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Nutrition and Weight
Babies grow and develop rapidly during their nine months in the womb. Your diet is the source of nutrients and energy that support this rapid development. Studies illustrate dramatically how closely baby’s health at birth is tied to mother’s diet during pregnancy.

Good nutritional habits are essential during the gestation period. On a daily basis, you need to eat:
  • Four servings of protein.
  • Two servings of vitamin C foods.
  • Four servings of calcium-rich foods.
  • Three servings of green leafy and yellow vegetables and yellow fruits.
  • Two servings of other fruits and vegetables.
  • Five servings of whole grains and legumes.
  • Iron-rich foods.
  • At least 64 ounces of fluids. (Not including caffeine-based fluids. Milk counts for only 2/3 water.)
You may have misconceptions about salt intake during pregnancy. Just salt your food to taste, and avoid salt restriction unless otherwise instructed.

No Alcohol
Finally, please do not drink alcohol. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a direct result of alcohol ingestion during pregnancy and is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation. Other adverse effects include facial abnormalities, decreased height, hyperactivity, problems with learning, attention, memory, problem solving, poor coordination, impulsiveness, and speech and hearing impairments that persists into adolescence and adulthood.

We do not know if there is a threshold below which alcohol can be consumed without harming the fetus. Because of this, we recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women abstain from alcohol use, pending confirmation of alcohol’s role in fetal development.

Normal Weight Gain
Desirable weight gain is based on your pre-pregnancy BMI (Body Mass Index). During the first three months of pregnancy, a gain of five pounds is average. For the remainder of the pregnancy, an average gain is about ¾ to one pound a week. Please reference the chart below for BMI and recommended weight gain.

BMI Recommended wt. gain
<19.8 28-40lb.
19.8-36 25-35lb.
26-29 15-25lb.
>29 15lb.

Weight loss during pregnancy is undesirable because it may result in harm to your baby. It is better to gain excess weight than to gain too little weight.

Listeria
Listeria is a harmful bacteria that can grow at refrigerator temperatures where most food borne bacteria do not. It causes an illness called Listeriosis. It if found in refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods and unpasteurized milk and milk products. Following simple food handling steps should keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. These steps can be found at www.cfsan.fda.gov/pregnancy.html. Foods that may increase your risk of listeria include: FDA Moms-to-Be info
  • Unheated hotdogs and lunchmeat
  • Unpasteurized soft cheeses: Feta, Brie, Camembert, Blue Cheese, Panela
  • Refrigerated pates or meat spreads
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk
More information can be found at:

Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasma is a harmful parasite that can cause an illness called toxoplasmosis. It is found in raw uncooked meats, unwashed fruits and vegetables, soil, cat litter boxes and outdoor areas where cat feces can be found. Following simple food handling steps can decrease your risk and can be found at www.cfsan.fda.gov/pregnancy.html. Other ways to prevent risk include:
  • Have someone else change the litter box.
  • Wear gloves when gardening.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables and then wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Avoid getting new cats during pregnancy.
  • Cook meats to proper temperature.
More information can be found at:
What you need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish
Click to learn more about this topic on the FDA site Mercury is a naturally occurring element that presents as a heavy liquid at room temperature. In its elemental form, mercury is not considered biologically available: although when spilled in the home or workplace mercury vapors do present a long-term risk for inhalation. Methyl mercury is found in the environment and is biologically available: i.e., readily absorbed by the human body. Mercury finds its way into land, air, and water when mercury- containing products are manufactured or disposed of through incineration, landfill, or other improper means of disposal. Once returned to the environment, mercury interacts with organic elements to become methyl mercury. Mercury enters the food chain when animals consume it, including fish.

Fish higher on the food chain, such as shark, swordfish, King Mackerel, and Tilefish have been identified as containing high levels of methyl mercury. When eaten, methyl mercury accumulates in the human body. While not a significant risk to most adults, mercury is a potent neurological and renal toxin that does pose a risk to the more vulnerable developing fetus and young child. Women of childbearing age, although not currently pregnant, may accumulate an excessive body burden of mercury, thus presenting a potential for development damage during future pregnancies or while nursing.

The EPA/FDA fish advisory makes the following three suggestions for women and young children under the age of six: Click to download brochure from the FDA site
  • Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock, and catfish. Another commonly eaten fish, albacore (“white”) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
  • Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal area. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during the week. (http://www.fda.gov).
  • Forty states currently issue fish advisories for local lakes and streams. The Ohio fish advisory for 2004 was issued by the Ohio EPA (http://web.epa.state.oh.us) and may also be accessed from the “Alerts and Advisories” section of the Ohio Department of Health web site at www.odh.state.oh.us. Twenty-four rivers in forty-one Ohio counties are included in the more restricted advisories issued for 2004. In addition Ohio recommendations advise no more than one meal per week of any sport fish caught from any water body in Ohio.
You might find these online resources useful:

Calcium Intake Dietary Iron Feeling Fit
 
For general information or questions, please email us. Please note: Clinical questions cannot be answered via email due to the current HIPAA Regulations. Notice: All pages and their content are provided as information only. This is not a substitute for medical care or your doctor's attention. Please seek the advice of your doctor.
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