Pregnancy can be an exciting and overwhelming time. It's understandable if you are feeling a little bogged down in the details, questions, and medical advice. Try to take things one step at a time — starting with your food! Here are five nutrition tips for pregnant women from Cristina Cavanaugh, a registered dietitian on Amwell.
1. Choose food you enjoy.
The average woman typically needs an additional 300 calories during her second and third trimester. Usually this is equivalent to an additional snack. To get the most nutrients, it's best to pick whole grains, low fat dairy, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. You may also try limiting or eliminating highly processed and sugary foods from your diet, since they usually don't have any nutritional value. Some good snack options include a banana with almond butter, Greek yogurt and berries, hummus with pita and veggie sticks, or a small turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.
2. Count your calcium.
Calcium intake is critical during pregnancy — for both you and your baby. Try to include three to four calcium-rich foods in your diet every day. Calcium is found in dairy products such as yogurt, milk, cheese, and cottage cheese, and in non-dairy products such as fortified soy milk, green leafy vegetables, almonds, beans, and tofu.
3. Be mindful of mercury.
Mercury is found in some fish, such as swordfish, and can be negatively impact your baby if consumed in large quantities. Keep your fish consumption to 12 ounces per week and do your best to choose low-mercury options such as salmon, shrimp, and light canned tuna.
4. Increase the iron.
It is very common for women to become iron deficient during late pregnancy. To prevent this, you might eat foods rich in iron such as lean meat, beans, raisins, and fortified cereal. To better help iron absorption in the body, you can pair these with foods high in vitamin C such as oranges and strawberries.
5. Stay active and hydrated.
Usually two and a half hours per week of light exercise is recommended, but you may want to check with your doctor first to learn what's best for you and your pregnancy. Walking, swimming, and pre-natal yoga are all great options. Especially because you going to exercising, remember to replenish fluids by drinking roughly eight to 10 glasses of water a day.
More questions? Nutritionists on Amwell are available can help!