Foods To Eat And Avoid During Pregnancy

Eating healthy foods should always be a priority – but it is especially essential while growing a tiny human inside of you.

Some people consider pregnancy meals to be a free-for-all since you’re eating for two, but nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar reminds us that these people “forget to mention the risks involved in gaining too much or that this stubborn pregnancy weight will take forever to budge, long after the baby has come out.” Diwekar also states that lucky for us pregnant mamas, we crave healthier foods during pregnancy because we’re more intuitive.

A well-balanced diet of nutritious foods (yes, that means lots of vegetables) is going to help give your baby the vitamins, nutrients and minerals he or she needs. According to Dawn Jackson Blatner, F. D., L. D., a national media spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, pregnant women should do their best to eat unadulterated foods. This way, “you're getting 100 percent of the food's nutrition--nothing has been taken out and nothing is put in," says Dawn. There are plenty of nutritious, unadulterated foods out there, so we’ve made a list for you to narrow things down. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Eat Me:

  • Bananas – Not only are they rich in potassium, but they’re also great for an energy boost to fight off that pesky pregnancy fatigue.
  • Lean Meat – While we’re on the topic of fatigue, eating lean meat that is rich in iron will also help keep your energy up for the day.
  • Eggs – It’s common for a pregnant woman to develop an aversion to meat during pregnancy, so eggs are a great protein source for those times that the sight of a burger makes you feel ill.
  • Healthy fats – Nuts, nut butters, and avocados are critical for your baby’s brain development and your overall health.
  • Leafy Greens – You knew this was coming. Greens such as spinach and kale are dense in nutrients, calcium, and iron. If you’re not a huge fan – we suggest you “hide” the greens in something you do enjoy such as adding spinach to your smoothies or kale to your favorite savory soups – you’ll barely taste a thing!
  • Reduced Fat Milk – Bone density is key! Keep them strong by drinking milk, as your body is under much more strain than usual.
  • Oranges – Vitamin C, folate, and fiber make this fruit a pregnancy essential. Plus, they are 90% water, so it’ll help you reach your daily H20 intake goal!
  • Lentils – They help your baby’s brain and nervous system develop, and they soak up seasoning so you can have a tasty meal – it’s a win win!
  • Nutmeg – Nutritionists Kareena Kapoor and Rujuta Diwekar say, “it is very useful to have a bedtime routine of drinking a cup of milk with a bit of nutmeg (jaiphal). It helps calm your system and also aids your sleep.”

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Avoid Me:

  • Raw Meats or Fish – To all our sushi and carpaccio lovers – we’re sorry, but you’re going to have to sit these 9 months out for the sake of your baby. Eating raw meat and fish presents the risk of contaminating your food with salmonella or coliform.
  • Fish with high mercury levels – Certain fish such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and some canned tunas contain mercury which has been linked to developmental delays in babies.
  • Raw Shellfish – We’re sensing a theme here – raw is not a good option right now. Even if you order foods like oysters, clams, or mussels cooked, they could be served undercooked and still make you sick. It’s the most common form of seafood related illness. We recommend you avoid shellfish entirely, if you can.
  • Raw eggs – okay so maybe this doesn’t seem like a big sacrifice for you, but there are a handful of sauces and dressings made with raw egg that you should avoid during pregnancy such as homemade mayo, homemade caesar dressing, béarnaise, hollandaise, and probably anything else that ends with -aise. Also avoid soft-boiled eggs and poached eggs to be safe.
  • Unpasteurized milk & cheese – These can hold bacteria such as e. coli, listeria, or salmonella and be life-threatening to your unborn baby. Consume products that are made from pasteurized milk.
  • Caffeine – It is hard for your baby to metabolize caffeine, which can cause complications such as stunting the growth of the fetus, as well as low birth weight. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, which means calcium and water could pass through a pregnant mama before she even got their full nutritional value. We recommend no caffeine in the first trimester, and then a limited 200mg or less per day thereafter.
  • Unwashed Vegetables – Again, let’s avoid any possibility of contamination by rinsing all veggies before cooking and eating them.

Maybe you’ve read this far because you’re trying to get pregnant and are doing your research. First of all, you go girl! Second, it’s NEVER too early to adopt these healthy habits as a mom-to-be. Dietician Elizabeth M Ward, MS, RD says the earlier you start making these healthy shifts in your lifestyle the better, because “priming the body for pregnancy optimizes both a mom’s health and that of her child.”

There are two more tips we want to make sure we drive home. The first: DRINK YOUR WATER! It is recommended that you drink half your weight in fluid ounces of water. Add fruit, citrus, or mint if water isn’t your favorite. And second: consider banking your baby’s cord blood, tissue, and placenta with us. You’re putting 9 months of healthy choices, preparation, and love into growing your precious baby, and we believe you should enjoy the benefits of all that stem-cell rich blood and tissue that has developed during that time period. Call us today to speak to an expert about banking with us. 404.315.6500

THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical emergency or question, immediately call your doctor or dial 911 for assistance.

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Sources: Be Fit and Fine, Times of India, Healthline, Today’s Dietician, What To Expect, Parents,