What Should I Eat & Drink While Pregnant?

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While pregnant, eating and drinking habits should be altered to increase 500 calories a day, increase servings of dairy, avoid raw meats, avoid large fish, minimize caffeine and eliminate alcohol. Follow a healthy diet while pregnant with helpful information from a certified nurse-midwife in this free video on pregnancy.

Part of the Video Series: Pregnancy Information
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Video Transcript

Well you're pregnant, and you're wondering what you should eat or drink, or how do you do things differently now that you're pregnant. This is Mavis Schorn. I'm a nurse-midwife and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Generally, you know what a healthy diet is, well-balanced diet, and that's what you want to do in pregnancy. The only thing different, if you're already eating a well-balanced diet, you increase your calories by five hundred. If you, if all you did was increase your milk or milk products, because most women don't get quite enough of those for pregnancy. You need four servings. That can be a small glass of milk; it can be a slice of cheese; it can be a container of yogurt or cottage cheese. All of those are what I'm talking about as a serving. You should have four of those a day. If all you do is increase that then you're going to get those five hundred extra calories. And do keep in mind that milk can be skim milk. It does not have to be whole milk. The only difference between all those different percentages of milk is the fat content. If you're used to whole milk you might want to try two percent. Go down the list one notch at a time so you can have a little bit less fat and still have the the good parts of milk. Now, there are some guidelines about what not to eat in pregnancy that's important to know. You don't want to eat raw foods, ok, generally, so raw fish, so sushi, the sushi bar is your favorite pick the things that don't have raw fish in them until after your pregnancy. Raw meat, so your beef and chicken you want cooked all the way through. This is the time for the well-done steak. And fish, I already mentioned sushi; you don't want it raw, but also consider what kind of fish when it's cooked. The large fish that have that would have been found to have been high in mercury are those big fish like swordfish, tilefish, and ask if you're not sure when you get it. Now, the normal tuna that you get in a can; those are usually okay. If it's white albacore tuna that tends to be a little higher in mercury, so regular other tuna's ok, white albacore; no, and the, and the really big fish, not so much. Otherwise, fish has a lot of great contents in it, so it's okay to have, you know, once or twice a week. Now, some other things to watch are are some of the cheeses; the soft cheeses or unpasteurized cheeses, so that would be things like Brie or goat cheese. Deli meats; be careful of those. There is a risk of listeriosis in there. So, that includes hot dogs, but also those other sliced like bologna and other things; the ham that you can get from the deli meat. If you have those and you like to eat em' the best thing is to go ahead and cook them, but you may want to just be on the cautious side and not have them at all. So, let's go ahead and talk about some liquids; things, and often I get asked about caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. Small amounts of caffeine a day is probably okay. We have, there has been, there have been studies that have shown large quantities of caffeine have been associated with miscarriage, so I would decrease it if you're a heavy caffeine drinker. Once a day is fine. Those those cokes that you're drinking; they actually have no good nutritional value in them, and they're very heavy in sugar. And if you're a diet coke drinker then the artificial sweeteners as best we know are of safe in pregnancy, but again, you're really getting no nutritional content from it. Another one that's an really is a important one and that is alcohol. Now, in in years past we didn't know too much about alcohol and pregnancy, but now we know it really is not a safe thing to do in pregnancy at any amount, cause' there is no set amount that we know is going to affect your particular baby. For one person it might be one glass of wine a day. For another it's, you know, a whole, a lot, several glasses, but who wants to take a chance with their particular baby. So, the guideline is no alcohol in pregnancy. Now, you may have some special needs. If you're a vegetarian then you need to talk with your provider about how you want to deal with your particular diet to get enough protein in pregnancy. If you are overweight or underweight going into pregnancy, if you've had a history of an eating disorder or you're currently battling an eating disorder it's very important to discuss with your provider.

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