregnancy.

•    Decrease the total amount of fat you eat to 30% or less of your total daily calories. For a person eating 2000 calories a day, this would be 65 grams of fat or less per day.

•    Limit cholesterol intake to 300 mg or less per day.

•    Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish (also called white snapper), because they contain high levels of mercury.

•    Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese. These cheeses are often unpasteurized and may cause Listeria infection. There’s no need to avoid hard cheese, processed cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt.
•    Avoid raw fish, especially shellfish like oysters and clams.

What to Eat When Pregnant and Don’t Feel Well

During pregnancy you may have morning sickness, diarrhea, or constipation. You may find it hard to keep foods down, or you may feel too sick to even eat at all.

Here are some suggestions:
•    Morning Sickness: Eat crackers, cereal, or pretzels before getting out of bed; eat small, frequent meals throughout the day; avoid fatty, fried, and greasy foods.

•    Constipation: Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Also drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.

•    Diarrhea: Eat more foods that contain pectin and gums (two types of dietary fiber) to help absorb excess water. Examples of these foods are applesauce, bananas, white rice, oatmeal, and refined wheat bread.

•    Heartburn: Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day; try drinking milk before eating; and limit caffeinated foods and beverages.

Can I Diet While Pregnant?

No. Do not diet or try to lose weight during pregnancy.