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What to know about eating during pregnancy

With a positive pregnancy test in hand, you may be wondering if you need to change your diet now that you’re meeting the nutrition needs of a tiny growing human.
The good news is healthy eating guidelines are mostly the same as what you’ve heard all your life. Eat plenty of veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat or fat-free dairies.
But there are some ways your diet could or should change. Sanford Health OB/GYN specialists Lacey Krebsbach, M.D., and Jordan Coauette, M.D., share how to load up your plate in a way that’s mindful of your health needs and your baby’s.
In pregnancy, food can be your worst enemy or your best friend.
Some people suffer from nausea and vomiting that prevents them from eating what and when they want. Others are beset with constant hunger. The smells and tastes of food can change. The times that you can and can’t eat may be different. All of this is normal.
No matter where you fall on this spectrum, try to eat the right foods in the right amounts. Quantity and quality matter.
So how much extra food should a person eat while pregnant? Most people don’t need to increase their calorie intake during the first trimester. In the second and third trimesters, they should only increase their calorie intake by 300 calories per day.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has released guidelines on how much weight people should gain during pregnancy. The amount of weight you should gain throughout your whole pregnancy is based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI).
Calculate your BMI.
Your BMI places you in one of four categories: underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. According to obstetricians, you should gain the following number of pounds during your pregnancy based on your BMI:
The best thing to add to your diet is a daily complete multivitamin with folic acid or a prenatal vitamin. Start taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant, if possible.
During pregnancy, your calorie intake should be divided between protein, carbohydrates and fats. You also need more iron, calcium, folic acid, zinc and vitamins A, B, E, C and D. Most of the vitamins and minerals can come from a well-rounded diet and a prenatal vitamin.
Increase your intake of:
There are risks to taking an excessive amount of some vitamins, and most herbal supplements are not recommended during pregnancy. Talk with your OB about everything you’re taking, including over-the-counter supplements.
People with special circumstances will need more specific dietary changes and supplements. This includes people who have diabetes, had gastric bypass surgery or previously had a baby born with spina bifida. If you fall in one of those categories, talk to your doctor as early as possible on your pregnancy journey.
You should also talk to your doctor about special dietary recommendations if you restrict your diet in any way. This includes vegetarians, vegans and those who fast for religious or cultural reasons for long periods of time.
You should avoid certain foods because of their risk of toxins, bacteria or parasites that can be harmful to you and your baby. This includes:
These foods are safe in moderation if they are cooked well:
You may have to decrease your intake of:
Here are the most common myths about eating during pregnancy out there:
Be very aware of clean food handling practices. Make sure you’re thoroughly washing all fruits and veggies, washing your hands frequently, avoiding contamination with uncooked meats and cleaning food prep areas.
If you have questions about healthy pregnancy eating, talk to your OB/GYN. Find a doctor and explore more pregnancy health resources.

Posted In Health Information, Pregnancy, Women’s

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