Healthy Eating Tips for Pregnant Women

Women who eat healthy while pregnant not only help to ensure their baby gets all the nutrients the baby needs for development and health, they also run less risk for gaining too much weight during their pregnancy. The key tips are as follows:

Always eat breakfast if possible:

Sometimes this is difficult for pregnant women who are experiencing morning sickness. If this is the case, start with something bland like saltine crackers or dry toast, preferably whole grain. If you’re unable to eat at first, try again later in the morning. Cereals that are fortified with added nutrients are also a good option for breakfast.

Select healthy snacks:

Low-fat or fat-free yogurts, with or without fruit, or cheese with whole-grain crackers is one option. Fruits, raw vegetables and nuts are also good snack foods. Pregnant women need 70 mg everyday of vitamin C. Foods that are high in vitamin C are green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew melon and papaya. Cantaloupe, carrots and apricots are good sources of vitamin A which is also necessary.

Choose foods high in fiber:

Some pregnant women can have a problem with constipation. Foods that have higher fiber content can help prevent this. A few suggestions are fruits and vegetables such as bananas, pears, green peas and spinach. Also, black beans, kidney beans and whole grain foods like brown rice and oatmeal. Drinking lots of water is very helpful too.

Drink lots of water:

Just about everyone know that drinking lots of water is good for you for various reasons. One reason in particular, especially for pregnant women and their babies is that it expands blood volume that carries oxygen and nutrients to both mother and child. Drinks such as alcohol and soda should be avoided completely. For coffee and tea, the decaffeinated options are recommended. Although caffeine is not believed to cause birth defects, it is possible that there is some correlation between caffeine and miscarriages, low birth weight and growth retardation. Caffeine is also a diuretic which carries water out of the body which rather defeats the purpose of trying to drink lots of water.

Eat variety and well-balanced proportions:

In order to ensure mother and baby are getting all the nutrients they both need, eat recommended portions of meat, poultry, eggs and nuts in addition to the grains, fruits and vegetables. For example, four servings of food or drink high in calcium are needed daily to meet the 1000-1300 mg of calcium recommended during pregnancy. Calcium not only builds bones and makes them stronger, but can prevent high blood pressure due to being pregnant and is crucial for regular functioning of the nerves and muscles.

Eat seafood, but limit fish:

While a variety of seafood is recommended 2-3 times a week, all fish contains mercury which can cause nervous system damage. Pregnant women should avoid those that are highest in mercury, such as swordfish, shark and mackerel. Fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, salmon and sardines. Fish should be limited to no more than 12 ounces a week. With this said however, the omega 3 fats in fish are very good for the brain and vision development in babies. For women who don’t like fish, you can take a DHA supplement. You’ll need to make sure that it’s this same kind of omega 3 since there are other omega 3’s such as ALA in walnuts which are beneficial too, but in different ways. Another thing to avoid related to fish is undercooked fish or uncooked fish, namely sushi, since they can have bacteria that can be harmful to babies.

Beware of soft cheeses, lunch meats and hot dogs:

Some foods such as soft cheeses (feta, goat and Brie) and meats can have more bacteria in them that wouldn’t hurt a pregnant woman necessarily, but could hurt a developing baby. Listeria is the bacteria that could make an adult feel as though they have a mild flu, however for a baby it can cause miscarriage, premature birth and even death. If you eat lunch meats and even hot dogs too, they should be thoroughly heated until steaming.

No dieting while pregnant:

When pregnant, women should not engage in any kind of diet. The diet of a pregnant woman needs to be balanced and complete with all the required nutrients and the right proportions, as much as possible anyway, to provide a baby with what it needs to develop and grow normally.

Take a prenatal vitamin that contains iron and folic acid:

Get your doctors recommendation for the best prenatal vitamin right for you. Prenatal vitamins are important because they’re specifically geared towards making sure that the mother and baby get all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need on a daily basis.

Follow your doctor’s advice for diet:

While all of the above tips might be well and good for a normal pregnancy, any extenuating circumstances could call for a change in diet. For instance, a pregnant woman who tests for gestational diabetes or is on the verge of it will have to be more strict about what she should and shouldn’t eat. She may need to severely limit her sugar intake even eliminating something like juice which is usually considered healthy by most people, but is actually high in sugar.