When it comes to the best foods to eat while pregnant, you probably have a lot of questions-especially if this is your first pregnancy. In fact, you may have heard a lot of old wives’ tales about what’s OK to eat during the next three trimesters, and you may be trying to separate fact from fiction. In this article, we answer the most common questions about pregnancy and diet so you can make informed choices over the next nine months.
The most crucial thing to remember about your pregnancy diet is that the best changes are made in small increments. So while you may be tempted to completely overhaul your diet overnight, don’t give in to the temptation. Instead, implement your lifestyle changes slowly, in baby steps, so that they are both comfortable to you while they become a part of your routine. Common sense rules, so be sure to let your head-not your emotions-define your eating over the next nine months.
Q. Is it OK to have caffeine during pregnancy?
A. Yes, in small amounts. While it’s always better to be completely caffeine-free throughout gestation, it may not be possible if you are severely addicted to caffeine. Most experts agree that you can safely enjoy up to 150mg of caffeine per day during the next nine months. That’s the equivalent of one cup of coffee or two cups of black tea.
If you are addicted to caffeine, step down your consumption slowly rather than going off it cold turkey, as your detox symptoms can be very intense, especially during pregnancy.
Q. Is it OK to eat shrimp during pregnancy?
A. Yes, in limited quantities. In fact, many varieties of seafood and shellfish can be enjoyed during pregnancy, such as salmon, lobster, crab, tilapia, and sardines. Before eating seafood, make sure that the variety you like isn’t too high in mercury. Low mercury seafood, like the ones listed, can be enjoyed twice a week if you keep the portion size low, such as around 6 ounces. In fact, salmon and sardines are both excellent sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy pregnancy.
Q. Is it OK to gain weight during pregnancy?
A. Some weight gain is to be expected during pregnancy, but you don’t want to gain too much. If you do, you run the risk of some complications, as well as a more difficult road back to your pre-pregnancy weight. A weight gain between 20 and 30 pounds is considered by most experts to be acceptable for most pregnant women.
Q. Do I have to drink water during pregnancy?
A. In a word-yes! Water offers many health benefits for pregnant women and should be your go-to beverage for the next nine months. Drinking water can help combat common pregnancy ailments such as headaches, bloating, constipation, edema, water retention, and aches and pains. In addition, water will make you feel fuller between meals, helping you to fight the urge to overeat. You should plan on drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces minimum.
Q. Is it OK to eat soy during pregnancy?
A. Soy has actually been linked to some troubling developmental issues in gestation, especially the development of the sex organs of a fetus. In addition, if you are trying to get pregnant, eating soy can hinder your fertility. It should be avoided throughout pregnancy in favor of better sources of protein, such as raw nuts and whole eggs.
Q. Can I eat fat during pregnancy?
A. Absolutely-as long as it’s the right kind of fat. Does this mean you can run out and eat a bucket of fried chicken? Definitely not. Instead, you should focus on healthy fat sources like olive oil, avocadoes, organic butter, raw nuts, nut butters, and coconut oil. These fats supply your baby with essential fatty acids she needs while helping you feel satiated-another way to help you curb the tendency to overeat during pregnancy.a