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How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy

July 11, 2022

During pregnancy, you need more of certain nutrients. So, it would be best to make smart food choices to ensure you get enough of these nutrients, including protein, iron, folic acid, calcium, and iodine.  

Are you trying to eat healthily? The following tips may help you:

Follow a healthy eating pattern

Create an eating pattern that includes healthy and nutritious food options. Thes food options include various vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

Cut down on foods and drinks with added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium (salt). Also, avoid processed and refined foods like white bread, cookies, and snack foods.

Make healthy snack choices. You can snack on whole-grain crackers, fruits, and veggies like berries, carrots, apple, celery, avocado, and tomatoes. When you want to eat cheese or yogurt, go for options that are low-fat or fat-free with no added sugar.

Eat more seafood, about 8 to 12 ounces per week. These foods have healthy fats that are beneficial to you and your baby. Healthy choices include catfish, trout, shrimp, oysters, salmon, tilapia, shad, cod, canned light tuna, and herring. 

However, avoid certain seafood that contains high amounts of mercury like king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, marlin, big-eye tuna, orange roughy, and shark.

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Avoid drinks with caffeine and added sugars

The best drink option remains water. However, if you must drink coffee or tea, choose decaf. Also, go for options that are unsweetened and sugar-free. Avoid drinks with added sugars, including soda, energy or sports drinks, and fruit drinks.

Eat the right amount of calories for you

You might have heard "eat for two" while pregnant, but that doesn't mean you need to eat twice as much food.

Most women do not usually need extra calories in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During the second trimester, between the 13th and 26th week, most women need about 340 extra calories per day.  This increases to about 450 calories in the third trimester.

Calorie requirements vary from pregnant woman to woman, so ask your doctor or healthcare provider how many calories you need.

Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, iron, and iodine daily.

Taking prenatal vitamins is essential to your health and your growing baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all pregnant women take at least 600mcg of folic acid daily.

Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. Neural tube defects affect the development of the brain and spine. It may also prevent congenital heart defects, cleft lip, and cleft palate.

Taking iron helps produce more blood and prevents anemia. The extra blood is needed to make oxygen available to your baby. During pregnancy, the body's iron requirement is 1000 mg.

Pregnant women are to take 250mcg of iodine daily. Early in pregnancy, the need for iodine increases because of increased thyroid hormone production in the mother, increased loss of iodine via the kidneys, and transfer of iodine to the fetus.

Do not take any prenatal vitamins you see. Talk with your local physician about a prenatal vitamin that’s right for you.

Stay away from certain foods

Avoid certain foods because they contain bacteria that can harm your baby. These include:

  • Raw or rare meats, poultry, eggs, or seafood (sushi and raw oysters)
  • Raw sprouts like radish, alfalfa, mung bean sprouts, and clover
  • Unpasteurized milk, cheeses, and juices

Avoid alcohol

Don't drink alcohol. No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. It can affect your baby's growth and development.

Pregnant? We're here to help you

A visit to us helps you get your prenatal care started while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. Your virtual physician can help to electronically order prenatal care labs and/or send an order to the nearest radiology facility for you to get an ultrasound.

At My Virtual Physician, we are available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise. We are in network with many insurance health plans, including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross. 

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