So you’re pregnant. Congratulations! In the midst of all you have to do and all you're feeling, it’s easy to overlook one of the most vital parts of pregnancy: nutrition. Prenatal appointments are important to the health of you and your growing baby, and you will most likely get a list of foods to avoid during pregnancy when you arrive for your first checkup. To help supplement that information, here are some basic don’ts and do’s for nutrition and eating during pregnancy.
-DON’T: Avoid nuts, peanuts, or other common allergens. If you can't stand them or are allergic it’s one thing; but research has shown that there is no added risk of your infant developing a peanut allergy just because you eat peanuts during pregnancy.
-DO: Eat a wide variety of foods. While you should be taking a prenatal vitamin, don’t rely on it for all of your nutrients.Try to include lots of fruit and vegetables, making sure they're all washed thoroughly. Here’s a great checklist to help keep track of the kinds of foods and nutrients you should be consuming each day.
-DON’T: Eat anything containing unpasteurized (raw) dairy. This includes cheese as well as milk. Unpasteurized dairy can carry listeria and other bacteria, which can cause miscarriage and other issues with your growing baby.
Caffeine intake higher than 200mg daily has been linked to higher miscarriage rates, as well as low birth weight. In addition, it can cause unpleasant symptoms for you, including insomnia and heartburn (like you need more of that).
-DON’T: Actually eat for two. During the first trimester, you actually shouldn’t need to gain any weight at all! During the second trimester, you only need about 300 extra calories, and 500 extra in the third trimester.
-DO: Cook everything well-done. Bacteria that your adult body can handle could cause problems for your baby. To be safe, cook everything! Fruits and vegetables are fine raw, provided they are washed and stored properly.
-DON’T: Diet. If you are gaining more weight than you feel comfortable with, speak with your doctor. Don’t take matters into your own hands with crash or fad diets. Your body needs a variety of foods to provide you both with proper nutrition, and dieting often involves decreased intake of the vitamins, minerals, and calories that your little one needs to grow properly.
-DO: Avoid these foods: raw seafood of any kind, fish containing high levels of mercury (light tuna and shrimp are usually safe in small amounts), refrigerated meat (unless it’s cooked or heated thoroughly each time), prepared meat salads or salads containing eggs (ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, etc), alcohol, or anything that has been un-refrigerated for more than 2 hours.
Always talk with your OB or midwife about any concerns you may have over the course of your pregnancy. If you are worried about your eating habits and options during pregnancy, consider consulting a nutritionist. For answers to pregnancy and parenting questions, feel free to contact Help Me Grow!
Good luck, and may your cravings be mild!