How Your Nutritional Needs Change When You’re Pregnant

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When you become pregnant, your body’s needs change. In particular, as you get ready to create new life, your nutritional needs change. There are certain foods that you need to avoid eating, and there are foods that you should eat more of for the health of your baby. Here is a quick guide to how your nutritional needs change when you are pregnant.

What You Shouldn’t Eat or Drink

  • Raw meat, fish and deli meat. Foods that are at high risk for contamination with germs like salmonella should be avoided for this reason, especially uncooked meat and fish. It is especially important to avoid food poisoning while you are pregnant.
  • Fish. Certain kinds of fish that are high in mercury and other pollutants, like tuna and swordfish, should be avoided as well.
  • Soft cheeses. Again, to avoid food poisoning, steer away from soft cheeses like brie or goat cheese that may be high in certain kinds of bacteria.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol can be very unhealthy for developing fetuses. Your baby could even develop fetal alcohol syndrome. Do not drink while you are pregnant.
  • Caffeine. Avoid caffeine, or at least limit it to one cup a day or less. Some studies have shown that caffeine consumption increases the likelihood of miscarriage.

What You Should Eat While Pregnant

  • Lean meats. Lean meats are high in protein, and low in fat. These are good, healthy foods for you and your baby.
  • Whole grains. For a source of healthy carbohydrates, try whole grain foods like whole wheat bread and pasta or even brown rice. Whole grains are also rich in fiber and nutrients.
  • Leafy greens. Speaking of nutrients and vitamins, leafy greens like kale, spinach and romaine lettuce can be a go-to source for moms-to-be.
  • Nuts and seeds. If you are looking for a healthy snack while pregnant, reach for a handful of nuts and seeds.
  • Sweet potatoes. For a healthy starch, try sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are delicious, and one of the healthiest foods out there for moms and babies.

As you go along in your pregnancy, you will need to up your food intake by about 300 calories a day. So, if you currently eat 2,000 calories a day, you will need to try to eat 2,300. If you have more questions, contact Indiana University Health Maternity for maternity services that fit your needs.

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