You will need an additional 200 to 300 calories from nutrient-dense foods compared with how you ate before your pregnancy. It will be important to carefully consider the foods you consume during your pregnancy. This is a time to eat more foods that are nutrient-dense and fewer sweets and treats. Use these guidelines to choose a healthy diet.
Eat a variety of foods. Use the MyPlate website (https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/myplate) as a guide to choose the amounts of foods in each group.
There are specific foods that you will want to avoid during your pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can have a negative effect on your immune system and put you at greater risk of contracting a foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that contracting the foodborne illness Listeria during pregnancy can cause premature delivery, miscarriage and even fetal death. Pregnancy women are 20 times more likely to contract Listeria.
You can decrease your chances of contracting Listeria by avoiding hot dogs, luncheon meats, soft cheeses and unpasteurized milk products. Soft cheeses include feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses and Mexican-style cheeses such as queso blanco and queso fresco. Other foods that are more likely to cause foodborne illness include sushi, rare beef, raw eggs, Caesar dressing and mayonnaise.
Another food of concern for pregnant women is fish. Although fish is a low-fat, healthful protein choice, there are certain fish that have elevated levels of mercury or PCBs. Consuming fish with high levels of these chemicals have been associated with brain damage and developmental delay for your baby. Shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish have higher levels of mercury and should be avoided. Bluefish, bass, freshwater salmon, pike, trout and walleye contain high amounts of PCBs and should be avoided.
Do any of your family members have a peanut allergy? If they do, you might need to avoid peanuts and peanut products. Research has shown that when you eat peanut products when you are pregnant, you expose your baby to peanut allergens. This exposure might increase the baby’s likelihood of developing a food allergy to peanuts.
Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy by eating a balanced diet is a good sign that your baby is getting all of the nutrients he or she needs and is growing at a healthy rate.
Weight gain should be slow and gradual. In general, you should gain about 2 to 4 pounds during your first three months of pregnancy and 1 pound a week for the remainder of pregnancy. A woman of average weight should expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds during the pregnancy. You might need to gain more or less depending on whether you are overweight or underweight before your pregnancy.
Baby — 8 pounds
Placenta — 2 – 3 pounds
Amniotic fluid — 2 – 3 pounds
Breast tissue — 2 – 3 pounds
Blood supply — 4 pounds
Fat stores for delivery and breastfeeding — 5 – 9 pounds
Uterus — 2 – 5 pounds
Try to get your weight gain back on track. Don’t consider losing weight or stopping weight gain altogether. You should try to slow your weight gain to recommended amounts, depending on your trimester. During the first trimester, you should gain 2 – 4 pounds total. During the second and third trimester, you should gain 1 pound per week. Consider trying these diet changes to gain weight more slowly:
Every woman is different and not everyone will gain at the same rate. You should talk to your doctor if you are concerned that you are not gaining enough. Weight gain can be hindered by nausea and morning sickness. Consider trying these diet changes to gain weight within the appropriate ranges:
Pregnancy symptoms can vary. Some women might have difficulty with morning sickness, diarrhea or constipation. Here are a few suggestions on how to deal with these symptoms.
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