Between the rising temperatures and your growing belly, chances are you’re struggling to keep your cool these days. When you can’t bear the idea of turning on your stovetop, don’t resort to yet another PB&J.
By now, you’ve probably gotten an earful of healthy eating advice. So you already know that loading your plate with fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein is best for you and baby.
The problem is that this nutritious diet can be tough on your wallet. But that doesn’t mean that you have to go broke at the supermarket. With smart shopping strategies and a little preparation, eating right doesn’t have to cost a cent extra, says Paola Mora, R.D., a dietitian who works in the division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.
Of all the food dilemmas you face when pregnant, seafood might be the most slippery. Fish contain nutrients essential to the developing fetal brain, but they can also be contaminated with brain-damaging mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The ecological questions are similarly confusing. Many wild fish are being fished to extinction, but fish farms can be a major source of environmental destruction as well.
The ritual of making and drinking tea has been practiced for thousands of years, and for good reason. Tea contains polyphenols to protect your heart, antioxidants that may lower your risk of cancer and other nutrients that boost your immune system. When you’re expecting, the benefits get even better. A comforting cup may ease morning sickness, and even make for a shorter labor. However, some teas are potentially dangerous during pregnancy and should be avoided.
Let’s get real: When you’re pregnant in the dead of winter, controlling your weight is no piece of cake, although you’d probably like to eat one—and then another. We share our favorite recipes for comfort foods with a lighter twist to give you more energy and protect your and your developing baby’s health.
As long as your feta is made from pasteurized milk, feel free to eat as many Greek salads as you like. The concern is a condition called listeriosis, a bacterial infection that’s typically contracted through eating certain foods, including unpasteurized milk and cheeses, says Kelly Jackson, M.P.H., an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Whole grains may just be the holy grail of pregnancy foods.“The many varieties of whole grains are supercharged with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that offer benefits for both mom and baby,” says San Diego-based dietitian Wendy Bazilian, Dr.PH., R.D., author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet (Rodale). Plus, their complex carbohydrates help keep energy levels up throughout the day, she adds.
Baby, It's cold outside. While winter may not be the season you associate with fresh produce, a bounty of unsung winter vegetables is increasingly available. “It’s important for a healthy pregnancy that you get all the vital nutrients found in vegetables year-round,” says Tara Gidus, M.S., R.D., an Orlando, Fla.-based dietitian and mother of two.
As if being pregnant isn’t enough of a reason to celebrate, here’s another: You’re expected—and encouraged—to eat! Experts agree you need more calories, more often, as a mom-to-be. While it’s recommended that the average woman take in 2,000 calories each day, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), expectant moms need roughly 340 extra calories a day in the second trimester and 450 extra calories in the third trimester.
Omega-3 fish oils, particularly DHA, are touted as an important nutrient for pregnant women because of their role in fetal brain and eye development and in helping to prevent postpartum depression (PPD) in new mothers. Yet a recent randomized controlled trial—considered the “gold standard” of medical research—found that the children of women who took fish oil supplements during pregnancy had no better cognitive or language skills at 18 months than the children of women who took a vegetable oil placebo.
You may be hungrier than ever, but nausea, indigestion and the need to control your calorie intake can make it tough to get the nutrition you and your baby need. Our expert advice and satisfying recipes will help you overcome the challenges each trimester poses.
Rest easy, all you pregnant vegans and vegetarians out there: Medical experts, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Dietetic Association (ADA), have given you the green light to continue your current way of eating— as long as it’s well-planned. “You can have a healthy pregnancy on such a diet,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., an ADA spokeswoman who sees pregnant vegetarians in her private practice.
“You just have to do it right.”