reading up on how to have a healthy pregnancy {part 1}

Since Nick and I are trying to start our family, I’ve begun my reading. There are tons of books out there about pregnancy, but I think I’m probably going to stick with just a few. No need to read a lot of the same, I think.

So the first book I’m reading through is the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Roger Harms and Myra Wick. It was published in 2011, which I guess is fairly recent as books go. When I flipped through it at the library, it seemed pretty well-rounded and organized.

That being said, I thought it might be beneficial to write up some posts about what I’m reading. Not only for my benefit—it is a library book, after all—but for the benefit of some friends who might be starting their families soon or anyone else.

To start off, I guess it makes sense to write about healthy eating and exercise, since that’s really important to me. Let’s start with some notes about food.

  • Eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains; eat lean proteins and low-fat dairy products
  • Watch your sugar, fat, and salt intake
  • AVOID seafood high in mercury, like swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tile fish. The FDA says in a WEEK it’s safe to consume about 12 oz of shrimp, salmon, Pollock, cod, or canned light tuna. (Limit albacore tuna and tuna steak to 6 oz a week.) The right fish is good for you, as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful for brain development.
  • Steer clear of raw fish and shellfish like oysters and clams. Most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
  • Make sure your meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature—even rare steaks are okay if 145 degrees has been reached.
  • Cook eggs until yolks and whites are firm.
  • Processed meats, like deli meat, can be contaminated. Heat them thoroughly before consuming—I’ve heard toasting a sandwich at Subway isn’t quite hot enough, so they will microwave meats for you if you ask (this Subway information is not from the book). But be leery of these meats anyways—they tend to have a high amount of salt.
  • Make sure any dairy is pasteurized—Brie, feta, and blue cheeses are examples of things to pay particular attention to when making sure something is pasteurized.
  • Make sure any juice is pasteurized.
  • Wash your raw fruits and veggies before eating.
  • Liver is OK, but don’t go overboard as the high amount of Vitamin A can be toxic. (This doesn’t matter to me, because I don’t eat it 🙂 )
  • Broccoli, kale, dried beans, calcium-fortified juices, cereals & soy products are all excellent sources of calcium that contain no animal products.
  • Nuts, nut butters, seeds, and dried fruit are rich in energy (again, with no animal products).
  • Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.

And here is some info from a chart in the book…

Grains—6-9 servings a day
Importance: body’s main source of energy
Examples of servings: ½ cup hot cereal or 1 cup cold cereal; ½ cup cooked pasta or rice; 1 slice whole-wheat bread

Fruits & Vegetables—5+ servings a day
Importance: Key vitamins, minerals and fiber
Examples of servings: 1 medium-sized piece of fruit; ½ cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit; 2 cups raw, leafy vegetables; ½ cup cooked or raw vegetables; ¾ cup 100% fruit or vegetable juice

Dairy—4+ servings a day
Importance: Provides calcium, which helps build baby’s bones & teeth (FYI, if you don’t take in enough calcium, it can be “stolen” from your own bones to nourish baby)
Examples of servings: 1 cup skim/low-fat milk; 1 cup fat-free/low-fat yogurt; 2 ounces processed cheese

Meat, Poultry, & Fish—2+ servings a day
Importance: Protein is essential for baby’s growth
Examples of servings: 2-3 oz. of cooked lean meat, poultry, fish; ½ cup cooked dried beans; 1/3 cup nuts; 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Fats, Oils & Sweets—limited
Importance: none

This is all in Chapter 2: Healthy Choices During Pregnancy, pages 35-37. But remember, every person is different. While the book is good for general information, your health care provider is the best source to consult on any pregnancy-related issues.

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