If you eat well (and right) during pregnancy, you can greatly contribute to your baby’s health. Remember that pregnancy is not the best time to eat less calories. Your daily caloric intake should be 300 calories higher than your normal (non-pregnant) needs. So learn what you should eat when you are pregnant and make the most of the foods recommended by health care professionals.
First and foremost, future mothers should eat a well-balanced diet and faithfully take prenatal vitamins. Yes, eating during pregnancy can be complicated. But although nausea and vomiting during the first trimester can make it difficult for you to eat healthy, you should always keep trying to eat foods that help your baby grow and develop.
So what to eat when you are pregnant? Is it ok to eat fish during pregnancy? What about coffee or a glass of wine? Is eating cold cuts during pregnancy that bad? If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’re welcome to read today’s material on the eating-while-pregnant topic. All the recommendations given in these series of posts have been reviewed by a healthcare professional.
What to eat when you are pregnant: general recommendations
- eat various healthy foods to get all the vitamins you need: breads and grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy products and foods rich in protein (fish, eggs, meat, poultry, nuts)
- eat foods high in fiber: cereals, rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables
- make sure you take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy – the ones your medical doctor prescribes
- eat a minimum of 3 servings of iron-rich foods per day: you should get 27 mg of iron on a daily basis
- make sure you get enough of vitamin C (70 mg per day for pregnant women): eat oranges, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, papaya or grapefruits every day
- make the most of at least 1 source of vitamin A every day. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, spinach, beet greens, apricots, sweet potatoes, turnip greens etc.
- eat and drink a minimum of 4 servings of dairy products and foods rich in calcium a day: pregnant women should get 1000-1300 mg of calcium daily
What to eat when you are pregnant and sick
- if you have morning sickness, it’s better to start your day with cereal, crackers, or pretzels; avoid fried and greasy foods
- if you have diarrhea, choose foods that help absorb excess water: bananas, oatmeal, white rice, and refined wheat bread
- if you are constipated, make sure you drink up to 8 glasses of water a day; try to eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables
- if you have heartburn during pregnancy, have a glass of milk before each meal; avoid spicy foods and foods containing caffeine; make sure you eat small portions throughout the day
Foods to avoid when you are pregnant
Cut down on fat when you are pregnant. Avoid eating more than 30% of fat of your daily caloric intake. For example, if you eat 2000 calories a day, you only need 65 grams of fat or even less per day. Avoid foods with cholesterol. Eliminate raw fish, especially shellfish like clams and oysters. If you want to know if you can eat fish when pregnant, read the expert’s advice in one of our previous posts.
More foods you should not eat while pregnant:
- soft cheeses like Brie, blue-veined, feta, Brie etc.
- saccharin: there’s a risk of it crossing the placenta and remaining in fetal tissues
- alcohol: it can cause preterm delivery, mental retardation and various birth defects
- read our other posts if you want to know how much coffee you can drink when pregnant
Avoid cold cuts when pregnant. Cut down on deli meats, unpasteurized dairy products and juices along with cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. Listeria monocytogenes, bacteria found in these foods, can cause listeriosis. 1 in 5 cases of this disease is fatal. Listeriosis can cause preterm delivery, miscarriage or a stillbirth. Craving a deli sandwich, bacon or a hot dog? Instead of eating them raw, just heat them until they’re steaming hot and then they’re safe for you and your baby.