Nutrition in Pregnancy

Nutrition in pregnancy

What you eat in pregnancy is the hallmark of your baby’s growth and development.  Many times pregnancy is the first time you examine your diet.  Obviously a healthy diet is essential for the health and wellness of you and your baby.  Here are a few do and don’ts of eating with attention to the special nutrients needed in your pregnancy diet.

What to Eat Each Day
  • Grains 6oz. daily with whole grain being superior to white grains
    •          1oz = 1 slice of bread, ½ cup rice or pasta, 1 c. cereal
  • Fruits 1 ½- 2 cup daily
  • Milk 3 8oz servings of milk try 1% or skim, or yogurt (6oz.) or cottage cheese ( 4 oz.)
  • Protein 5-6 servings
    •          1 oz. = 1 tbsp. peanut butter, ¼ cup beans, 1 egg or ½ oz. nuts
    •          1 oz. of meat , fish  or chicken

Other Daily Tips:

  • Try to drink 64 oz. of water daily.  Keeping well hydrated decreases the risk of preterm labor.
  • Try to make ½ of your plate fruit and vegetables to increase fiber and decrease the likelihood of constipation.
  • Small amounts of caffeine are safe but limit to 12 oz. daily.
  • Avoid “empty calories.”  These are calories that come primarily from sugar and fat, including dessert foods, soft drinks and fried foods.  Most fruit drinks and blends are high in sugar so try to find 100% fruit juice.
  • Limit seafood to twice per week to avoid excessive mercury intake.  Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because these tend to be very high in mercury.
  • Seafood is high in omega -3 which is important for the baby’s brain and eye development.  So try to get the two servings in each week.

Folic acid is an important B vitamin for pregnant women.  Studies have shown that diets rich in folic acid reduce neural tube defects such as spina bidifa.  Folic acid can be found in breads, cereals, spinach, beans, peanuts, asparagus and oranges.

Iron is necessary to make red blood cells.  Red blood cells carry oxygen to your organs and tissues and to the baby.  Iron is in lean red meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, iron fortified cereals and eggs.  Iron is better absorbed if eaten with vitamin C foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.  Iron from food sources is preferred because iron supplements, though they maybe necessary, can be constipating.

Listeria is a bacteria that can cause food borne illness often found in uncooked food products.  Expectant moms should avoid eating: hot dogs, lunch meat, soft cheeses such as brie and feta, pate, unpasteurized milk products, and raw or uncooked seafood, such as sushi.  Listeria is a serious infection that can cause miscarriage or preterm delivery.

During your weekly shopping try to stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein foods, as well as healthy snacks such as nuts and raisins for in between meals.