Monday, August 15, 2011

Healthy Nutrition Tips for Pregnant Women
 By Rossana Rutledge, RD, LD

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
3. Eat your breakfast: try to eat three main meals & two snacks every day. Most important of all, is to make sure you eat breakfast daily. Your body has been fasting while you were sleeping. You need to break the fast with a healthy breakfast. Try fortified ready-to-eat or cooked breakfast cereals with fruit. If you have morning sickness, start with whole wheat toast. Eat more food later in the morning.
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.
5. Eat up to 12 ounces a week of fish: be aware of mercury levels in fish.
Safe to eat up to 12 ounces (about 2 servings) per week - cooked fish and shellfish:
  • Shrimp
  • Crab
  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Salmon
  • Pollock
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Tilapia
Safe in moderation (eat up to 6 ounces or about 1 serving per week):
  • Canned albacore or chunk white tuna, which has more mercury than canned light tuna
Do not eat these fish that are high in mercury:
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • King mackerel
  • Shark
* Don’t eat uncooked fish or shellfish including refrigerated uncooked seafood labeled nova-style, lox, kippered, smoked, or jerky.
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
7. Food safety: most foods are safe for pregnant women and their babies. But you will need to use caution with certain foods.
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)
To avoid food borne illness:
  • 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.
8. Limit caffeine: moderate amounts of caffeine, that is less than 200 mg per day, appear to be safe during pregnancy. Make sure you read the nutrition label to learn how much caffeine a product has. Make sure you ask your doctor whether drinking a limited amount of caffeine is okay for you. Drink water or seltzer instead of caffeinated soda. Avoid herbal teas during pregnancy. 9. Weight gain during pregnancy: weight gain recommendations during pregnancy vary according to your pre-pregnancy BMI (based on your pre-pregnancy weight) and the number of babies you are carrying.  For example; if you are in the Normal BMI range, it is advisable that you gain 2 to 5 pounds (~1-2 kg) in the first trimester and about 1 pound per week for the rest of your pregnancy. If you are pregnant with two or more babies, these recommendations do not apply to you.
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 

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