"What's for Dinner?" Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts for a Healthy Baby

"What's for Dinner?" Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts for a Healthy Baby

You’re pregnant, and you’re HUNGRY . . .  Thank goodness you can eat for two . . . right? 

Hold the fork! 

You’re actually NOT “eating” for two.  You may not even need any extra calories in the first two trimesters . . . though you feel hungry enough to! 

Here are some pregnancy nutrition do’s and don’ts to ensure you are taking the best care of yourself and your baby.


DO eat a well-balanced meal and exercise.

Getting the right balance of foods and nutrients will help satisfy that hunger by giving your body what it truly needs. Talk with your doctor or nutritionist about the right combination of foods for you.  Include a lot of color (particularly greens!), and make sure you are getting a healthy balance of carbohydrates and fiber, protein, and fats. 

Exercise will help with your metabolism and maintaining or decreasing your weight.  If you already have an exercise plan, stick to it, as long as you have your doctor’s approval and are paying attention to your body and any potential pain or fatigue.  If you don’t currently exercise, any increased movement can be helpful, even getting up and walking around more often.

Do NOT “diet”. 

A high BMI (body mass index) is actually a common concern of doctors for their patients.  Possible risks in being overweight and pregnant can include a higher risk of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, blood clots, post-partum hemorrhaging, and c-section. 

However, dieting -- cutting back food intake -- is not the answer, as this can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can be hazardous to the baby’s health and development.


DO eat sea food!

Sea food is an excellent source of important nutrients like Omega 3’s which is great for your baby’s brain development. 

Do NOT eat sea food that may be high in mercury.

Avoid tilefish, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel, bigeye tuna, marlin, and orange roughy.  If you eat fish that is not from the grocery store -- from a river, stream or lake – check your local fishing regulations website or local health department.


DO eat meat (or other foods high in protein and iron)

Your baby needs protein, particularly in the second and third trimesters.  Iron helps carry to both you and your growing baby and helps with fatigue, weakness, irritability, and depression.

Do NOT eat raw or deli meat.

Avoid listeria, salmonella, and toxoplasmosis, bacterial and blood borne illnesses that can be very harmful for pregnant women.  (Toxoplasmosis is also the reason you should not be cleaning the kitty’s litterbox!)


DO drink plenty of water.

8-10 glasses a day.  Check the transparency of your urine to watch for signs of dehydration, and if you’re thirsty – you’ve been dehydrated for a while.  Not only is water great for your overall health, it’s critical for the baby.  Water helps form the placenta and the amniotic sac.

Do NOT drink alcohol, coffee, unpasteurized milk, or certain herbal teas

Don’t run the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. No amount of alcohol has been proven safe for the baby.  Though most studies show that moderate caffeine intake is ok, some studies have shown that caffeine may be related to miscarriages.  Particularly avoid caffeine in the first trimester. 

Avoid unpasteurized milk to prevent the chance of listeria, and do your research before taking in any herbal teas.  Large amounts of some herbs like peppermint and raspberry leaf tea may cause contractions and increase the risk of preterm labor.


DO take vitamins, particularly folic acid, vitamin C, and Vitamin D, calcium, and iron.

Particularly with the change in soil quality and overall nutritional value in food. A healthy diet alone may not provide enough nutrients for a growing baby.  Getting extra of the proper nutrients is important to the development of the fetus to help prevent birth defects.  Do your research and be sure to choose vitamin sources backed by scientific studies and free from potential contaminants.

Do NOT overdose on vitamins or take medications without doctor’s permission.

Consult with your doctor on vitamin dosage and do not take any medication without first checking with your doctor.  You may find there are alternate options for you.

Now you’re on your way! Follow these tips for a healthy you and a healthy baby.

Any of these surprise you?  Share your comments below!