By Rossana Rutledge, RD, LD
- Don't forget to drink water: the Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups of fluids daily. Beware of beverages that are high in sugar or so called "empty" calories. How much fluid you need to drink each day will depend on many factors, such as your activity level, the weather (hot), and your size. You will also need more fluids if you have a fever or are vomiting or have diarrhea.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fiber: during pregnancy you and your baby need a diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Making healthy food choices every day will help you reach this goal. Every day, choose a variety of:
- Vegetables and fruits, like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, red peppers, apples, melon and bananas.
- Eat plenty of whole grains like brown rice or whole oatmeal, fortified, cooked or ready-to-eat cereals;
- Choose dairy products that are nonfat or low-fat yogurt; nonfat or low-fat milk.
- Make sure you eat cooked beans and healthy meats like lean beef, lamb, and pork; shrimp, crab; cod, salmon, polluck, and catfish.
- ¼ cup of nuts and seeds a day.
4. Make sure you eat only healthy snacks:
- Low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fruit
- Baby carrots with hummus
- Rice cake with low fat cottage cheese
- Avoid “junk food” like snacks that are high in sugar and fat.
Safe to eat up to 12 ounces (about 2 servings) per week - cooked fish and shellfish:
- Canned albacore or chunk white tuna, which has more mercury than canned light tuna
- King mackerel
6. Take a prenatal vitamin with DHA: make sure your prenatal vitamins contained the suggested for pregnant women for:
- Iron: 27 mg
- Folic acid: 400 to 800 mcg
- Calcium: 1,000 mg; 1,300 mg if 18 or younger
- Vitamin A: 770 mcg; 750 mcg if 18 or younger
- Vitamin B12: 2.6 mcg
Do not eat:
- Smoked seafood like salmon, and mackerel. Avoid raw or uncooked fish like sushi.
- Hot dogs or deli meats unless steaming hot.
- Do not drink unpasteurized milk or juices.
- Avoid store-made salads, such as chicken, egg, or tuna salad.
- Avoid unpasteurized soft cheeses, such as unpasteurized feta, Brie, Roquefort, queso fresco, and blue cheeses.
- Aviod herbs and plants used as medicines without consulting your doctor. Some “natural remedies” can be harmful during pregnancy, such as noni juice, or unripe papaya.
- Avoid raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean)
- Always wash hands with soap after touching soil or raw meat.
- Keep raw meats, poultry, and seafood from touching other foods or surfaces.
- Clean, handle, cook, and chill food properly. Cook meat completely.
- Wash all produce before eating.
10.Don’t drink alcohol: most women are aware that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects; however, it is not commonly known that moderate or light drinking also may harm the fetus. In fact, according to the CDC “there is no known amount of alcohol that is safe to drink while pregnant. All drinks with alcohol can hurt an unborn baby. A 12-ounce can of beer has as much alcohol as a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1-ounce shot of liquor….” For more information visit