Nutrition During Pregnancy: 10 Dos and Don'ts (2023)

There is a dizzying array of dos and don'ts during pregnancy, especially when it comes to prenatal nutrition! But you can actually eat more freely than you think. In fact, we encourage variety because it's important to get the key nutrients your growing baby needs. In addition, it is recommended not to eat for too long during pregnancy to keep energetic.

However, certain foods and eating patterns may be affectedbaby's development in the womb, every future parent should know this. It's also important to focus on nutrient-dense foods and healthy habits that will allow you and your baby to thrive throughout the nine months, especially since research shows many pregnant women don't follow recommended dietary guidelines.Here you will find an overview of what to eat and drink during pregnancy.

Five Rules of Pregnancy Nutrition

With all the focus on things pregnant women shouldn't be doing, like drinking alcohol or eating sushi, you can quickly forget that there's a lot of maternity food out there.

Store folic acid, calcium, iron, zinc and fiber

Before conception and during the first six weeks of pregnancy, no nutrient is more important than folic acid (the synthetic form is folic acid). This B vitamin may reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as:spina bifida, up to 70%.Preventing neural tube defects is one of the reasons prenatal vitamins are so important.

You can also get at least 400 micrograms per day (600 micrograms recommended in the first trimester) from beans and legumes, citrus fruits and juices, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, poultry, pork, fish and shellfish, but from The absorption of folic acid in food is not as good as that of folic acid, so it is popularprenatal vitaminsOr folic acid supplements for insurance.

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yourdaily dose of calcium-1200 mg - Plays a key role in your baby's second and third trimester when bone and tooth development are at their peak. Best sources include low-fat dairy products, dark green vegetables, fortified orange juice and soy products like tofu. Adequate calcium also helps prevent premature labor and preeclampsia.

Since your fetus absorbs calcium from your body, getting enough of this mineral can also protect your own bones. Iron, important for a 50% increase in blood volume, is vitalin the third trimester. Aim for 30 mg per day.

"Iron is hard to get from food, so take an iron supplement or a prenatal vitamin that contains iron," she advisesricciotti basketball, MD, gynecologist, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, co-authorI am pregnant! what do i eat now.To increase iron absorption, combine iron-rich foods (such as nuts, red meat, and dark green leafy vegetables) with a source of vitamin C.

When you're pregnant, your need for zinc increases by 50% to 15 mg per day. Zinc deficiency has been linked to birth defects, fetal growth restriction and premature birth, Dr. Ricciotti. While nuts, whole grains and legumes are good sources, this mineral is best absorbed from meat and seafood.

Fiber (found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains) is especially important to your health. it helps prevent orreduce constipation, frequent complaints during pregnancy can lead to unpleasant bowel movements andhemorrhoid. A high-fiber diet can also help you feel fuller for longer. In addition, adequate fiber intake reduces the risk of diabetes andpreeclampsia. Aim for 25 mg to 35 mg per day.

Food Safety Guidelines During Pregnancy

eat colorful food

Not only does a varied diet provide you and your baby with all the important nutrients, but an eclectic mix can also give your little munchkin new tastesamniotic fluid. Of course, if bananas and pretzels are the only foods you can eat in the first trimester, that's fine too!

"But once you start feeling better, aim for more variety," says Orlando nutritionist Tara Gidus, MD, PhD. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, carrots, and spinach, tend to be rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.

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limit exposure to pesticides

Choose organic and locally grown foods whenever possible to avoid exposure to pesticides. "The developing immune system is much more sensitive than the adult system," he saidRodney Dieter, Ph.D., professor of immunotoxicology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, whose research links prenatal exposure to pesticides with immune dysfunction later in life.

Other studies have linked pesticides in water suppliespremature birthAnd possibly a birth defect. "We now have a lot of evidence that nitrates [chemicals used in fertilizers] and pesticides can interact at very low doses with the hormonal environment of pregnancy," he said.Paul WinchesterMD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine.

Washing your produce can help, but that step may not be enough, says Dr. Winchester. The produce with the highest levels of pesticides was mainly thin-skinned fruits and vegetables such as peaches, apples, peppers and strawberries. Also be aware that foods imported from other countries, such as Mexico or Chile, may contain pesticides that are banned in the United States.

Chemical Exposure During Pregnancy

Get Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A Diet Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Boost Your Baby's Nerves and Neurological Functionbrain developmentbefore birth. Omega-3 fatty acids may improve vision, memory and language comprehension in early childhood. It also increases your riskpostpartum depression.

Omega-3-rich flaxseed oil, walnuts, and eggs are good sources of ALA, one of the three omega-3 fatty acids, but fatty fish are the only reliable source of the two more important omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, according to Dr. Ricciotti. It is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume at least 300 mg of DHA per day.

the trick iswho changedIt's high in omega-3 fatty acids but low in mercury, which can damage a fetus' nervous system. Species to avoid are swordfish, shark, mackerel, tilefish and now some experts say tunaCanned tuna is safer than white tunaTop picks include wild Alaskan salmon (fresh, frozen or canned), Atlantic mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies. Fish oil supplements are also safe.

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Choose foods that "do double duty."

Choose foods that provide different benefits. "Nutrient-dense foods, such as yogurt, peanut butter, chicken, beef, eggs, and dairy products, are foods that are higher in protein, calcium, and iron, all nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop properly," says Rose. Ann Hudson, RD, LD, co-authorNutrition During Pregnancy: A Basic Nutrition Guide With Recipes For The Whole Family.

Some other nutritious options: Lean pork, like beef, contains protein, as well as B vitamins, iron, and zinc; orange juice provides folate and vitamin C, and helps you absorb iron from foods like black beans and fiber-rich spinach; whole Grains are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.

Food Aversions During Pregnancy

Five Things You Shouldn't Do During Pregnancy

There are also certain foods and eating habits that should be avoided during pregnancy.

don't eat two

While it's understandable to like the idea of ​​"serving for two," the concept is actually a misnomer. Most pregnant women gain more weightpregnancy weightthan recommended. In fact, a study of more than 8,000 participants found that 73 percent gained too much weight. This is a problem because excess prenatal weight gain increases the risk of pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, prolonged labor, and cesarean delivery. In addition, "babies are at higher risk for obesity later in life," Dr. Ricciotti said.

Ideally, you gain weight slowly during pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor how much weight you should try to gain. They usually use your pre-pregnancy height and weight to determine your pregnancy weight gain goals. Those who are underweight are in the 40-pound range, and those who are obese are in the 20-pound range. If you're having twins, you'll need to gain some weight.

If you're pregnant with a baby, you'll need about 340 extra calories per day in the second trimester and an extra 450 calories in the third trimester. Doctors disagree on whether you need moreCalories for the first trimester- Probably not if you're overweight.But instead of counting calories, eat until you're full and that's it. If you're having trouble with portion control, seek help from a registered dietitian.

Don't Overeat Refined Carbs

White bread, white rice, candy, and soda get into your bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels. These jumps lead to larger newborns, who are at greater risk of becoming overweight as they age. "If you eat the same number of calories but just change your diet, your baby will likely be born with less body fat and be at a lower risk of obesity in the future," advises Dr. Ricciotti. Limit white foods and choose untreated foods. Refined grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat tortillas, and bread.

Don't Forget Food Safety

To protect yourself and your baby from harmful bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, you should know about food safety practices. "Don't eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood or eggs, and don't eat leftovers that have been sitting out for more than two hours," Gidus says. Also, keep a thermometer in the fridge to make sure it's below 40 degrees, which is hot enough to keep bacteria from growing

Heat meat until hot. For brie, blue cheese, and other soft cheeses, check the label to make sure they're made with pasteurized milk. Unpasteurized soft cheese may contain Listeria, which can cause premature labor,abortion, or stillbirth. If you don't have a label, don't risk it. Stay away from sushi made with raw fish, but feel free to enjoy California rolls with imitation crab or sushi with cooked eel.

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Do not go more than two or three hours without food

Pregnant women often wonder how long they can go without eating. The answer is to eat at least every 3 hours. Grazing not only provides your baby with a steady stream of nutrients, it also keeps your blood sugar steady so you don't "crash" or get dizzy.

"If you don't top up your tank regularly, you can hit rock bottom," says Dr. Ricciotti. also eat smaller mealsminimize heartburn, which is a common and uncomfortable problem as pregnancy progresses and your stomach becomes tight. So it's important to eat something every few hours, even if you're not hungry.

Drink at least 12 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day

drink your water! "It can be difficult to stay hydrated during pregnancy because the amount of fluid you drink leaks from your blood vessels into your tissues," explains Dr. Ricciotti van. However, hydration is essential to maintain and prevent energypremature birth.When you are dehydrated, the body produces a hormone that stimulates contractions.

Staying hydrated also helps prevent headaches, kidney stones, dizziness, and common pregnancy symptoms like constipation and hemorrhoids. You'll know you're well-hydrated when your urine is pale yellow to clear.

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