Navigating the grocery aisles is tough enough when you’re eating for one. Add a baby bump and the decisions get even more complicated.
But which foods belong in your shopping cart—and which should stay on the store shelves?
Have a Lot
Pour on the produce.
Fruits and vegetables are great choices. Select a wide variety in a range of colors for the biggest nutrient punch. Just make sure you wash everything well to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis (an infection that can harm the baby) and pesticide contamination.
Pull a Popeye.
Spinach and other iron-rich foods are great choices for you and your baby. Iron is key in building hemoglobin in your blood, and you circulate up to 50 percent more blood when you’re pregnant.
Hard, pasteurized cheeses and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and vitamin D, nutrients that help build your baby’s bones and keep yours strong, too. But steer clear of soft cheeses. They can contain germs called listeria, which are particularly dangerous to unborn babies.
Have a Little
Take care with carbs.
If you’re queasy, go ahead and have those crackers. “I personally think women should eat whatever is going to make them feel OK, but it’s not something to do long term,,” says Laura Riley, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of You & Your Baby: Pregnancy. “Once the queasiness starts to go away, introduce more nutritious foods.”
Have one fish, two fish.
Experts recommend up to 12 ounces of fish a week, since fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Choose shrimp, salmon, pollock, sardines, catfish and light tuna, and avoid varieties that are high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel.
Nibble on nuts.
Nuts provide protein and other nutrients, but are high in calories (83 calories in 12 almonds). If you’re at a healthy weight to begin with, an extra 300 calories a day in the second trimester and 450 a day in the third are enough to nourish your baby and you. Exceed those numbers and you’ll likely gain more than the recommended 25 to 35 pounds—extra weight that can be hard to drop.
Curb the coffee.
Keep your caffeine intake from coffee, tea, chocolate and other sources below 200 milligrams a day. Herbal teas are generally fine, but some types may be risky; get your doctor’s opinion.
“We don’t know the threshold above which alcohol is safe, and it probably varies from fetus to fetus,” says Bonnie Dattel, M.D., who chaired the editorial board for the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ book Your Pregnancy and Childbirth: Month by Month. “But if you had a glass of Champagne before you knew you were pregnant, don’t panic.”
Shun the sushi.
Raw fish could be contaminated with parasites.
Hold the hot dogs.
If you must have hot dogs, heat them to 160 degrees to kill potential bacteria.
Get Ready for the Big Day!
BMH’s Baby University offers classes to prepare you for your baby’s arrival. To learn more, click here or call 843-522-5570.