Prenatal Diet

 By: Dr. Matthew Romberg
Congratulations! You have your bun in the oven and you are already doing the right thing by researching how to take care of yourself and your baby. Diet is one of the foremost things on many pregnant women’s list of priorities. It is something you can do every day to ensure a happy, healthy pregnancy.

First, we will discuss what to avoid. Caffeine is the big one up for debate here. Some experts agree that a couple of small cups of coffee per day are fine. Others disagree and suggest that you are better off safe than sorry. If you just can not survive without it, then talk to your doctor about possible risks before you proceed to that corner coffee shop.

Seafood should be limited to about two servings per week. You should completely avoid fish containing a lot of mercury, such as shark, swordfish and King Mackerel. Your OBGYN may also have a comprehensive list of local fare that may also be high in mercury.

Artificial sweeteners are not necessarily bad in moderation, but keep in mind that the full effects of artificial sweeteners may be unknown. Some can build up in your system and become more harmful over time.

Some things, such as chamomile tea, may seem harmless but can actually be dangerous. Rose hip teas, ginger, lemon, and citrus peel teas have been found safe. If you have questions about your favorite herbal teas, be sure to check with your doctor first.

Your basic prenatal diet should consist of many fruits and vegetables plus some source of protein at every meal. It is very important not to skip meals. The baby will quickly rob you of nutrients that you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy.

Calcium is very important during pregnancy. You and your baby need a lot more than normal, about 1,000 mg or more per day. You may consider taking a supplement if you do not eat 5-6 servings of dairy per day. Vitamin D is also necessary for calcium absorption. Check your prenatal vitamins for calcium and Vitamin D content. Make sure that at least some of your calcium comes from food because it can be more absorbable than in pill form. If you can not have dairy, consider vegetable sources, such as broccoli and spinach.

Prenatal vitamins are necessary even if you eat a completely healthy and balanced diet. Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, or folate, needed to reduce the risk of problems, such as Neural Tube Defects. Ideally, you should take a folate supplement from the first day of your pregnancy, or even before you become pregnant.

Iron is very important for the baby’s blood supply. You can get extra iron into your diet by eating nuts, red meat, chicken, whole grains and cereals that are iron fortified. Your OBGYN should test your iron levels to see if you will need a supplement.

Talk with your OBGYN about your body’s specific needs. If you are looking for an experienced and skilled Round Rock OBGYN in Texas, consider Heart of Texas Women’s Center.
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