Now that you're pregnant, keep in mind that although you need to increase your food intake to support your growing baby, you only need to add 300 calories to your average daily intake! Make sure that you are making healthy choices during snacks and mealtimes, such as fruits and vegetables and decreasing your fatty food intake. Eating frequent, small meals has also been shown to help reduce the occasional nausea associated with pregnancy.
Some foods should be avoided completely due to the fact that they may contain bacteria (E.Coli, Listeria, etc.) that may be harmful to the baby. During development, our body directs more of our resources to the growing fetus and takes away from other mechanisms of defense, making the body more susceptible to illness and bacteria, which normally do not pose a threat.
Foods that should be avoided include:
- "Doggie Bags": Taking your leftovers home with you is OK as long as you can get it into your refrigerator in less than 2 hours. After a few hours, harmful bacteria may begin to grow on your food.
- Alcohol: This is a given. Recent studies have shown that no amount of alcohol has been proven do be safe to consume during pregnancy.
- Caffeine: For those of you who rely on your morning cup of coffee, studies have shown that consuming less that 200mg of caffeine per day will not harm your baby. This is the equivalent of one cup of coffee.
- Unpasteurized milk: This should be avoided since the pasteurization process eliminates potential bacteria from the milk. It is safe to drink pasteurized milk (the kind bought at grocery stores).
- Pot Luck: Sitting out of your family's holiday get-together is notnecessary but be weary of foods that are left out unrefrigerated for over 2 hours, especially cream-based dishes.
- Local Fish: Local fish should be avoided if it known to have high levels of mercury. Often times, signs are posted near local fishing areas, warning fishermen.
- Raw Shellfish/Seafood: Due to the potential for bacteria, raw seafood and shellfish should be avoided. This includes sushi.
- Raw Sprouts
- Unwashed fruits and veggies: Harmful bacteria may reside on the surface of your food so make sure you rinse them before consuming.
- Meat spreads and Deli meats: Due to their potential to harbor harmful bacteria, make sure you cook your meat thoroughly before eating. Also, any meat that you eat should be cooked well-done, no more medium-rare steaks for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Raw eggs: Raw eggs may also contain harmful bacteria and should be avoided. This includes raw cookie dough and homemade caesar dressing. Pasteurized eggs can be bought for consumption that are safer for the pregnant mother.
- Finally, soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, feta, blue cheese, queso blanco and queso fresco should be eliminated from your diet during pregnancy due to potential bacteria.