Nutrition During Pregnancy: 8 Big Myths and Facts

While pregnant, you’re also going to be bombarded with a ton of conflicting—and unsolicited—advice, much of which involves what you put in your mouth. Let me help set the record straight.


So you're expecting? Mazel tov! Enjoy the wild ride of raging hormones, crazy cravings, and bizarre bodily changes that you're about to begin. As if you didn't have enough to deal with, you're also going to be bombarded with a ton of conflicting—and unsolicited—advice, much of which involves what you put in your mouth. As someone who has just finished her nearly 10-month stint, let me help set the record straight. (Watch me on the Early Show talking about nutrition during pregnancy).

BIG OLD MYTHS
Myth No. 1: It's time to eat up.
You've heard the phrase "eat for two" a million times. And even though you need extra nutrients like calcium (1000 mg) and iron (27–30 mg) while you're pregnant, you don't need any extra calories until the second trimester. Even then, it's only an additional 300 each day, and the challenge is getting those calories from baby-building foods instead of Ben & Jerry's. Try ¼ cup nuts plus ¼ cup dried fruit or ½ of a turkey sandwich. Remember, you don't need to eat much more each day—just smarter.

Myth No. 2: Don't sweat it.
Doctors used to advise their pregnant patients to put their feet up for the entire 40 weeks. These days we know that staying active during pregnancy will help you feel better, manage your stress, and even prevent pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes. It may also shorten the duration of your labor and help you snap back in shape postpartum. Even if you haven't been following a regular exercise routine, you can start a walking program during pregnancy. Just make sure to check in with your doctor first.


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Frances Largeman-Roth, RD
Last Updated: April 27, 2009

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