What to Eat and Not to Eat During Pregnancy?

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[Disclosure: This post may contain some affiliate links.  Meaning: If you would decide to make a purchase through those links, we would get a commission (at no costs to you)]

If you are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant, you’ve probably wondered about what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy.  Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy means you’ll get all the nutrients you and your developing baby need. The basic principles of eating a healthy diet during pregnancy remain the same: get plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. Today’s variety of food and beverages is so huge that in order to make it easier for you to remember we’ve combined together what is believed to be the 5 of the most essential nutrients to eat and 5 foods to avoid during pregnancy:

5 Essential nutrients to eat when pregnant

1. Folate / folic acid – Prevent birth defects  Folic acid supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk of preterm delivery, it is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. Great sources of folic acid to add in your pregnancy diet are:

– Fortified cereals- Leafy green vegetables

– Citrus fruits

– Dried beans

– Peas

2. Calcium – Strengthen bones  You and your baby need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run normally. Here are good sources of calcium to add in your pregnancy diet:

– Dairy products

– Broccoli

– Kale

– Calcium-fortified fruit juices & breakfast cereals

3. Vitamin D – Promote bone strength  Vitamin D also helps build your baby’s bones and teeth. Good sources are:

– Fatty fish (such as salmon)

– Fortified milk

– Orange juice

4. Protein & Iron – Promote growth and Prevent anemia  Protein is crucial for your baby’s growth, especially during the second and third trimesters. Iron is used to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues. During pregnancy your blood volume expands to accommodate changes in your body and help your baby make his or her entire blood supply — doubling your need for iron. Here are great sources of protein and iron:

– Lean meat- Poultry

– Fish

– Egg

– Tofu

– Peanut butter

– Dried beans

– Dairy products

5. Supplements  Even if you eat a healthy diet during pregnancy, you can miss out on key nutrients. Taking a daily prenatal vitamin, ideally starting three months before conception, can help fill any gaps. If you’re considering taking an herbal supplement in your pregnancy diet, consult your health care provider first.

5 things not to eat during pregnancy

While eating a healthy diet during pregnancy, there are also some foods/drinks to avoid in your pregnancy diet.  To avoid infection, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), it is best to avoid the following foods:

  1. Avoid raw or unpasteurized dairy: Raw or unpasteurized dairy can contain harmful bacteria. Avoid soft cheeses such as queso fresco, Brie, Camembert, feta, goat cheese, or Roquefort if they are raw or unpasteurized. Just say no to other unpasteurized or raw products, like milk or juice as well.
  2. Cook your eggs, meat, poultry until it’s well-done.

It is also generally recommended to avoid

  1. Raw fish or seafood (like sushi)
  2. Lunch meats and hot dogs, unless they are heated until steaming hot
  3. Alcohol

A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, but is especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. So eating a healthy diet during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow better!

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