You’ve probably heard the old saying that when you’re pregnant, you’re “eating for two.” And while that doesn’t mean you should be eating double the calories, it does mean the food you eat is responsible for nourishing both you and your growing baby.
Pregnancy is an exciting time — but with so much conflicting information available, it’s hard to navigate all of the do's and don'ts of pregnancy nutrition. Marc Wilson, MD, and our team at OB/GYN Specialists are here to help.
Here, we’re sharing our "eat this, not that" guidelines to help expectant mothers make informed dietary choices for healthier pregnancies.
Eat this: nutrient-dense foods
During pregnancy, your diet supports you and your baby. That’s why it's important to focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods with lots of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. To make planning your meals simpler, Dr. Wilson and our team often recommend:
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Aim to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day to ensure you get a range of essential nutrients.
Whole grains are high in fiber, a nutrient that supports digestion and helps prevent constipation during pregnancy. Look for breads, cereals, and pastas labeled “whole grain,” and try incorporating brown rice and quinoa, too.
Protein keeps you feeling fuller longer, and contains essential amino acids for fetal growth and development. Choose lean sources of protein like poultry, fish, beans, and tofu, and limit fattier options like red meat.
Pasteurized dairy products
Dairy products give you and your baby calcium, protein, and vitamin D, so incorporate milk, yogurt, and cheese into your diet. Choose low-fat or skim options, and avoid unpasteurized products to lower your risk of foodborne illness.
Healthy fats provide omega-3 fatty acids, which support your baby's brain development. Eat foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds, which are rich in healthy fats.
Not that: risky foods
When you’re pregnant, you’re at higher risk of foodborne illness — and getting sick can pose serious risks to your unborn baby. Certain foods are more likely to cause foodborne illness than others, and it’s best to avoid them to minimize your chances of complications. Here are some foods to be cautious of:
Raw or undercooked meat
Eating raw or undercooked meat increases your risk of foodborne illness. It’s important to cook your meat thoroughly, and avoid consuming anything that’s raw or undercooked, including seafood and steak.
Foods that contain raw or partially cooked eggs, like homemade Caesar salad dressing or raw cookie dough, can increase your risk of salmonella infection. To avoid getting sick, choose pasteurized egg products and always cook eggs thoroughly.
Unpasteurized dairy products
Unpasteurized milk, cheese, and other dairy products can contain dangerous bacteria, including listeria. Stick to pasteurized options to lower your risk of foodborne infections.
Excessive mercury intake during pregnancy can harm your baby's developing nervous system. Some types of fish, like king mackerel and swordfish, have high levels of mercury. Instead, opt for low-mercury options like salmon, shrimp, and trout.
Most of the time, moderate caffeine intake is considered safe during pregnancy. But excessive amounts could increase your risk of miscarriage and preterm birth. That’s why Dr. Wilson generally recommends limiting your caffeine intake to around 200 milligrams a day or less.
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for your well-being and your growing baby’s — but knowing what to eat isn’t always easy. Our "eat this, not that" guidelines can help you make more informed choices, and we’re here to answer all of your questions.
For personalized prenatal care and nutritional recommendations, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wilson and our team at OB/GYN Specialists in Denton, Texas. Call us at 940-202-0301 or send us a message online now.