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During pregnancy it is important to eat healthy foods for both you and the baby. Eating a variety of all of the food groups will help you to consume the nutrients that you need for you and your baby to stay healthy.
Holly Menino sits down with Danielle Conlon, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with Utah State WIC Program, on this episode of the Baby Your Baby podcast. Together, they discuss nutrition during pregnancy, weight gain guidelines, and tips for preparing to breastfeed.
Prenatal Vitamins: Once you become pregnant, your doctor will prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you. The reason why it is important to take a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy is because nutrient needs increase during pregnancy, and prenatal vitamins will help you to meet those increased nutrient needs. Two of the nutrients that prenatal vitamins contain and that are critical during pregnancy are folic acid and iron. Folic acid helps to prevent birth defects, and iron helps your baby grow and develop.
Which Foods to Eat: During pregnancy, eating a variety of all of the food groups will help you to consume the nutrients that you need for you and your baby to stay healthy. General recommendations for each food group include:
- Eat whole grains such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice.
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. These can include fresh, canned, or frozen fruits and vegetables. When buying canned fruits and vegetables, look for “low-sodium” and “no-added sugar” or “canned in water” labels on the cans. These are healthier choices than canned fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of sodium and sugar.
- Eat 3 servings of dairy foods each day. Dairy foods have calcium, which is essential to make sure that yours and your baby’s bones are strong. Dairy products include milk, cheese, and yogurt. If you aren’t able to have dairy products, soy milk is a great source of protein and calcium that is dairy free. You can also talk to your doctor about if you should start a calcium supplement.
- Eat healthy fats from oils such as avocados, olive or canola oil, or nuts and seeds.
- Eat a variety of lean protein foods such as poultry, fish, eggs, beans/lentils, PB, and nuts or seeds. A common question about protein is if fish is safe to eat during pregnancy. Fish is safe during pregnancy as long as the fish doesn’t have high levels of mercury and it is cooked all the way through. During pregnancy, avoid raw fish such as sashimi or sushi that has raw fish, and fish with high mercury content such as tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel, or shark.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy:
- meats, poultry, and fish that aren’t cooked well-done
- unpasteurized or “raw” milk and juice
- raw or runny eggs
- raw sprouts
- deli meats and hotdogs unless they are cooked until they are steaming or reach a temperature of 165 F
- soft cheeses such as feta, brie, or queso fresco
The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.