Confused about what you can and should be eating during pregnancy and what food should be avoided? Here’s a comprehensive food guide every to-be mother needs.
Everything certainly changes when you have children. But for women, those changes happen much sooner.
As soon as a woman finds out she’s pregnant, the questions of what you can and can’t continue to eat begin pestering you…you’ll find yourself seeking answers to questions like…
Can Pregnant Women Eat shrimp, tuna, sushi….pizza???
You want to be getting all the nutrition you and your baby need while avoiding unnecessary health risks.
Here’s a little breakdown to make things easier!
What Am I Allowed To Eat?
Whole grains – have a lot of fiber, vitamins and healthy calories. Being pregnant means an increase in calorie needs, and whole grains take care of that.
Beans – high in iron, fiber, folate, iron, and calcium. They are a great food to add to your diet because they are versatile. They can be added to soups, salads, pasta or rice dishes or made into chili.
Well cooked salmon – contains high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, which contribute to the creation of the brain and eyes of the fetus.
Berries are high in water, which is always important. They have a lot of vitamin C, which is important for immune functions and helps the body absorb iron.
Low-fat Yogurt helps with calcium and protein needs. Yogurt contains more calcium than any other dairy product.
Legumes are high in iron, protein, calcium, and folate (B9). Folate is a B-vitamin that most pregnant women are severely lacking. Eating more legumes makes that up quickly.
Sweet Potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A which is essential for growth and healthy fetal development.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats which help build the skin and brain of the fetus while also relieving leg cramps in the mom. Learn more about this healthy fruit here.
Leafy Vegetables are high in fiber, iron, essential vitamins and antioxidants. They are great for the immune system and digestion and contain most of the nutrition that a pregnant woman needs.
Allowed To Eat In Moderation
Herbal Tea / Green Tea – These teas have health benefits, as herbs are nature’s medicine. But when they are made into a tea, these chemicals are concentrated and more potent. Prescription medicines are regulated for this reason. Since herbal teas are not, it’s best to make this an occasional treat.
Dried Fruit – provide lots of fiber, iron, minerals, and vitamins. However, they contain much more calories than fresh fruit. Eat in moderation to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
Raw Nuts contain high amounts of Vitamin B and E and lots of essential minerals. However, there are studies that suggest that high consumption of nuts can result in the baby developing food allergies and asthma. Eat in moderation and if you have asthma in your family, maybe avoid altogether during pregnancy.
Caffeine – There is some evidence that caffeine is ok in moderation and others that claim it is related to miscarriages. Avoid it in the first trimester if you’re not avoiding it all together. Caffeine is a diuretic so make sure to drink plenty of water if you’re indulging.
Vitamin and Fish oil supplements – Some studies have shown benefits in development from fish oil supplements, while others have not. It’s better to eat fatty fish like salmon a couple of times a week, that way you’re getting the nutrition in its pure form and also benefiting from the other nutrients. But if you’re not, a regular vitamin or supplement is ok as long as it’s that – a supplement, not a replacement.
Shrimp is ok to eat in moderation if it is cooked. It is a low mercury seafood like salmon and pollack.
Not Allowed To Eat
You’ll notice that most of the items in this list have to same reasons for not eating them – they can be contaminated. However, we’re breaking them down a little bit to address the more popular items that people search for:
Raw Meat or undercooked meat poses a risk of salmonella and coliform bacteria
Raw Eggs have potential exposure to salmonella. Make sure you are aware if it is homemade (probably raw) or commercial (probably pasteurized and therefore ok).
Raw Fish and larger fish, like swordfish and shark, should be avoided because of mercury and harmful bacteria and viruses. The larger the fish, the more mercury it will have absorbed.
Soft cheese may contain listeria unless specifically stated it is made from pasteurized milk.
Alcohol must be avoided entirely as it interferes with the baby’s development. There is no study that has shown any benefit to the fetus from drinking alcohol while pregnant.
Pâté – Any pate, even vegetable pate, carries the risk of listeria
Unpasteurized Dairy Products all carry the potential for listeria. Make sure any of your dairy products are clearly marked as pasteurized.
Processed meat may contain listeria, even if the label says it is precooked.
Congratulations! Now you know everything you need to know about what you can eat during pregnancy.