Pregnancy is a wonderful, exciting, and slightly stressful time for families, especially mothers. It can be overwhelming at times because there are just so many questions and a lot of information out there – what a mother should do, wear, eat, etc.
Pregnancy nutrition raises a ton of questions itself. What foods are good for mom and baby and which ones should stay off your shopping list?
Let’s take a look at which foods should make it into your basket and which foods are not recommended for you or your baby.
Pregnancy Foods to Eat
An expecting mother needs a well-balanced diet for both her and her baby. There are a few types of foods you should have lots of if you want the best diet.
Protein-rich foods: Protein is great for both you and your baby. Lean sources of protein that are good for you include fish rich in omega-3 fatty oils, chicken, tofu, turkey, beans and lentils, low and nonfat (pasteurized) dairy, pork tenderloin or loin chops, and eggs.
Fresh produce: Fruits and veggies contain a lot of the nutrients your body needs during pregnancy, particularly vitamins and fiber. You should wash all produce before eating it, as well. A few examples of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies are: leafy green veggies, squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, bananas, broccoli, asparagus, peas, and any of your favorite fruits. Each of these will provide big benefits for baby.
Pregnancy Foods to Avoid
Here are food types you should either limit or cut out altogether.
Alcohol: Some studies suggest that a very moderate amount of alcohol – say, a glass of wine once or twice a week – may not be harmful. But then again, we don’t really know how much alcohol is needed to cause something like fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). It’s best to cut out alcohol altogether.
Smoked/cured meats: Bacon and sausage and other smoked/cured meats have nitrates in them that can lead to health problems. You should seriously limit how much of these you eat (that goes for hot dogs, too).
Non-pasteurized juices and dairy: If dairy or juice products you’re considering have not been pasteurized, you should avoid them.
Sushi and raw foods: The general rule is this: any meat-related food you eat should be completely cooked before you can eat it. This includes sushi, eggs, hamburgers, steaks, etc. You don’t want harmful bacteria and parasites to enter your body.
Fish/seafood: We know we said you can eat fish earlier, and that’s true, but most fish contains mercury, which can lead to birth defects. Fish with higher amounts of mercury, like tilefish, swordfish, and shark – are off limits. Even other types of fish should be limited. Stick to no more than 12 ounces of fish per week. Light tuna, salmon, catfish, and shrimp are all good sources that usually have a lower amount of mercury.
For more guidance, talk to your nutritionist and your OB/GYN. You want to make sure your diet is nice and healthy for a safer pregnancy – and a healthier baby boy or girl!