Pregnancy nutrition tips

Below there are a few suggestions that I found particularly helpful and a few things to avoid. This is by no means an exhaustive diet plan that spells out every meal in carbohydrates, fats, and sugars – just common sense tips and favourites.

General suggestions

  1. Eat 5-6 smaller meals instead of 2-3 larger ones. This will help in case of morning sickness or heartburn and will aid digestion.
  2. Eat sufficient fiber (such as fruits and vegetables) to aid digestion. Eat prunes, figs, or dried apricots if constipation is an issue.
  3. Eat some pineapple, papaya, or a few unbleached almonds right after a meal to prevent heartburn.
  4. Drink plenty of water.
  5. Avoid alcohol. There is research showing that large quantities of alcohol cause premature delivery and low birth weight. There is no research that determines a “safe” dose during pregnancy. So even if having one drink once in a while is not proven to cause issues, we do not yet know when it becomes one drink too many.
  6. Avoid uncooked meat (such as deli meats) and undercooked meat.
  7. Avoid soft cheeses.
  8. Avoid raw/undercooked eggs.
  9. Avoid raw fish (unfortunately that means sushi).
  10. Avoid seafood that is high in mercury and PCBs.  See the Toronto Public Health’s “Guide to Eating Fish for Women, Children and Families”. Take purified/distilled (free from PCBs) Omega3 supplement.
  11. If you are a vegetarian, make sure you are getting enough vitamin B12. See more dietary guidelines for vegetarians.

My personal favourite pregnancy foods:

  • Watermelon
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Bananas
  • Plain yogurt with raisins or fresh berries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Mango
  • Buckwheat
  • Bagels
  • Peaches
  • Baby greens
  • Spicy Thai dishes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Grapes
  • Fresh corn
  • Various nuts
  • Carrots and hummus
  • Gouda cheese and crackers
  • Bean borsch
  • Steamed green beans
  • Fresh vegetables

Pregnancy drink ideas

  • Perrier
  • Iced teas made at home – I steep 2 different teas with aromas that complement each other, mix them, add cold water and a few slices of lemon and cool
  • Pure cranberry juice
  • Fruit juices

No real substitute for alcohol

  • I have not found a substitute for wine better than grape juice
  • Non-alcoholic sparkling wines tend to be way too sweet for my taste, although mulled apple cider is not bad
  • Non-alcoholic beer is ok if what you actually want is the bitter taste
  • At parties virgin piña coladas work well: coconut cream, pineapple juice and ice mixed in desired proportions, can be garnished with maraschino cherries or pineapple slices
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