Imagine a diet where you’re encouraged to eat an additional 300 calories per day! You can have fresh fruit smoothies with yogurt every morning, and are advised to keep that protein coming in the form of lean meats, eggs, cheese, and plenty of fiber-rich legumes. A dish of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream might be just the thing to top off to your day’s calcium and protein intake. Sound pretty good? We’ve just described a hint at what a pregnancy diet can be like.
Finding out you’re having a baby is a life changing event, to say the least. For many women, the first big changes occur in terms of the foods and beverages they can and can’t put into their bodies. Here are examples of 3 Dos and Don’ts that will help you provide the safest environment for your tender new embryo to develop into a healthy happy baby:
3 Diet Dos When You’re Pregnant
DO increase your protein intake. Protein is very important for your baby’s development. Back in the 1970s and 80s, Dr. Isaac Cronin Brewer saw the very distinct correlation between a well-nourished mother and a healthy pregnancy, labor, and baby. As a result, he compiled a significant amount of data showing that a higher intake of healthy proteins, in combination with adequate nutrition and hydration, resulted in a greater number of full-term births of healthy babies. You can consult the Brewer Diet website for more information and recommendations for your daily nutritional intake.
DO try to get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from healthy foods. Prenatal vitamins are wonderful, but our bodies absorb nutrients best when they come directly from healthy food sources. Here are examples of foods that deliver the nutrients you need.
- Calcium – Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Broccoli, Kale, Almonds, Tahini paste, Ice Cream (Hooray! But opt for natural ice creams made without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavorings).
- Vitamin C – Oranges, Strawberries, Grapefruits, Papaya, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Mustard Greens, Tomatoes, Collard Greens
- Folic Acid – Dark Green Leafy Vegetables, Legumes, Veal
- Vitamin A – Orange Vegetables like Carrots, Yams and Butternut Squash, Turnip and Beet Greens, Spinach, Apricots, Cantaloupe
DO try to get the majority of your hydration from water. Hydration is important for everyone, but especially pregnant women growing babies in amniotic fluid. Try to drink at least 12 glasses of water per day. Drinking water aids with circulation, improves edema (swollen hands and feet), and can reduce headaches and nausea. It also assists digestion, which can alleviate constipation, and water decreases your chances of developing hemorrhoids or bladder infections. It also carries vital nutrients to your baby and ensures amniotic fluid is properly replenished throughout the day.
3 Pregnancy Diet Don’ts
DON’T eat fish that aren’t on the “Safe List”. Unfortunately, the terrible pollution in our oceans is contributing to mercury and other metal toxicity in fish. These toxins can negatively contribute to your baby’s brain development. That being said, fish is an excellent source of healthy protein and Omega-3s, so stick to two 6 oz. servings of fish per week that have the lowest levels of mercury. You can consult the lists provided on americanpregnancy.org.
DON’T eat undercooked poultry, meat or eggs. When you’re pregnant, your baby is vulnerable to bacteria that your body might not have a problem with otherwise, examples include listeria and salmonella. The best way to avoid ingesting these bacteria is to make sure your meat, poultry, and eggs are thoroughly cooked. That includes steaming deli meats or hot dogs to at least 160 degrees F.
DON’T eat unpasteurized cheese. While cheeses are a great source of protein and calcium, un-pasteurized chesses can be a source of bacteria, leading to foodborne illnesses that can harm your baby. In order to be safe, stay away from any cheese that hasn’t been pasteurized. Pasteurized cheeses will always be labeled. Examples of unpasteurized cheeses include:
- Blue Cheese
- Many of the soft Mexican cheeses, such as Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco
Sticking to a safe and healthy pregnancy diet will help you and your baby to remain as healthy as possible. Contact Overlake OBGYN to learn more about the diet and lifestyle changes recommended for pregnant mothers.