When many women become pregnant they really start to rethink their diet. Some of the commonly asked questions are “Am I eating enough?" "Am I eating the right things?" and “Should I be taking vitamins?"
Here to answer some of those questions is registered dietitian Sunny Yingling, who happens to be pregnant herself.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Fish & Seafood:
• Omega 3 fatty acids from fish are involved in visual & neurological development & function
• may be important for the timing of gestation and birth weight as well
• Dietary Sources of omega 3’s also include: ground flax seed, canola oil, soybean oil, & walnuts but to focus on the benefits to fetal brain development, focus on fish
• Can also look for products fortified with DHA + EPA
• 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 8 to 12 ounces of seafood a week for pregnant women — or about two average meals.
• Avoid raw fish and shellfish to avoid ingesting harmful bacteria or viruses, refrigerated smoked seafood, such as lox, also is off-limits.
• fish oil supplements, containing both EPA and DHA, and algae-derived DHA-only oils are a means of supplementing the diet of a pregnant woman – check with your doctor
• Too much mercury could damage the baby's developing nervous system
• avoid fish high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
• albacore tuna has higher mercury content than other canned options, it should be limited to six ounces per week
• reduces the risk of birth defects affecting the brain & spinal cord
• women who are pregnant should increase their intake to 600 micrograms per day
• good sources include enriched/fortified grains, leafy greens, beans and lentils, citrus fruit juices
• amount of blood in your body increases by about 20-30%
• needed to make sure pregnant women are not at risk for anemia
• pregnant women need at least 27 milligrams of iron each day
• high-iron foods include meat, chicken, fish, beans, fortified cereals, leafy greens
• look for 20% DV or more on food label
• needed for the healthy development of a baby’s teeth, bones, heart, nerves and muscles.
• if a pregnant woman does not consume enough calcium, it is taken from her bones for the baby
• consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day before, during and after pregnancy
• focus on including at least 3 servings of dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, kefir)
• if lactose intolerant, look for products fortified with calcium along with lactose free dairy