Tips for Healthier Eating During Your Pregnancy
Is it just about eating healthy? It’s just about eating fruits, veggies and healthy drink and is that simple. Well, it is anything but easy. Read our blog. Have more queries? Call us. We serve patients from Evergreen Park IL, Mokena IL, Oak Lawn IL, Chicago Ridge IL, Hickory Hills IL, Bridgeview IL and Bedford Park IL.
Eating for a healthier pregnancy sounds simple. Eat more fruits and veggies, drink lots of water, and no more sneaking Twinkies out of your kids’ lunches. Easy.
But if you ask any woman who has ever been pregnant, they’ll tell you eating healthier during pregnancy is anything but easy.
Dr. Nicole Orwar encourages you to reach out if you have any questions.
You’re in luck, though. We recently shared expertise from Dr. Kathleen Slugocki, and in our last blog, we gave you 12 tips for healthier during the holidays.
Now, we’re sitting down with Dr. Nicole Orwar. In addition to being a board-certified obstetrician, gynecologist, and proud dog owner, Dr. Orwar knows her stuff when it comes to helping moms-to-be find their food groove.
Take a deep breath
“Too many women think they need to go to extremes,” Dr. Orwar says. “But you can eat a slice of cake at a holiday party, or have a small treat every now and then.”
The key, she says, is moderation … and communicating with your doctor and midwife.
“Basically, the same things that are healthy for all humans are healthy for mom and baby,” she says. “All the standards – fruits, vegetables, whole grains – and continuing whatever exercise you were already doing prior to becoming pregnant.”
Dr. Orwar has her finger on the pulse of women’s health issues and trends, and along with our friends at Live Science and the American Pregnancy Association, we’ve put together some good (protein), some semi-bad (caffeine), and some ugly (alcohol) food items to focus on during your pregnancy.
Aim for these nutrients
Why: It helps build important organs for the baby, such as the brain and heart.
Where: Meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, eggs, nuts, tofu.
Why: It’s a B vitamin that is crucial in helping to prevent birth defects in the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Where: Leafy green vegetables, fortified or enriched cereals, breads and pastas, beans, citrus fruits.
Why: Pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron a day, which is double the amount needed by women who are not expecting. Additional amounts of the mineral are needed to make more blood to supply the baby with oxygen.
WHERE: Meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, iron-fortified cereal.
Why: It is used to build a baby’s bones and teeth.
Where: Milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juices and foods, sardines or salmon with bones, some leafy greens (kale, bok choy).
Eat more of these
Fruits and vegetables
This should surprise no one. Eat more fruits and vegetables, particularly during the second and third trimesters.
Do this at every meal, if possible. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, milk, nuts, and seeds.
These foods are an important source of energy. So make sure you’re including oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta or bread, and brown rice on your shopping list.
Try to get 3 to 4 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese a day.
Limit these things
Addicted to Starbucks? Don’t worry, you can keep your comfy spot in the drive-through line. But you’re going to need to trim your daily consumption to one 12-ounce (“tall”) cup of coffee per day.
Fish is a good source of lean protein, and it’s safe for pregnant women to eat 8 to 12 ounces of cooked fish and seafood a week. However, you should limit albacore or “white” tuna, which has high levels of mercury, to no more than 6 ounces a week.
Avoid these items
While there are opposing views on this, we’re advising to avoid alcohol, which can pass directly to the baby through the umbilical cord. Heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy has been linked with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and physical and behavioral difficulties.
Fish with high levels of mercury
Avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy and tilefish, which are high in levels of methylmercury.
Pregnant women are at high risk for getting sick from listeriosis, a type of food poisoning. To avoid listeriosis, don’t consume unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods made from it, such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, queso blanco, and queso fresco. We recommend you also steer clear of hot dogs, lunch meat, and cold cuts.
Yes, sadly this list includes sushi, clams, mussels, and oysters.
If possible, encourage your partner to be a part of this eating plan – that can make it fun and more manageable.
Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your doctor or midwife.
And as for those Twinkies … hide them in the pantry until after your pregnancy, we’ve heard they have amazing shelf lives.