Eating right when you're 'expecting' - WTNZ FOX 43 Knoxville, TN

Health

Eating right when you're 'expecting'

Eating right can be a challenge for pregnant moms - you're only eating about 300 more calories a day, and that's not much.

Dr. Angela Pratt says, "The old myth that we should be eating for two is no longer the case."

Pratt says you should start with a healthy, balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, and foods high in vitamins C, A and D.

Folic acid is very important - it's recommended moms-to-be start taking the supplement three to six months before they even plan on getting pregnant.

"Folic acid, if not in the right amounts, it can lead to neuro-tube defects and birth defects for babies," adds Dr. Pratt. 

Dr. Pratt recommends taking a prenatal vitamin with 800 micrograms of folic acid. DHA, calcium and iron supplements are also encouraged.

"We recommend that calcium and iron not be taken together because they like each other and they bind, so pregnant moms that come to see me, I ask them to take their calcium for breakfast and dinner and then their iron at the midday at lunch," says Dr. Pratt.

There are also some foods you'll want to stay away from. 

"We want everything from the dairy to be pasteurized. So we want you to avoid soft cheeses," says Dr. Pratt. "For pregnant moms, we like for them to keep their sugar count a little lower. We like them not to be eating a lot of refined sugar. You can have one serving of fruit a day." 

Make sure everything you eat is well cooked and avoid raw foods.

To limit the mercury you consume, limit fish to two tuna can-sized servings a week. Also, avoid large fish like marlin, swordfish and king mackerel.

"Processed deli meats should be heated before you consume them, because there's bacteria number one, and number two they carry a lot of preservatives and nitrates," says Dr. Pratt.

To avoid salmonella, fruits and veggies should be washed well.

"If it's a bacteria, then babies can have problems with growth. And they can have infections that can severely affect their neurologic system," says Dr. Pratt.

And we know you may like your caffeine, but think twice. Pratt says, "There was a study that came out that said if you consumed more than three caffeinated drinks a day that you could increase your risk of miscarriage. So we always recommend just one caffeinated drink, and to limit it to that."

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