DO focus on food groups.
Along with taking your prenatal supplement, the best way to ensure that you’ll get all the right nutrients is to eat the following daily:
- 9 servings from the bread, cereal, rice and pasta group
- 6 ounces of animal protein or its equivalent 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 forget water and fiber-rich foods.
Drink plenty of liquids—at least eight glasses daily—to help support your increased blood volume, Reichenberger says. These extra fluids can also help prevent constipation, as can high-fiber foods. That means eating whole-wheat and whole-grain breads and pastas, and lots of fruits and vegetables.
“I suggest snacks that are filled with fiber, such as a bowl of cereal,” Logan says. Aim for at least 25 to 35 grams of fiber every day (3¼4 cup of bran cereal, for example, equals 5 grams).
DO avoid uncooked and unpasteurized foods.
Stay away from uncooked, unpasteurized cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, feta, blue-veined and Mexican-style cheeses. These products can harbor listeria, a bacterium that can cause food-borne illness. Deli meats may also pose a risk, so buy prepackaged cold cuts rather than those from the deli counter.
In addition, never eat raw or undercooked meat, sushi, seafood or eggs during pregnancy. Also steer clear of fish that may contain excessive amounts of mercury, such as shark, king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish and tuna. Limit shellfish and canned fish to 12 ounces a week. And avoid alcoholic beverages altogether.