Growing a little human for 9 months can really work up an appetite! Making sure you and your growing little one have the right nutrients throughout your pregnancy is so important, and that’s why it is imperative to know what you should and shouldn’t be eating while you are pregnant. And don’t worry, a pregnancy diet is not that restrictive, there are just a few things that you should avoid to keep you and your baby safe.
While a woman is pregnant, the blood in their body increases by almost 50%, according to Medical News Today. That means that without an adequate amount of iron in the body, she can’t make more hemoglobin (protein in the red blood cells) for all the additional blood. This is why eating iron- rich food during pregnancy is so important. These foods include dried beans, eggs, lean meat, cooked oysters, cooked salmon, dark green veggies and whole grains.
FRUITS & VEGGIES
Eating your fruits and veggies during pregnancy can provide ample amounts of nutrients like vitamins and minerals for both mom and baby. Leafy greens are especially beneficial to eat because they add folate to your diet, a B vitamin that works to prevent major birth defects.
Dairy products can provide extra protein and calcium to your diet! As long as you make sure that the dairy products you buy are pasteurized, you are in the clear. Unpasteurized products could carry harmful microorganisms that could cause a threat to your or your baby, according to the FDA.
RAW OR UNDERCOOKED MEAT & FISH
Eating meat and fish raw or undercooked could leave room for harmful bacteria and even parasites to enter your body, causing harm to you or your baby. Eating these foods can be a great source of protein, iron and zinc, but the way they are cooked is important. Make sure all meat and poultry is cooked well done, and make sure to not ingest any raw seafood like raw sushi or raw oysters.
When buying fish and seafood, make sure to steer clear of fish that are high in mercury! Too much mercury in a pregnant woman’s bloodstream could cause damage to the baby’s nervous system and developing brain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Healthline, an online health resource, recommends not eating king mackerel, shark, swordfish or tuna during pregnancy.
It is advised that pregnant women moderate their caffeine intake to 200 milligrams a day. “High caffeine intake during pregnancy has been shown to restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery,” according to Healthline. For those wondering, 200 milligrams of caffeine is equivalent to two cups of coffee, so this restriction may not be as hard as you think!
Pregnant women should avoid alcohol completely while pregnant. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, “research suggests that alcohol use during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, pre- term delivery and sudden infant death syndrome.” Drinking alcohol while pregnant could also lead to fetal alcohol syndrome.