Is it important to alter your diet during preconception planning or when you are pregnant? Is coffee or other forms of caffeine dangerous? Should you stop eating feta cheese? Is fish going to cause birth defects? Does eating for two mean you need to double your food intake?
When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately began researching the amount of nutrients that my body needed to make a baby :) Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths regarding what foods are safe or dangerous, and how many “extra” calories need to be consumed during pregnancy. My doctor recommended the following:
- Prenatal vitamins with essential fatty acids for preconception planning and during pregnancy
- Avoid raw and uncooked meats during pregnancy
- Avoid eating shark, tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna fillets/steaks, and canned albacore tuna
- Limit caffeine intake to no more than 2 eight-ounce servings daily for preconception planning and pregnancy
- There is NO safe level of alcohol use in pregnancy
- A normal pregnancy requires only a very modest increase in daily calories (about 300 calories)
During my pregnancy with Emma, I logged my food intake on www.caloriecount.com. This helped me know if I was getting the proper amount of nutrients and calories every day. I actually did not take prenatal vitamins. Instead, I took Juice Plus (fruit and veggie nutrients in a capsule) in addition to folic acid. I still drank my cup of coffee every morning at work, and I occasionally ate fish. I remember getting glares from other pregnant or non-pregnant women who thought I was endangering my baby by drinking coffee, etc. However, I trust my doctor and I always did my own research to see what new articles or research was being published regarding a pregnancy diet plan.
Whether you are pregnant now or TTC, it is important to eat right! It is wrong to use your pregnancy as an excuse to each nachos and cheese all day. Your body needs proper nutrition to make a baby! Eating well during pregnancy will increase your energy level, help to stabilize your mood, reduce nausea and constipation, prevent excess weight gain, prevent water retention, and help you recover faster after labor and delivery.
Read this article from MSN Health if you are in preconception planning 0r looking for tips on a pregnancy diet. As always, contact me with any questions or comments. Best wishes!