Do’s & Don’ts of a Pregnancy Diet

February 2, 2009

pregnant2Recently I have had many friends who have had babies or are pregnant. In this month alone, I know at least 5 women who will be having babies! So, in case you or someone you know is pregnant, here are some important diet do’s and don’ts for ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

DO…

-Remember that your nutrition in pregnancy WILL affect your baby’s growth and development.

-Eat a well-balanced diet and choose a variety of foods to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

-Take a prenatal vitamin supplement.

dairy-Consume at least 3 or 4 servings of calcium-rich foods each day. Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth. If you don’t consume enough calcium to meet the needs of your growing baby, your body will take calcium from your bones, putting you at risk for osteoporosis. Foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products. Take a calcium supplement if you have difficulty consuming adequate calcium. Women who are pregnant need 1000-1300 mg calcium each day.

-Consume at least 3 servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure that you and your baby are getting enough beansoxygen (iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body). Women who are pregnant need 27 mg of iron per day. Good sources of iron include meat, beans, peas, and lentils; enriched grains (cereal, rice, pasta); and some fruits such as berries, apricots, and dried fruits.

-Consume at least one good source of folic acid each day, such as dark green leafy vegetables and legumes. Folic Acid helps to prevent neural tube defects.

-Do limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg per day. The average 8-ounce cup of coffee has 65-120 mg and tea has about 20-90 mg. Also, remember chocolate and some soft drinks contain caffeine.

DON’T…

no-alcohol-Drink alcohol while your pregnant. Alcohol has been associated to premature delivery, mental retardation, birth defects, and low birth weight babies.

-Use saccharin because it can cross the placenta and may remain in the fetus. Instead, use other non-nutritive sweeteners like aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet) or sucrulose (Splenda).

-Don’t eat swordfish, shark, tilefish, or king mackerel because they may contain high levels of mercury which can affect the developing brain and nervous system of the unborn child.

-Eat soft cheeses such as feta, brie, camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheeses because they maybrie cause Listeria infection since they are often unpasteurized.

-Eat raw fish.

-Attempt to lose weight while pregnant. While it’s true, you don’t need to “eat for two”, it’s important that you and your baby have adequate nutrition and energy to stay healthy. It’s recommended that pregnant women should add 300 more calories per day from their pre-pregnancy diet.  Also, the average women needs to gain 25-35 pounds to support the pregnancy.

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