Nutrition in Pregnancy: Finding the Right Balance

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Eating right while you are pregnant is important for both your health and your baby’s. Everything you do when you are pregnant, from what you eat and drink to your level of physical activity has an impact on your baby’s current growth and even future development, so making sure that you are doing it right is important. There are two things you really have to pay attention to when eating right during pregnancy. The first is watching exactly what you eat, and the second is keeping an eye on weight gain.

When it comes to weight gain, it can help to work with a health care professional. For overweight women, it can help to lose weight before becoming pregnant when possible. In terms of pregnancy weight gain, the average woman should gain about 25 to 35 pounds, with only 5 to 10 lbs. of this occurring in the first 20 weeks. After that, the rate of weight gain should be about a pound per week. Women who are overweight should gain only about 15 to 25 pounds, while women who are underweight should gain somewhere between 28 and 40 lbs. Working with your health care professional to manage your weight is highly recommended, as being overweight during pregnancy can increase your risk of miscarriage, the need for an emergency caesarian section, and more.

In terms of what you eat, it is important to avoid all raw or undercooked seafood and meat while you are pregnant. It is also important to avoid things like raw vegetables, shellfish, and unpasteurized milk, as they can carry listeriosis. Choose pasteurized milk and only eat harder cheeses such as parmesan or cheddar. Eat about 8 to 12 ounces of seafood weekly for the Omega 3s and other benefits, but avoid tuna and other fish that are potentially high in mercury. Be certain you are taking your prenatal vitamins and work to avoid things like caffeine and especially alcohol. Not only can drinking during pregnancy result in fetal alcohol syndrome, but studies have linked drinking during pregnancy with an increased risk of alcohol addiction in the child during later life!

Taking care of yourself during pregnancy is a very important task for both you and for baby. Learning how to eat right and to manage your weight can make a big difference in your pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to talk to your OB/GYN if you have questions about which foods to eat or how much weight gain is safe!