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Pregnancy 101 | All To Know About Your New Diet

Yes, this is an exciting time with a lot of changes! Diet change is one of them. More specifically, you will have to learn to cut out and intake certain foods.

Congratulations! You’re pregnant (or your spouse is)!

As exciting as it is, pregnancy comes with a multitude of changes, and one of the most important is your diet. Just as a tiny seed needs specific nutrients to grow into a mighty sunflower, your developing baby relies on the nourishment you provide. So, why exactly does your diet need to change, and what should you be reaching for on your grocery list?

The First Trimester

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First and foremost, the focus shifts from simply fueling your own body to nurturing two at once. While your overall calorie needs may not change dramatically in the first trimester, the quality of those calories becomes paramount. To clarify, you should  prioritize nutrient-rich foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein, all essential building blocks for your baby’s development.

The Second Trimester

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As your pregnancy progresses, so do your calorie needs. The second trimester typically sees a bump of around 300 extra calories per day. Obviously, don’t indulge in double cheeseburgers. Try and add in healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, or whole-grain yogurt throughout the day.

You must consume protein thoroughly throughout your pregnancy. It’s absolutely necessary for your baby’s growing muscles, organs, and tissues. Aim to include lean protein sources like fish, poultry, beans, and lentils in your meals and snacks.

Don’t forget about healthy fats! While excess fat intake isn’t recommended, certain fats strengthen baby’s brain development. Focus on incorporating healthy fats from sources like avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

While a well-balanced diet certainly contributes to pregnancy, there are foods and drinks that should be avoided. Understanding these restrictions allows one to make informed choices that minimize risks.

What To Avoid…

No Unpasteurized Dairy Products

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One category to steer clear of is unpasteurized dairy products. These products, like unpasteurized milk or soft cheeses, can harbor harmful bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause a serious infection called listeriosis. Listeriosis can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or even newborn infections, making pasteurized dairy products the clear and safe choice for pregnant women.

No Uncooked Meat

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Similarly, undercooked or raw meat, poultry, and fish pose a risk of foodborne illnesses caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. These illnesses can cause unpleasant symptoms for the mother and, in severe cases, potentially harm the developing baby. To ensure safety, cook all meats, poultry, and fish to an internal temperature recommended by the USDA.

No Raw Eggs


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Raw or partially cooked eggs are another food to avoid. Eggs can harbor Salmonella bacteria, another culprit behind foodborne illness. Opt for fully cooked eggs or dishes made with pasteurized egg products to eliminate this risk.

Limit Caffeine

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While caffeine isn’t entirely forbidden during pregnancy, moderation is key. Excessive caffeine intake has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. Limiting your daily caffeine intake to 200 milligrams or less, roughly the amount in a small cup of coffee, is a safe approach.

Avoid All Alcohol!

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Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is strictly prohibited. Alcohol readily crosses the placenta and can disrupt fetal development, potentially leading to a range of birth defects known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). There is simply no safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy, so complete abstinence is the recommended approach.

Limit Mercury

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Finally, it’s important to be mindful of your mercury intake. Mercury is a heavy metal that can accumulate in the body and harm the developing nervous system of the fetus. Certain fish, particularly large predatory species like shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish, are high in mercury and should be avoided during pregnancy according to the FDA.

Takeaway

By making informed choices about what to include and avoid in your diet, you’re not just nourishing your own body but actively promoting a healthy pregnancy your developing baby.

Remember, every pregnancy is unique, and your specific dietary needs may vary. I would always consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional first to create a personalized plan.

Now, this ensures that you and your baby are getting the optimal nutrition throughout this period. Professionals will guide you on portion sizes, address any dietary restrictions you may have, and provide valuable resources to you. In all, every smart choice you make will contribute to a happy baby!

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

This is an exciting time.

Yet, as we all know, it is stressful for both the father and the mother.

By eating the right way, both the mother and the baby will be at ease!

Thank you! For more questions, do not hesitate to reach out below!

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