HONOLULU, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thinking of having a baby? There are some things you should know about nutrition during and before pregnancy. Malika went to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children to get some tips.
Eating right can be a challenge for pregnant moms, now remember you're only eating about 300 more calories a day. That's not much. "Three hundred calories, is you know, like a protein bar. The old myth that we should be eating for two is no longer the case. We want to gain only 25 pounds in pregnancy," said Dr. Angela Pratt. She says you should start with a healthy balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, and foods high in vitamins C, A and D.
"Folic acid is also a big player in our diet we want to be able to have all the resources that the baby is going to need to be healthy and to grow," she said. Folic acid is so important, it's recommended moms-to-be start taking the supplement three to six months before they even plan on getting pregnant. Dr. Pratt explains, "Folic acid not in the right amounts can lead to birth defects for babies."
She recommends taking a prenatal vitamin with 800 micrograms of folic acid. DHA, calcium and iron supplements are also encouraged. "We recommend that calcium and iron not be taken together because they like each other and they bind so pregnant moms that come to see me I ask them to take their calcium for breakfast and dinner and their iron at the midday at lunch," said Dr. Pratt.
There are also some foods you'll want to stay away from. "We want everything from the dairy to be pasteurized. So we want you to avoid soft cheeses. For pregnant moms we like for them to keep their sugar content a little lower. We like them to not be eating a lot of refined sugar. You can have one serving of fruit a day," said Dr. Pratt.
Make sure everything you eat is well cooked and avoid raw foods. To limit the mercury you consume, you can eat fish but limit it to two tuna can sized servings a week. Also avoid large fish like marlin, swordfish and king mackerel.
"The question about deli meats, there's a couple of things, one is processed deli meats should be heated before you consume them, because there's bacteria number one, and number two they carry a lot of preservatives and nitrates. To avoid salmonella, fruits and veggies should be washed well. If it's a bacteria, then babies can have problems with growth, and they can have infections that can severely affect their neurologic system," she says.
And mama, i know you like your caffeine, but think twice. Dr. Pratt explains, "There was a study that came out that said that if you consume more than three caffeinated drinks a day that you could increase your risk of miscarry so we always recommend just one caffeinated drink and to limit it to that. If we're taking our vitamins, eating balanced, we're giving baby the best start. I always say 9 months for you a lifetime for your baby."
Click HERE for a link to the Babycenter website.
Click HERE for a link to the ACOG website.
Click HERE for a link to the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children website.