Feature image

Diet and Pregnancy

Eating a healthy diet is an important life goal because what you eat fuels your body to think, work and play. Now that you are growing a baby it is even more important to be intentional about what you eat and what you refrain from eating.

Basically it is all about a well balanced diet that has foods rich in nutrition rather than empty calories. For the most part, this means foods found on the outer walls of your grocery store. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, lentils and reduced fat milk are the foundation of a good diet during your pregnancy.

There are a few foods you will want to stay away from like raw meat, shellfish (oysters, clams, shrimp or mussels), unwashed vegetables, and unpasteurized dairy as they can harbor harmful bacteria. Properly cooked fish is a great source of protein and Omega 3. It should be a part of your regular diet but it is best to stay away from those that are high in mercury such as King mackerel, Marlin, Orange Roughy, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi), Bluefish and grouper. It is also good to refrain from caffeine during the first trimester and then limit your caffeine to 200mg or less per day during the rest of your pregnancy.

Many women choose to meet with a nutritionist during their pregnancy to individualize their diet. This is something that your physician, midwife or nurse practitioner can schedule for you. Caloric intake is dependent on your pre-pregnancy weight and should be discussed with your provider to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or a large baby which might make vaginal birth difficult.

One last basic recommendation is to make sure you are getting enough water every day. The Institute of Medicine recommends that you get 10 8-oz portions of liquid each day with most of that liquid in the form of water. Often women will begin drinking juice during pregnancy believing that they are getting their fruit portions in, however juices are very high in sugar and calories. Fresh fruit is a far better choice.

Dr. Cheryl Sharp, Chief Content Officer
Cheryl is a midwife and women's health nurse practitioner who has been caring for women, newborns, and families more than 30 years. She views the opportunity to journey with women through their pregnancy and beyond as a sacred privilege.