Dieting While Pregnant Is it Safe?
Pregnancy is a critical time for both mother and baby. This is especially true in the area of nutrition and diet. It is important for a woman who is pregnant to focus less on losing, gaining, or maintaining weight than it is to focus on the actual nutrition that she is consuming.
In general, pregnancy is not the time to lose weight. If a woman does not gain enough weight during pregnancy, her baby will not gain enough weight. On average, a slender woman should gain around 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. A woman who is underweight should gain more like 30 or 40 pounds. For a woman that is overweight, it is still important to gain at least between 12 and 25 pounds during pregnancy.
When you are “eating for two,” it is important to realize that you aren’t going to take in twice the amount of calories; your growing baby and you need about 300 extra calories each day to keep things moving along.
There are specific foods that you should make sure you are getting during pregnancy. You should get between 3 and 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. One of these should be of a dark orange vegetable, and two should be of leafy dark green vegetables. You should have two servings of extra-lean meats, chicken, fish, or cooked peas or dried beans. You should drink eight glasses of water. You should have six servings of grains, and three servings of nonfat or low fat milk products.
Certain foods can contain chemicals that may be harmful to your baby’s growth and development while you are pregnant. Other foods can create the risk of food-borne illness, which can be particularly harmful to your baby. In general, you should avoid:
– Certain types of fish, including shark, tile fish, king mackerel, and swordfish. These fish may all contain high levels of mercury. In general, it is recommended that you keep to 2 servings or less of fish in a week. Good fish can include shrimp, salmon, pollock, catfish, and canned light tuna. Game fish may be all right, but you should check with local health officials or your health care provider before eating these.
– Raw meat or seafood. Uncooked meats contain a greater risk for listeria and/or salmonella.
– Refrigerated smoked seafood. Refrigerated smoked seafood may also increase the risk of listeria. Canned versions of these may be all right to eat.
– Hot dogs and deli meats. These also are particularly susceptible to listeria. Deli meats may be all right if you cook them thoroughly.
– Raw eggs. Raw eggs and things made with them, such as mayonnaise, salad dressings, and a variety of other sauces may be made from raw eggs. Raw eggs may contain salmonella.
– Soft cheeses. You should avoid Brie, Camembert, Feta, blue-veined cheeses, Panela, queso fresco and queso blanco.
– Liver. Liver may contain high levels of Vitamin A, which may be harmful to your baby.
– Any unpasteurized milk or juice. Also, any foods made from unpasteurized milk or juice should be avoided as well.
In addition, it is important for a pregnant woman to have a balanced diet that contains all of the things that both mother and baby need.