10 tips for a healthy pregnancy diet
They say you are what you eat — for pregnant women that statement has more meaning than usual.
A well-balanced pregnancy diet fuels your body helping to keep you healthy and make your growing baby strong. Here are a 10 key nutritional dos and don'ts to consider in your prenatal care plan:
Eat lots of fruits and veggies
Your body needs more vitamins than usual when you're pregnant. Thankfully fruits and vegetables are full them. The USDA has recommended consuming leafy green veggies like kale spinach and romaine lettuce which are especially rich in minerals A C and K and provide important nutrients for you and your baby.
Eat a variety of foods you love
Eating a variety of foods — rather than repeating the same foods — makes it more likely that you'll get all of the nutrients both you and your baby need.
Do not drink alcohol
Consuming alcohol during pregnancy impacts your health and your baby's development. Experts recommend that women avoid any amount of alcohol for the duration of their pregnancy.
Limit your caffeine intake
Caffeine increases your heart rate and blood pressure both of which should be kept in check during pregnancy. Caffeine could also be affecting your baby since it can travel through the placenta wall American Pregnancy noted. Your baby's developing metabolism cannot handle the same amount of caffeine that yours can.
Eat the proper number of calories
It's true that your body needs more calories than normal during pregnancy. However it's important not to overeat as that can have negative impacts for you and baby. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advised that the amount of food you need depends on a number of factors including your pre-pregnancy weight your weight gain rate and your age. Your doctor can help you determine the proper daily calorie intake at each stage of your pregnancy.
Limit your exposure to mercury
Fish like marlin swordfish yellowfin tuna and bigeye tuna are high in mercury which can harm your baby's development. It's best to avoid these fish — and other foods containing mercury — while pregnant.
Avoid foodborne illness with careful food prep
When you're pregnant your immune system is working overtime the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explained. This means you're more susceptible to foodborne illness. Therefore you should always wash your fruits and vegetables and ensure your food (including meat) is properly cooked. The department also published a helpful guide on proper cooking temperatures.
Avoid foods with higher risk of foodborne illness
Foods like soft cheeses (think bleu cheese and Brie) sushi and deli meat all carry an increased risk of listeria infection. The FDA warned that listeria is a harmful bacteria that can make you sick for several days so these foods should be avoided.
Eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet is essential to a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby. Parents provided a helpful guide to the components of a healthy pregnancy diet.
Speak with your doctor about your pregnancy diet
Your doctor or perinatal navigator is a great resource if you're wondering about what you should (or shouldn't) eat when you're pregnant. Don't hesitate to consult a professional if you have questions.