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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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.”
As you know, folate, fiber and iron are essential nutrients for you and your growing baby. What you may not know is that you can get all three by eating chives. Or, how about adding figs to your diet to boost your calcium intake?
If you’re like many pregnant women, you vowed to eat healthier the minute you found out you were expecting. You may even have started making a mental list of nutritional do’s and don’ts: Eat more calcium-rich foods, get more protein and cut out the caffeine and junk food. Good thing: Developing healthy eating habits now will set the stage for your baby to grow into a strong child and adult, as well as ultimately reduce his risk for certain diseases.
Soy has spent a lot of time in the spotlight in recent years, linked to lowering cholesterol levels and halting heart disease. The legume also packs a nutritional wallop during pregnancy. “Besides high-quality protein, soy is a great source of folate, iron, calcium, zinc and trace minerals,” says Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D. “Soybeans are also high in fiber, and they’re a source of omega-3 fatty acids.”
It may be tempting to trash your healthy eating habits during pregnancy. After all, you’re going to get big no matter what you eat, right? Not so fast. Experts say that making nutrition mistakes during pregnancy not only robs your baby of crucial nutrients, it also sabotages your own short- and long-term health. Make pregnancy an opportunity to improve your health, says registered physician assistant Amy Hendel, author of 2008’s Fat Families, Thin Families.
(This is not a medically approved approach to prenatal nutrition, it's just what I've been doing!)
I came down with a stomach bug last week. First I figured it was morning sickness revisited. Then I realized it was something much more persistent and all over. Next I began to think back over my recent dietary missteps.
pregnancy nutrition basics
Every year, scientists uncover information about the critical role nutrients play in the mental and physical development of the fetus, including their ability to reduce the risk of birth defects and disease in newborns. Prenatal vitamins can help, but they can’t do the job alone, which is why your diet is so important.
Before you were pregnant, you probably didn’t think twice about enjoying a tuna-fish sandwich, a salad sprinkled with blue cheese or a glass of red wine. After all, tuna is brimming with protein, blue cheese contains bone-building calcium, and red wine in moderation can benefit your heart. But now that you’re expecting, these foods could pose a health risk to you and your growing baby, which is why it’s important to know exactly which foods and beverages you should avoid. These important food facts will help you make safe choices.
Almost every pregnant woman can look back to her early weeks of pregnancy and recall some type of risky behavior. For some it’s the headache tablet, the dental X-ray or the hair dye that makes them wince. In my case, it was the wine tasting that I attended on the night that I conceived. As it turns out, these slip-ups probably are fine, according to medical experts, although pregnant women do need to be alert to behaviors that could put their babies at risk.
now, more than ever, taking care of yourself is top priority. With your baby developing inside you, you know you should get the most out of what you’re eating. You also know that you need extra calories for your baby’s development. But there may be something you haven’t thought about: Avoiding foods that make you sick or that harm your growing baby is also an important part of the equation.