Pregnancy and Your Diet

Pregnancy is an exciting time, filled with possibility as you witness your baby grow and develop inside of you. Naturally, you want a healthy, happy baby once the time comes to deliver. One of the best ways to keep your baby, and yourself, healthy is to maintain a pregnancy diet geared towards the needs of both your baby and yourself. There are some clear guidelines for what to eat when pregnant as well as foods to avoid while pregnant.

Eat Well

Eating well is one of the best things you can do for your baby. By eating well, we mean eating healthy, nutritious meals full of things that you and your baby need, like increased amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals including folic acid and iron, and more calories in general for energy. If your diet isn’t exactly the healthiest, there are some practical things you can do to improve your pregnancy diet.

What to eat when pregnant:

  • Fortified Breakfast Cereals
  • Veggies: Broccoli, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Kale
  • Beans & Lentils
  • Lean Meat
  • Fruits: Bananas, Oranges, Dried Fruit
  • Harder Cheeses: Cheddar, Mozzarella
  • Eggs
  • Whole Grain Bread

It’s also important to remember that eating better doesn’t necessarily mean eating more. Talk with your doctor about what your weight goals should be and how best to achieve those goals. Also, taking a prenatal supplement (make sure it has Folic Acid), some doctors recommend a Vitamin D supplement as well, ensures that you get all of the nutrients you and your baby need. Later in your pregnancy, you may need to take iron or calcium supplements. As always, consult with your doctor to determine the right pregnancy diet for you.

Foods to Avoid while Pregnant

Now, for the unpleasant part. For various reasons linked to your health and the health of your baby, there are certain foods to avoid while pregnant. This includes:

  • Soft cheeses: Queso Fresco, Feta, Blue, Brie, etc.
  • Undercooked Meat
  • Raw Eggs & Fish: sorry, that means homemade cookie dough & all sushi
  • Anything Unpasteurized: always look for Pasteurized Eggs
  • Fish containing Mercury: Swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, shark, etc.
  • Deli Meats
  • Unwashed Fruits & Veggies
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Raw Sprouts: including Alfalfa, Clover, and Radish
  • Smoked Seafood & Raw Shellfish
  • Excessive Caffeine: No more than 12-ounces of Coffee per day

Also, avoid any food that has been sitting out for over 2 hours – looking at you, potluck dinners. There are likely other foods that your doctor may want you to avoid, so be sure to get the full scoop from your healthcare provider before you eat anything you are unsure of. The subject of what to eat when pregnant can seem a bit daunting, there is quite a lot to do or not do, but it’s ultimately worth it to have a healthy child after all of that hard work and restraint.