Covering 5 Nutrition & Healthy Pregnancy Questions
I just learned I was pregnant; how much weight should I gain?
This depends on your pre-pregnancy weight. Due to recent research, recommendations have changed, limiting weight gain for normal-weight women to 20 or 25 pounds. Women who are below normal weight should shoot for 25 to 30 pounds, and overweight pregnant women should have a goal of between 10 and 15 pounds. Regardless of the extent of obesity, it is never recommended that women lose weight during pregnancy.
How do I make sure I don’t gain too much or too little weight?
This is challenging, especially since most women have never actually tried to gain weight before. A good rule of thumb is to shoot for an extra 300 calories each day. However, if you decrease your exercise during pregnancy, your extra intake might need to be lower. Avoid junk food and eat highly nutritious foods, just in slightly larger quantities than before pregnancy.
Are there specific foods I should limit intake of or avoid entirely?
Eat a variety of foods to prevent nutrient imbalances. Some rules to follow:
Seafood: Eat two servings of fish weekly to optimize omega-3 fatty acids, which might improve eye and brain development, but no more than two servings to minimize any potentially negative effects caused by mercury. All types of seafood are OK in pregnancy except shark, swordfish and golden bass. These large fish that eat other fish have mercury levels in a single serving that exceed the amount you should consume for the entire week. We think that mercury might have a negative effect on your baby’s brain.
Sushi: Eat nothing raw or uncooked. Vegetable sushi is fine.
Caffeine: Limit yourself to one to two servings a day. Caffeine has been associated with miscarriages, so this is especially true in the first trimester.
Deli meats: Heat to steaming before eating to avoid Listeria infection.
Soft cheeses: Buy pasteurized to cut risk of Listeria infection. Heating further reduces risk.
How much water should I drink?
Try for eight, 8-ounce glasses of water daily. You should let the color of your urine act as a guide. You should strive to have urine which is a pale yellow color. If your urine is too dark, add a glass of water.
Can I drink a glass or two of wine during pregnancy?
No. We know that alcohol at a certain level can be very dangerous to your baby and could lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. We certainly see this condition more commonly in babies born to moms who are alcoholics, but the maximum amount of alcohol necessary to cause this syndrome is unknown and probably varies from person to person. Don’t risk it with your baby. We also know that alcohol kills brain cells in adults, so it likely would do the same in your baby, who is having rapid neurological growth and brain development throughout the entire pregnancy. Another note about alcohol: While it’s recommended that you avoid alcohol even while you’re trying to get pregnant, don’t worry too much if you overindulged on that trip to Vegas before you knew you were pregnant. Commit to doing better for the rest of the pregnancy.
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