Whether you’ve been through a long journey with infertility, have experienced recurrent pregnancy losses, or have overcome conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis, you’ve finally made it — you're pregnant! Now what?
One of the best and most basic ways to protect your pregnancy and ensure the proper development of your growing baby is to eat well. A pregnant woman and her unborn child have some specific nutritional needs, and our experienced team here at University Reproductive Associates can guide you through the process to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you both need. Here are some general guidelines.
The best pregnancy diet
While you’re pregnant, do your best to take in all the nutrients you need each day through the foods you eat. Supplements can help fill in some gaps, but it’s best to get them naturally. In general, aim for:
- 6-11 serving of breads and grains
- 2-4 servings of fruit
- 4+ servings of vegetables
- 4 servings of dairy products
- 3 servings of lean protein
Limit the number of sweets and fats you eat, but don’t stress about it. Your goal should be a well-rounded diet.
The key nutrients you need to pay attention to during pregnancy are:
- Folate: (.64 mg) found in dark, leafy greens; helps prevent spina bifida
- Iron: (27 mg) found in meat, beans, and spinach; wards off anemia
- Vitamin C: (85 mg) found in fruits and vegetables
- Calcium: (1000-1300 mg) found in milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Vitamin A: found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apricots
- Iodine: (220 micrograms) found in baked potatoes, cottage cheese, some fish
If you choose these foods daily, you’ll ensure you're getting enough of the most important nutrients for your baby’s brain development and overall health.
Don’t eat these foods when you’re pregnant
Eating the wrong foods can lead to low birth weight, premature delivery, and birth defects, so you’ll want to avoid them while you’re expecting. These include:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Fish that contains mercury (mackerel, swordfish, shark, tilefish, white snapper)
- Soft cheeses, like feta, brie, camembert, or blue-veined cheeses
- Raw fish, sushi, oysters, clams
Also, limit your caffeine and cholesterol intake to about 300 mg per day each.
Eating to feel better
All women experience pregnancy differently, but they most typically have some degree of nausea, cravings, and digestive issues during the journey. Here’s how food can help.
For diarrhea, try eating high fiber food and those that contain pectin, such as applesauce, rice, bananas, oatmeal, and wheat bread.
For morning sickness, reach for saltines or pretzels before you even get out of bed in the morning.
For heartburn, adjust your meal size and frequency (smaller meals at shorter intervals) and avoid fried and spicy foods.
For constipation, drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Everyone is unique, and as we get to know you, we learn about your special needs and goals for your pregnancy and your lifestyle. Nutrition is as individual as you are. If you have special dietary concerns like losing weight, staying vegetarian or vegan, requiring low or no gluten, or any other requirement, we can help you develop a healthy diet that can keep your health and your pregnancy in top shape.
For more information about how to eat right during pregnancy, call us at 201-288-6330 for an appointment at any of our three New Jersey locations or schedule a telemedicine consultation from the comfort of your own home.