1. Eat The Right Amount
While you’re not quite “eating for two” during pregnancy, your body does need more calories and nutrients to support your growing baby. As a general rule, the CDC recommends eating no extra calories during your first trimester, roughly 340 extra calories during your second trimester, and an extra 450 calories during your final trimester. These numbers can vary from woman to woman, and you should work with your physician to determine the appropriate diet for you.
2. Choose Safe Foods
It’s well known that alcohol consumption during pregnancy poses a risk to a developing fetus, but there are other dietary risks to watch out for too! Fish that can contain high levels of mercury, such as mackerel, marlin, and swordfish, should be avoided. Instead, choose from safer seafood like cod, salmon, or shrimp.
The prevention of serious illness is essential to a healthy pregnancy, and certain foods pose a risk for viral, bacterial, or even parasitic infections. To keep both you and your baby healthy, you should avoid raw or undercooked meats, eggs, and seafood, as well as foods that may contain those as ingredients (e.g. raw cookie dough).
Dr. Bernstein’s Advice for Safe Eating
Dr. Rachel Bernstein is a caring OB/GYN at Griffin Health with a passion for helping women through their pregnancies. Here are her additional diet tips for pregnant women:
Adequate water intake is important, and you should aim for about 10 cups of water a day during pregnancy. Foods to avoid include anything with caffeine (limited to one 10 oz. cup of coffee a day) and unpasteurized cheeses like you might buy at a local farm. Finally, a prenatal vitamin is an important supplement to your diet that helps support your health and the development of your baby.
3. Stay Active, Stay Safe
Exercise is just as important during pregnancy as it is outside of pregnancy. Regular physical activity can provide tremendous benefits to you and your baby, such as:
- Gaining an appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy
- Reducing backaches, cramps, and bloating
- Reducing your risk for developing diabetes
- Reducing your risk for experiencing postpartum depression
Pregnant women should avoid activities with a high fall risk like horseback riding, skiing, or gymnastics, as well as activities in which they may be hit in the abdomen like soccer or basketball. Low impact, moderate effort exercises like walking, swimming, yoga, and cycling are ideal for pregnant women.
4. Keep Connected With Your Doctor
Your OB-GYN doctor is your best guide through all stages of your pregnancy. From answering any questions you may have at your first prenatal visit to maintaining your health after delivery, your doctor provides invaluable support. Staying in touch with your doctor throughout your pregnancy helps ensure that you’re doing what’s healthiest for you and your baby and can ease a lot of the worries that come with carrying a child.
5. Protect Yourself And Your Baby From COVID-19
COVID-19 infection poses a major threat to pregnant women and their babies. Pregnant women are at a 70% increased risk of death if they develop symptomatic COVID-19, and infection also increases the risk for preterm birth, for newborns to be admitted to the ICU, and for transmitting COVID-19 to newborns. To protect yourself and your baby, you should follow social distancing protocols whenever possible. The CDC has also stated that all COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in pregnant women, and receiving one will greatly reduce the risk of infection for you and your baby.
Although COVID-19 poses a risk to pregnant women and their babies, it is still important to keep your prenatal doctor appointments and to never delay emergency care. Your overall health and well-being are still critical to the health of your baby.
Learn how the expert providers at Griffin Faculty Physicians OB-GYN services can help guide you through a healthy pregnancy.