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8 Tips for Great Pregnancy Nutrition

Hungry pregnant african american woman eating fresh salad for lunch, sitting on sofa in living room and looking at herHappy black woman expecting baby, enjoying healthy food; blog: 8 Tips for Great Pregnancy Nutrition

Having a balanced diet is important to your overall health whether or not you are expecting a baby. However, when you are pregnant nutrition becomes even more important. After all, you are nourishing yourself and your baby. Your OB/GYN should go over basic pregnancy nutrition tips with you, but you can also use this list as a handy reference guide.

1. Don’t Skip Breakfast

If you feel sick to your stomach in the morning, try dry whole-wheat toast or whole-grain crackers when you first wake up. Eat them even before you get out of bed. Eat the rest of your breakfast (fruit, oatmeal, hot or cold cereal, or other foods) later in the morning

  • Try fortified ready-to-eat or cooked breakfast cereals with fruit. Fortified cereals have added nutrients, like calcium.

2. Eat Fiber-Rich Foods

Eating high-fiber foods, drinking water, and getting daily physical activity may help prevent constipation. Try to eat whole-grain cereals, brown rice, vegetables, fruits, and beans.

3. Snack Smart

Eat fewer foods high in sugar, including candy, cookies, cake, and dried fruit; and drink fewer beverages high in sugar, including juice, fruit-flavored drinks, or soft drinks. For snacks, choose foods low in sugar such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, and unsweetened yogurt.

4. Take Prenatal Vitamins & Doctor Recommended Supplements

Ask your OB/GYN about which prenatal vitamins and supplements they recommend. You need more of certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy including iron, calcium, and folic acid. 

Maternal iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency during pregnancy. Pregnant women need at least 27 milligrams of iron each day. Ask your doctor if you need to add an iron supplement to your routine during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, calcium is needed for the healthy development of a baby’s teeth, bones, heart, nerves, and muscles. It is important to consume adequate amounts of calcium daily before, during, and after pregnancy. The recommended amount of calcium during pregnancy is 1,000 milligrams per day for women aged 19 to 50. You can get this through eating calcium-rich foods or talking to your doctor about supplements.

Folic acid can reduce the risk of certain birth defects. it’s recommended you get 600 micrograms of folic acid each day throughout your pregnancy. If your prenatal vitamin doesn’t meet this goal, take an additional supplement of folic acid and eat foods high in folate and foods fortified with folic acids.

5. Pay Attention to the Fish You eat

Avoid fish and shellfish with high levels of mercury. Don’t eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. If you eat tuna, choose canned light tuna. Albacore (white) tuna has more mercury. Common fish that are low in mercury include shrimp, salmon, and catfish.

6. Check with Your Doctor about Certain Meats and Cheeses

Some foods may have bacteria that can hurt your baby. Ask your doctor about the most up-to-date advice for pregnancy nutrition when it comes to things like soft cheeses, uncooked sushi, and cold-cut lunch meats.

7. Avoid Alcohol and Limit Caffeine

Do not drink alcohol, such as wine, beer, or hard liquor.  Limit your caffeine intake to about 200 mg a day. Enjoy decaf coffee or tea, drinks not sweetened with sugar, or water with a dash of juice.

8. Eat Several Smaller Meals to Relieve Heartburn

Another important part of pregnancy nutrition is to make sure you can take in all the nutrients you need. Heartburn can get in the way of meeting your nutritional goals, but there are ways to treat and avoid reflux. Instead of large meals, have several smaller meals throughout the day. Try to eat slowly and avoid spicy and fatty foods (such as hot peppers or fried chicken). Have drinks between meals instead of with meals. Don’t lie down soon after eating.

Contact Green Valley OB/GYN

Green Valley OB/GYN has been providing the highest quality of obstetric and gynecological care for over 70 years, offering a comprehensive list of services, including obstetrics and pregnancy care. To set up an appointment or talk about pregnancy nutrition, call us at (336) 378-1110 to schedule an appointment.