Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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DO focus on nutritional variety. Along with taking your prenatal supplement, the best way to make sure that you’ll get all the proper nutrients is to eat the following daily: 9 servings from the whole-grains group (bread, cereal, rice and pasta) 2–3 servings of protein-rich foods from the meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts group 4 servings from the vegetable group 3 servings from the fruit group 3 servings from the milk, yogurt and cheese group. DON’T neglect water and fiber-rich foods. Drink plenty of liquids—at least eight glasses of water daily—to help prevent dehydration. “Without enough water, many of our regular body functions can’t take place, including cell respiration, digestion and absorption of nutrients,” Hudson says. But stay away from alcohol while pregnant; even small amounts have been linked to serious birth defects. Drinking fluids also can help prevent constipation, as can eating high-fiber foods such as whole-wheat and whole-grain breads and pastas, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least 25 to 35 grams of fiber every day (3¼4 cup of bran cereal, for example, contains an average of 5 grams of fiber).
DO avoid unpasteurized and certain uncooked foods. Don’t eat unpasteurized soft cheeses such as brie, Camembert, feta, blue-veined and Mexican-style cheeses. They can harbor listeria, a bacterium that can cause a serious infection and lead to premature delivery, infection in the newborn, miscarriage or stillbirth (for more on this danger, see “Listeria Warning” on pg. 22). Eating pasteurized cheeses is considered safe. Deli meats also may pose a risk, so buy prepackaged cold cuts rather than those from the deli counter, or heat deli-counter meats to steaming hot before eating them. "To minimize the risk of listeriosis, cook all leftovers and deli foods to at least 140 F," Hertz says.