Good nutrition is important for everyone’s health, but it becomes even more important during pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman’s body works extra hard to nourish and support the growth of the developing baby.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet rich in minerals, vitamins, and nutrients is giving your baby the best possible start in life. It provides all the building blocks needed for the baby’s development.
An obstetrician is a doctor who specializes in pregnancy and childbirth and provides top-notch care to women during this memorable time. They can provide expert advice on how to ensure a healthy journey for both mom and baby through proper nutrition.
In this article, we’ll discuss the recommendations of obstetricians on how much you should eat during pregnancy, as well as what you should eat and avoid.
How Much Should You Eat During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, you’re eating for two, but that doesn’t mean that you will have to eat twice your usual amount of food. Instead, just eat healthily. Women who are pregnant with one baby only need an extra 340 calories per day starting in the second trimester and a bit more in the third trimester.
Similarly, women with twins should eat about 600 extra calories a day, while women with triplets should eat 900 extra calories a day.
What Should You Eat During Pregnancy?
Obstetricians advise you to get your additional calories from nutrient-dense foods. You should eat fewer sweets and treats. The following are some foods that you should include in your pregnancy diet:
- Fruits and Vegetables of Different Types and Colors. Ideally, a pregnant woman should eat two servings of fruits and five serves of vegetables every day.
- Grain and Cereal Foods. Pregnant women should eat 81/2 serves of grains and cereal foods a day. Choose whole grain and high-fiber options.
- Dairy Products. It is crucial to make a habit of drinking milk, eating yogurt and hard cheese, or calcium-enriched alternatives.
- Lean Meats, Poultry, Nuts, and Legumes. Ideally, you should focus on consuming a range of protein sources as a part of a balanced diet. Plant-based protein sources that you can incorporate into your diet are pea protein powder, beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, and seeds, while healthy animal-based protein sources are chicken, fish, beef, and eggs.
Women are also prescribed prenatal supplements before conception or shortly afterward to make sure that all their nutritional needs are met. These nutritional supplements include:
Folic Acid. Folic acid is crucial to make extra blood that the body needs during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid for a pregnant woman, which is included in prenatal vitamins.
It is recommended to take additional folic acid if you are at higher risk for neural tube defect due to a family history of spina bifida, or if you are taking anti-epileptic medications.
Iron. During pregnancy, a woman’s requirements for iron increase as the developing fetus gets iron from the mother. It’s true that iron loss is reduced during pregnancy because women don’t menstruate at this time; however, this iron is not enough to offset the needs of the developing baby. Therefore, it is recommended to take 27 mg of iron a day during pregnancy.
Calcium. Calcium is required to build strong bones and teeth, for blood to clot normally, for the heart to beat normally, and for nerves to function properly. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women should take 1000 milligrams of calcium per day. Dairy products are good sources of calcium; however, you can also eat dark leafy greens, breads, almonds, fortified cereals, and fortified orange juices.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps a baby’s bones and teeth develop. It is also essential for their healthy skin and eyesight. A woman, whether pregnant or not, needs 600 international units of vitamin D per day. Milk fortified with vitamin D, fatty fish such as salmon, and sunlight are good sources of vitamin D.
Choline. Choline is crucial for the good health of the mother and fetus. Studies have shown that most women in the United States do not get the recommended 450 milligrams of choline per day. Eggs and shitake mushrooms are good sources of choline.
DHA. Pregnant women should take 200 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily in addition to their prenatal vitamins.
Vitamin A. Vitamin A is good for fetus health, but an excess of it can also be harmful. Therefore, it is recommended to receive 770 mcg of vitamin A daily and not exceed the limit.
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, women should avoid hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, deli meats, and fermented or dry sausages. It is also recommended to not eat soft cheeses, such as feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, brie, panela, blue-veined, and Camembert unless it is labeled as “made with pasteurized milk.”
Additionally, you should avoid eating fish more than once a week, avoid all raw and seared fish, and avoid eating fish that have higher concentrations of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).
Obstetrician in Wooster, Ohio
At the Wooster Community Hospital Women’s Pavilion, we have a team of highly trained and skilled obstetricians and gynecologists, certified nurse practitioners, and certified midwives who are well-equipped to provide you all the care you need during pregnancy and beyond. Our obstetricians also offer flexibility in labor and delivery experience to accommodate our patients’ birth plans.
If you would like to schedule a one-on-one consultation with us for your pregnancy needs, contact our staff today at (330) 202-5540, or fill out our easy-to-use request an appointment form.