Food & Pregnancy


Dietary Concerns: The pattern of weight gain during pregnancy is not the same for everyone. During the first three months there is very little weight gain. In the last six months the weight gain is expected to be ½ to 1-pound weekly. The total expected weight gain in pregnancy is between 25 and 35 pounds. If you have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index), the recommended weight gain is less. If your BMI is low, the recommended weight gain is more. Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended. Concentrate on eating the right foods. If you eat the proper amount of foods from all 4 food groups and avoid foods that have little to no nutritional value, you will not have to worry about your weight.

Vegetarian Diet: A diet that includes milk, cheese, eggs, cereals, nuts, and seeds in addition to vegetables and fruits can be adequate for pregnancy. Grains and vegetables can be combined to form complete proteins that the body can use.

Lactose Intolerance: Lactose is a sugar that is present naturally in many dairy products. Normally an enzyme secreted by the small intestine breaks down lactose during digestion. If you are lactose intolerant, this enzyme is missing, which can cause symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, and cramps. Avoiding foods with lactose is the most common treatment for this. Eating yogurt and hard cheeses may provide the protein and calcium you need, but if you’re not getting enough from these sources, please let our office know.

Cravings: Some pregnant women find they have a strong desire to eat things that are not foods, such as clay or laundry starch. This craving is called “PICA”. If you’re experiencing this craving, please contact our office.

Raw Meat: Uncooked seafood, rare or undercooked meat should be avoided. They hold a risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. Make sure your meats are cooked to the appropriate temperature prior to consuming. Also ensure that you are not using the same utensils (knives, forks, plates, etc.) that touched the raw meat with cooked meat.

Deli Meat: Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with Listeria. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and infect the baby, leading to infection or blood poisoning, potentially leading to miscarriage or still birth. If you are considering consuming deli meats, make sure you are heating until steaming.

Liver: Liver has a large amount of Vitamin A. Large quantities of Vitamin A have the potential to pose a risk to an unborn baby. It is recommended not to consume liver during pregnancy.

Raw Eggs: Raw eggs or any foods containing raw eggs should be avoided due to the risk of salmonella. Unpasteurized eggnog should also be avoided.

Soft Cheese: Imported soft cheese may contain listeria as well. These cheeses include: Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Feta, Gorgonzola, and Mexican style cheeses such as queso Blanco and queso fresco. Soft non-imported cheeses made with pasteurized milk are completely safe to eat.

Unpasteurized Milk: Unpasteurized milk may also contain listeria. Make sure that all the dairy you consume is from pasteurized milk.

Caffeine: Caffeine in moderation is ok.  Pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day. This is equal to about one 12 oz cup of coffee.

Alcohol: There is NO amount of alcohol that is safe to take during pregnancy. Therefore, alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy. Should you have a question regarding this, or have an issue with alcohol, please let our office know.

Unwashed Vegetables: It is essential to make sure your fruits and vegetables are washed well to avoid potential exposure to toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis may contaminate the soil which the vegetables were grown in.


Mercury Risk: Fish that contains high levels of mercury should be avoided. Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. Fish that should be avoided include: Shark, Swordfish, Kink Mackerel, Fresh Tuna, Sea Bass, and Tilefish. Canned chunk light/white tuna generally has less amount of mercury than other tuna, however, should not consume more than 12 oz. in a week.

Contaminated Fish: It is best to avoid fish from contaminated lakes, rivers, or ponds. These fish include: Blue Fish, Striped Bass, Salmon, Pike, Trout, and Walleye. This is regarding fish caught in local waters, and not fish that is commercially sold in the grocery store or fish market.

Raw Shellfish: The majority of seafood borne illness is caused by undercooked shellfish. These include: Oysters, Clams, and Mussels. Cooking can help prevent some types of food borne pathogens but does not prevent all algae related infections associated with some red tides. Raw shellfish poses a concern for everybody but should be avoided especially in pregnancy.

Sushi: Though there is sushi that is both raw and cooked, it is not recommended for consumption during pregnancy, as cross contamination from the knives they cut with can be passed from the raw fish to the cooked product.

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