Pregnancy is a time of physical and emotional changes, and nutrition plays a critical role in supporting the health and development of the mother and her growing baby.
With so many conflicting opinions and information available, it's no wonder that expectant mothers have many questions about what to eat during pregnancy. Diet is an essential component of prenatal health and can have a significant impact on both the mother and the developing fetus.
Additionally, a healthy diet can also help the mother gain a healthy amount of weight, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, and manage other pregnancy-related symptoms such as nausea and fatigue.
At OnPoint Nutrition, we have helped more than 3,000 people like you who want to manage their health at various times and conditions. Many have trusted us to help them develop a lifestyle that supports their best overall health and an optimal pregnancy.
This article will address some of the most frequently asked questions about prenatal nutrition and provide evidence-based advice to help guide you through this exciting journey.
Whether you're looking to optimize your health, manage pregnancy symptoms, or ensure your baby gets the nutrients they need, read on to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Prenatal Nutrition
Attempting to navigate the nuances of a prenatal diet can become discouraging and stressful during what should be a happy and exciting time in your life.
So we are here to help answer some of the most common and pressing questions to put your mind at ease.
1. What should I eat during pregnancy to ensure proper nutrition for my baby?
During pregnancy, it's essential to eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Adequate intake of key nutrients such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent birth defects, low birth weight, and preterm delivery.
Some examples of nutrient-dense foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins such as poultry, low-mercury fish, eggs, tofu, and legumes
- Dairy or dairy alternatives
- Nuts and seeds
2. Is it necessary to take prenatal vitamins while pregnant?
Prenatal vitamins are beneficial in ensuring you and your baby get all the necessary nutrients during pregnancy, especially if you cannot eat a well-balanced diet every day. At OnPoint, we do recommend our clients take a prenatal vitamin. However, it's always best to discuss with your healthcare provider which prenatal vitamins are right for you.
3. Can I eat fish during pregnancy?
Yes, fish can be part of a healthy pregnancy diet. Fish are a great source of lean protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, but it's essential to be mindful of certain types of fish that can contain high levels of mercury (such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish). Limiting these types of fish in your regular consumption and choosing low-mercury options such as salmon, tilapia, and cod is recommended.
4. Is it safe to drink coffee during pregnancy?
Coffee is a happy part of the day for many adult females. Just because you are pregnant does not mean you have to go cold-turkey. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests limiting caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams per day during pregnancy. This is equivalent to one 12-ounce cup of coffee.
Caffeine can cross the placenta and affect the developing fetus so it is important to be mindful of your consumption and continue to moderate it during your pregnancy.
Switching to a decaf option is also a great alternative when adjusting your regular consumption of caffeine. It is important to note that some sources of caffeine, like energy drinks and chocolate, can contain large amounts of caffeine and should be consumed in moderation.
5. What should I do if I have morning sickness and can't eat anything?
Pregnancy brings a whirlwind of hormonal and digestive upset. Morning sickness is no exception to the disruptions experienced along the way (unless you are super lucky!) If you're experiencing morning sickness, try eating small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of large meals. Snacking on crackers or sipping ginger tea can also help alleviate nausea. If you're struggling to eat, you must talk to your healthcare provider ASAP.
6. Are artificial sweeteners safe during pregnancy?
The safety of artificial sweeteners during pregnancy is still under investigation. Limiting their consumption and opting for natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup instead is the recommended, healthy alternative if you are trying to avoid other types of common sweeteners.
7. Can I still drink alcohol during pregnancy?
This is one of those hot topics that have varying opinions. A quick search is going to say 100 different things about alcohol and pregnancy.
It's best to just be safe and avoid alcohol entirely during pregnancy–particularly as overconsumption is subjective and can harm the developing fetus. If you're struggling to quit, we suggest talking to your healthcare provider for support as soon as possible.
8. Is it safe to continue eating a vegetarian or vegan diet during pregnancy?
Yes, a vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy during pregnancy, but it's important to ensure that you get enough protein, iron, calcium, and B12. It's recommended to consult with a registered dietitian to create a well-balanced meal plan that meets all your nutritional needs.
9. What are some of the best sources of iron for pregnant women?
Iron is an essential part of any diet and low iron levels can cause low blood oxygenation and can leave you short of breath and fatigued In pregnancy, it is important for the growth and development of the baby, as well as the mother's blood supply. Some of the best sources of iron for pregnant women include lean red meat, poultry, fish, legumes, tofu, iron-fortified cereals and bread, and leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale.
10. What are some healthy snacks for pregnant women?
It is important to choose snacks that are nutrient-dense and provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Avoid empty calorie snacks like candy, cookies, and chips as they provide little nutrition and can lead to unnecessary weight gain (but feel free to indulge from time to time!).
Healthy snacks for pregnant women include:
- fresh fruit
- raw veggies with hummus
- cheese and crackers
- nuts and seeds
- granola or protein bars
How Can An Online Dietitian Help With Prenatal Nutrition?
During pregnancy, nourishing your body with the proper nutrients for you and your growing baby is crucial. However, determining which foods to eat and which to avoid can be challenging, especially if you have specific dietary restrictions.
A registered dietitian, as a knowledgeable nutrition coach, can help tailor your diet to meet your specific needs, taking into account all of your particular circumstances related to your pregnancy.
At OnPoint Nutrition, our team of online nutrition coaches takes a systematic approach to holistic prenatal nutrition counseling. Our team of qualified professionals is here and ready to assist you in providing the best nutrition for you and your baby.
Taking the Next Steps
Our approach to prenatal nutrition is science-based and tailored to your individual needs. During the online program, a registered dietitian will monitor your progress to ensure positive results and optimal health for both you and your baby.
Expect compassionate care and the most relevant, up-to-date information and guidance provided by OnPoint Nutrition's team of nutrition experts.
Get in touch with OnPoint Nutrition's team of registered dietitians, available online, to live a healthier and more fulfilling pregnancy.
Let us put you in a position of strength to pursue the best nutrition for you and your baby.
Abby Aikens is a Content Manager who works with OnPoint Nutrition to spread the word about better health. With an arsenal of Dietitians and Nutritionists at her finger tips, Abby aids the mission of improving access to valuable information about how nutrition can change lives. Abby knows well the power of good nutrition and believes in the mission of OnPoint to educate and bring better health to their clients.