There is a wealth of conflicting information, and even downright misinformation, available out there about diet during pregnancy. Most pregnant women are concerned about eating properly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout their months of pregnancy, but get confused about what’s okay and what’s not.
You can modify your diet and make healthy steps to ensure your own wellbeing, and your baby’s, throughout pregnancy. The best way to start is to read through these top five concerns about a healthy diet during pregnancy. Chances are, if you are confused about what’s best for you and your baby during pregnancy, you can begin finding your answers in this article.
Q. How much caffeine is safe to consume during pregnancy?
A. If you have just found out you’re pregnant and have a strong addiction to caffeine thanks to coffee, tea, or sodas—relax. You don’t have to break your addictions by going off caffeine cold-turkey. In fact, most physicians advise against doing so, because the detox can be extremely difficult on your body and can make you feel quite ill.
You can safely consume up to 150mg of caffeine throughout your pregnancy, which is the equivalent of one cup of coffee, or two cups of black tea. So if you need to step down your caffeine consumption, try bringing it down slowly over time.
You can switch from coffee to black tea, then move to green tea and white tea. If you want to completely eliminate caffeine from your diet, try weaning yourself down to herbal teas.
Q. Are artificial sweeteners okay? What about real sugar?
A. Artificial sweeteners are not recommended during pregnancy, because the jury is still out about the chemicals they contain.
Studies show that chemicals such as sucralose (Splenda), saccharine, and aspartame can contribute to significant health problems in the fetus.
Real sugar is not recommended in large amounts, as it can contribute to pregnancy-induced diabetes, weight gain, and the development of a large fetus. Try to quell your sweet tooth with all-natural sugar substitutes, like stevia, xylitol, agave syrup, and raw honey.
Q. Can I eat shrimp while pregnant? What about other seafoods?
A. There are certain types of seafood that are high in mercury and should be avoided completely during pregnancy. These include king mackerel, shark, marlin, orange roughy, grouper, and tilefish. Shrimp is relatively low in mercury and can be enjoyed twice a week, in portions of no more than 6 ounces each.
If you want to increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids without upping your intake of mercury, you can enjoy salmon, sardines, and anchovies up to two times weekly, in servings of no more than 6 ounces each.
Q. How much weight is okay to gain during pregnancy?
A. Many women are terrified of gaining too much weight during pregnancy, because dieting after your baby can be quite difficult. However, you must realize that some weight gain during pregnancy is not only normal, it’s desirable as well. A weight gain of between 20 and 30 pounds is perfectly normal, and you can easily lose the weight after you have your baby by sticking to a healthy and active lifestyle.
Q. Can I exercise while I am pregnant?
A. Exercise is great for pregnant women, as it can help decrease aches and pains, increase blood circulation throughout your body, and keep you in shape for labor. Exercise that is jarring, hard on the joints, or could cause you to fall is generally not recommended. However, no-impact or low-impact exercise such as swimming, prenatal yoga, walking, or gentle aerobics are all great for getting you in shape for the big day!