10 Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

by Dr. Sheryl A. Ross

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The Pregnant Mom's Guide To Eating For Two

It’s clear that gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy involves eating a healthy and well-balanced diet so that your baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs to grow in a healthy way. 

Weight Gain

In general, you will need to consume up to 300 more calories a day to meet the needs of your growing baby.  Ideally you want to gain about 2 to 4 pounds during your first three months of pregnancy and 1 pound a week for the remainder of your pregnancy.

Here are some guidelines for typical weight gain during a singleton pregnancy (one baby!):
  • Underweight women (BMI < 18.5) should gain 28-40 pounds.
  • Normal-weight women (BMI, 18.5-24.9) should gain 25-35 pounds.
  • Overweight women (BMI, 25-29.9) should gain 15-25 pounds.
  • Obese women (BMI, 30 or higher) should gain 11-20 pounds.
It's important to talk to your health care provider about how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. A woman of average weight before pregnancy should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Underweight women should gain 28-40 pounds while overweight women may need to gain only 15-25 pounds.  

Food Choices

During pregnancy, choosing the right foods to eat not only affects you but also your unborn baby. Consuming 40% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 30% fats is a perfect balance for a healthy pregnancy diet.  

You can use the basic 5 food groups to make certain that you are eating the right types of foods:

1. Grains - Bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, and tortilla’s.  Whole grains are the unprocessed grains and best for your health.  Examples include oats, barley, quinoa and brown rice.

2. Fruits - Fresh fruits are always best, but canned, frozen, dried and juice is also an option.

3. Vegetables - Fresh veggies are best but canned, frozen, dried and juice is also acceptable.

4. Proteins - Lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, soy, tofu, nuts and seeds.  Shrimp, salmon, catfish and Pollock are safe fish to consume.

5. Dairy - Milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

Healthy oils, such as olive oil, and fats are also important to include in a well balanced diet.  Vegetarians need to get their protein from soy milk, tofu and beans.

Controlled, healthy and well-balanced eating reduces your risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood pressure of pregnancy (preeclampsia), preterm delivery and cesarean delivery.  It also minimizes the baby’s risk of having a very large baby (macrosomia) and future childhood obesity

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Prenatal vitamins with folic acid-prevents brain and spinal defects.
  • Vitamin D-helps the baby’s bones and teeth develop.
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil-helpful for brain development.
  • Iron-helps build the blood to supply oxygen to your baby.
  • Calcium-used to build your baby’s bones and teeth.
(DR. ROSS DEFY combines the best of a prenatal vitamin with the essence of a multivitamin)

What to Eat in Limited Amounts

Caffeine - Consuming less than 200mg of caffeine a day is considered a safe amount for a growing baby.  This translates to a 12-ounce cup of coffee or 2 cups of tea a day.

Fish - Limit your white (albacore) tuna intake to 6 ounces a week.

Sodium - The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting your sodium intake to less than 2,300mg a day.  Read the food labels!

Processed, fried, fatty, sugary, and refined grains.

What NOT to Eat During Pregnancy

1. Fish containing high amounts of mercury - avoid fish that have are higher in mercury such as Shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish.

2. Unpasteurized milk and foods made with unpasteurized milk, which may contain a bacteria called listeria that can cause miscarriage.

3. Soft cheeses such as feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, Camembert, brie, or blue-veined cheeses unless the label says "made with pasteurized milk."

4. Hot dogs, luncheon/deli meats and cold cuts unless they are heated until steaming.

5. Refrigerated pate and meats spreads.

6. Refrigerated smoked seafood.

7. Raw and undercooked shellfish and seafood (sorry no sushi!), beef, pork and poultry.

8. Raw eggs - remember, some homemade Caesar dressings, mayonnaise and Hollandaise sauces could be made with raw eggs.

Note:

9. Unwashed vegetables - according to AmericanPregnancy.org, veggies need to be washed to avoid potential exposure to toxoplasmosis which can contaminate soil where vegetables are grown.

10. Alcohol.

These foods should be avoided to decrease the risk of getting a food-borne illness caused by the bacteria ListeriosisListeriosis is 13 times more common to occur in pregnant women causing serious complications to you and your baby. Salmonella and E.Coli are other bacterial infections that can be passed through undercooked meat, poultry and eggs.

The first gift you will give your baby is a healthy start to nutrition while in the womb.  The best way to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby is gaining the appropriate amount of weight and eating well-balanced diet.

Dr. Ross is the creator of DR. ROSS DEFY, a line of high potency vitamins that combine the best of a prenatal vitamin with the essence of a multivitamin.

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