By Tracy Frandsen, MD
I like to eat. But, I’m not eating for two. At the same time, I like to be healthy. So, how should my eating be different than someone eating for two?
- American diets don’t require vitamin supplements. But, pregnancy diets do. You should be on a Pre-natal vitamin that has at least 400 micrograms of folic acid or folate (up to 1 mg) several months before becoming pregnant. If you didn’t start using supplements at the beginning of your pregnancy, start as soon as possible. It is most important during the first three months. At the same time, taking too many vitamins can be a problem. A good Pre-natal vitamin includes Vitamin D, 400 IU. So, there is not a need to take extra. But, amounts over 4,000 IU can be dangerous for your baby. Large amounts of Vitamin A, greater than 10,000 Units can cause birth defects. You don’t need more than is in the Pre-natal Vitamin. Large amounts of Vitamin E may also cause heart problems in your fetus.
- I love Japanese food. Should you? Is it OK to eat fish while pregnant? Like most foods, the answer is ‘Yes and No.’ You should not eat fish that could have a lot of mercury in them: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Mercury can affect the baby’s brain. Other types of fish and seafood like shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock, and catfish are OK as long as it is not more than two times per week. Sushi that has been frozen and thawed should be OK. Alcohol while pregnant is never OK. I don’t EVER recommend alcohol with your fish—or any food.
- I love to sleep. But, I don’t always get enough. Is it OK to have caffeine while pregnant? The answer, once again, is ‘Yes and No.’ There is some concern that caffeine may contribute to an early miscarriage. But, there is no evidence that it causes a problem with the fetus. You should limit the caffeine to only 1-2 cups of caffeine-containing fluids. Energy drinks should not be consumed.
- I love milk. And, I love a good burger. Should I, if I am pregnant? (Not that I ever will be.) Unpasteurized milk or raw or undercooked meat could give you an infection that could cause a miscarriage. But, pasteurized milk and well-cooked meat are good sources of calcium and protein for you and your baby.
- I want to be healthy. And, so should you. Lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and sources of protein like well-cooked meat, the fish above, eggs, dried peas or beans, and nuts are good for you.
Even though you might be eating for two, you don’t need that much extra food. Will post again with weight recommendations for pregnancy. I love food. So, should you. Happy eating during your gestational period.