Nutrition in Pregnancy
Good nutrition is one of the single most important things you can do for your baby and the basics of nutrition in pregnancy are fairly common sense. During your pregnancy you should eat a variety of foods, and you must eat enough of them to support the growth of the baby and the additional work your body is doing.
The amount of weight you should gain is dependent on several factors including your starting weight, other health issues and the number of babies you are carrying. If you began pregnancy at a normal weight, you should gain 25–35 pounds over the nine months. Adding about 300 extra calories a day to your diet will help you reach this goal. (One extra healthy snack, such as four fig bars and a glass of skim milk, or a half a bagel with cream cheese will provide these calories.) Most women gain four to six pounds in the first trimester, and then average a pound a week in the second and third trimesters.
If you began pregnancy underweight, you should probably gain a little more. That's because underweight women are more likely to have small babies. A 30- to 40-pound gain is usually recommended. Try to gain slightly over a pound a week in the second and third trimesters.
If you began pregnancy overweight, you should gain only 10-15 pounds. This means you should put on one pound every two weeks in the second and third trimesters. While you don't want to gain too much weight, you should never try to lose weight during pregnancy because that could harm your baby.
If you have multiple gestations, your weight gain requirements will of course increase. An average rule of thumb is you should gain an additional 10 pounds for each additional baby you are carrying, so for twins, you should gain 35-45 pounds, Triplets should gain 55 pounds, and quads should gain 65 pounds!
Foods To Avoid
During pregnancy, there are some foods that can be harmful to you or your baby and we recommend you to avoid. These include:
- Raw fish, meat, poultry or pork - These foods may contain certain bacteria or parasitic organisms such as toxoplasmosis, listeria, or salmonella that are harmful in pregnancy. All meats should be cooked thoroughly before consumption.
- Unpastuerized milk, or soft cheeses - These may contain the bacteria listeria that has been associated with miscarriage and late trimester stillbirth.
- High Mercury Fish - Fish such as Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel and Tilefish all are listed by the EPA as containing high levels of methyl-mercury which is a known neuro-toxin. While all fish contain some levels of mercury, only these fish should be avoided because of their excessively high levels. Fish consumption in pregnancy is otherwise encouraged, as long as it is in moderation. For more information on fish consumption during pregnancy, please visit the Environmental Protection Agency and their resources.
- Raw vegetable sprouts - This includes alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean. Pregnant women are more susceptible to the health effects of the germs sprouts possess.
- Prepared meats - This includes foods such as deli meats, pate, hot dogs, as well as smoked meats or fish and even hummus. All of these have been linked to listeria, a rare but severe infection associated with miscarriage and stillbirth in pregnancy. To minimize this risk, all of these foods should be heated to the point of steaming to kill the listeria bacteria.
For more information, please contact your provider and they will be happy to assist you.