We know you've got a lot on your mind and numerous questions with so many changes during your pregnancy. You can lean on our registered dietitians to help you work on a healthy pregnancy diet.
What nutrients are vital during pregnancy?First, your provider will prescribe prenatal vitamins, which you can also purchase over the counter. These vitamins are essential to take before pregnancy so your baby can benefit from the beginning. They contain key nutrients, such as:
Calcium - Your body takes calcium from you and passes it on to your little one. So, you'll need to get extra calcium during pregnancy. Of course, look for calcium sources in your food, too.
Folic acid - Helps prevent serious problems with your baby's brain and spine. It's most important to take folic acid at least one month before you get pregnant and through the first three months of pregnancy.Iron - Iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy can make you feel weak and tired.
How much and what should I eat during pregnancy?
Your provider and our registered dietitians will help you create meal plans based on a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. General nutrition guidelines during pregnancy include:
- Striving for 10 cups of fluids/beverages.
- Getting plenty of lean protein; this can include vegetarian options such as nuts, legumes and tofu.
- Incorporating whole grains, fruits and vegetables into all meals for a natural supply of fiber.
Good nutrition helps you handle the extra demands on your body as your pregnancy progresses. While the adage "eating for two" may sound appealing, it's not the healthiest approach.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if you are pregnant with one baby, you need an extra 340 calories per day starting in the second trimester and a bit more in the third trimester. That's about the calorie count of a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich.
What if I'm diagnosed with gestational diabetes?
With the gestational diabetes, your body's cells use insulin less effectively. As a result, blood sugar builds up.
Gestational diabetes can increase your risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy. Your baby may also be very large - 9 pounds or more, making delivery more challenging.
If you're diagnosed with gestational diabetes, our registered dietitians will work with you to modify your diet during your pregnancy to help control blood sugar levels.
What should I avoid eating while pregnant?
While we will be sure you are confident about what a healthy diet during pregnancy consists of, we'll also discuss what not to eat or drink.
Of course, no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Also, while you may adore your morning cup of coffee, we recommend no more than 200 mg per day of caffeine, about one 12-oz. cup of coffee, unless your doctor says otherwise.
Food safety is essential during pregnancy, especially because food that carries E. coli, listeria or salmonella can be dangerous to both mother and baby. You will need to avoid:
- Unpasteurized milk
- Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk
- Unpasteurized cider or fruit juice
- Raw fish, including sushi
- Raw or undercooked eggs
Please reheat lunch meat and hotdogs before eating, and cook all fish, poultry, and meat to the recommended safe internal temperature.
Other ways our registered dietitians can help you
You may experience "morning sickness" that lasts all day. Eating healthy may seem impossible when you can't hold food down or find that only certain foods appeal to you. Please rely on our expertise to help you manage nausea. However, we are here to work with you and your provider should you need help with nutrition during pregnancy.
After your baby is born, we encourage you to continue your healthy diet to help you heal. We will also discuss the best choices for you and your baby if you're breastfeeding.