Nutrition during Pregnancy: To Eat or Not To Eat

The single most important thing you can do for your baby is to have a healthy, well-balanced diet during your pregnancy. Understanding what foods to avoid and what foods are essential can help you make the healthiest choices for you and your baby.

Surprisingly, studies reveal that mothers only need to consume 300 more calories per day than they did before they became pregnant. In fact, during pregnancy the same principles of healthy eating remain the same. Proper nutrition guarantees that all proper nutrients such as vitamins, carbohydrates and protein are supplied to the body to maintain overall health and well-being. ┬áThis is why it is important for expecting mothers to consult their OB/GYN to develop a personalized pregnancy diet that will enhance your baby’s growth and development.

Healthy Goals for You and the Little One

Mothers-to-be must be aware that their daily consumption of foods will affect the baby’s health as well. Supplying your own body with nutritious foods can keep you feeling healthy during your pregnancy and even pave the way for an easier labor.

Here are some goals to keep in mind when trying to give your baby a healthy strong start in life:

Be sure to include daily servings of breads and grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy products and protein.
Use fats and sweets sparingly.
Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet. Your doctor might recommend certain prenatal vitamins.
Choose at least one source of vitamin C everyday. You can choose from certain fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and strawberries.
Choose at least one source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is usually found in carrots spinach or cantaloupe.
Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.

What You Should Avoid When Eating for Two

Mothers want what’s best for their little bundle of joy, so doctors recommend expectant mothers to avoid certain foods that may damage their child’s development.

Avoid seafood high in mercury. The bigger the fish, the more mercury it contains. Research suggests that seafood with high levels of mercury can hinder the development of your baby’s nervous system. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages mothers to avoid swordfish, shark and mackerel especially.
Avoid unpasteurized foods. Anything containing unpasteurized milk may lead to food-borne illnesses.
Avoid raw or undercooked foods. Raw foods such as oysters and clams can contain harmful bacteria or viruses.
Avoid undercooked meat and poultry. Fully cook all meats and poultry before eating to reduce the risk of bacterial food poisoning.

Pregnancy is the one time in your life when your eating habits directly affect another person. Making wise food choices, controlling your cravings and avoiding certain foods seem difficult, but it is possible. OB/GYN Doctors recommend that creating a healthy eating plan for you and your child is not only important for the child but important for the mother as well. No matter how many weeks or months you are into your pregnancy, it is never too late for mothers to practice healthy eating. Along with these tips, you and your doctor should discuss how to eat during pregnancy and which nutrients are especially important.

Samantha Gluck is a writer who specializes in various topics including pediatric healthcare, OB/GYN healthcare, business and much more.

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