Healthy Eating Tips During Pregnancy

Jodi Greebel, MS, RD

There is so much conflicting information out there about what to eat and what not to eat when you are pregnant. Here is a quick guideline of what to eat and what to avoid.

What to Include in Your Diet:

  • Variety. A diet with a lot of variety helps you get all the nutrients you need.
  • High fiber foods. Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans/legumes which provide a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and can help prevent constipation.
  • Calcium-rich foods. Choose low-fat and nonfat milk, yogurt and cheese to ensure you get adequate calcium. Most women do not get enough calcium, so be sure to consume adequate amounts during pregnancy so that you do not lose calcium from your own bones.
  • Omega-3-rich foods. Choose foods such as salmon, arctic char, walnuts, omega-3 eggs or Bellybars. Omega-3 fatty acids help with the development of your baby’s brain.
  • Foods rich in folate/folic acid. Choose foods such as avocado, asparagus, kiwi, legumes or grains enriched with folic acid such as cereal, bread and pasta. Adequate folic acid is essential for the proper development of your baby’s nervous system and can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.
  • At least 8+ glasses water per day. Fluid needs are high during pregnancy. Make sure to consume lots of water every day.
  • A prenatal vitamin every day

Foods to Limit or Avoid:

  • Avoid all alcohol. Despite recent suggestions that it is safe to drink alcohol during pregnancy, it remains linked to birth defects, mental retardation, early delivery and more.
  • Limit caffeine to one 6 oz cup of coffee (small) or tea (only from a tea bag) or one 12 oz can of soda.
  • Avoid sushi and other uncooked fish (ex. Lox).
  • Avoid fish high in mercury including shark, tilefish (white snapper), swordfish and king mackerel. Limit tuna to no more than 6 oz per week.
  • Avoid uncooked eggs such as soft boiled eggs. Uncooked eggs are also found in mousse, tiramisu, Caesar salad dressing and raw cookie dough.
  • Limit deli meat (unless heated), processed meats and hot dogs.
  • Avoid all soft, unpasteurized cheese often labeled “fresh” such as Brie, Camembert, Feta, Goat or Blue cheese. Look for cheese that is pasteurized.
  • Avoid all diets.
  • Limit artificial sweeteners. It is best to avoid saccharin. Splenda on occasion is okay.

Other Important Tips:

  • Exercise for ≥ 30 minutes most days of the week (always check with your MD before starting any sort of exercise program). Exercising during pregnancy makes labor easier (who wouldn’t want that??) and it makes it easier to lose the weight after the baby is born.
  • Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Keep in mind that you only need an extra 300 calories (the equivalent of one apple, one slice of bread and one low-fat yogurt) per day during the second and third trimesters. Eating for two is really an exaggeration.

Appropriate weight gain during pregnancy:

  • 25 – 35 pounds for someone of normal weight pre-pregnancy
  • 28 – 40 pounds for someone underweight before pregnancy
  • 15 – 25 pounds for someone overweight before pregnancy

If you are pregnant with twins:

  • 35 – 45 pounds

reprinted fro Big City Moms