What to Expect When You’re Expecting (& Hungry)

 

It’s been said before, but it’s oh so very true—pregnancy is a miracle! Talk about a superpower. Your body literally is growing another human…amazing!

 

I’ve never experienced pregnancy myself, but have had the opportunity to watch family, friends and clients go through the process. And some of them share a lot! But while it’s a miracle, it’s also not easy. Your hormones and body go through major changes over that 40 weeks, and how you eat changes as well.

 

Don’t Wanna!

 

For that first trimester, many women experience morning sickness. Although, it can last all day or come and go throughout the day, so I have no idea why they call it that. Depending on the severity, it’s not uncommon to lose a little weight during this time. Keeping it bland and simple when it comes to food and beverage choices is often best.

 

However, it’s extremely important to stay hydrated throughout your pregnancy—but it is especially important if you are ill. The Institute of Medicine advises 80 ounces of fluids per day. So, drink up!

 

Why Can’t I?

 

Once your appetite returns, you should still make some changes to your eating habits. There are a lot of foods and beverages that are no longer safe to consume when pregnant. Here are some to watch out for:

 

  • Raw meat and fish – This means no sushi and no choosing rare when ordering food. You need to make sure any possible bacteria are destroyed by cooking meats and fish thoroughly.
  • Deli meats – These can contain listeria, so it’s wise to just avoid them. However, if you do want to eat them, you need to reheat the meat until it is steaming so it is safe.
  • Fish with mercury – Shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish should be avoided. If you like canned tuna, it should be eaten in moderation as it can contain low levels of mercury.
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood – This is often found in delis and can contain listeria. Canned or shelf-safe smoked seafood is usually fine.
  • Fish from certain areas – Lakes and rivers can be contaminated, and you are more susceptible to contaminants when you are pregnant. So, you need to know where the seafood came from to see if it is safe for you and the baby.
  • Raw shellfish and raw eggs – If it’s raw, you probably don’t want to eat it. And you may be thinking that you’d never eat raw eggs, but yolks are often used in salad dressings and homemade mayonnaises so it can be sneaky. If you’re out to eat, just ask to be safe.
  • Soft cheeses – Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, feta, Gorgonzola and Mexican-style cheeses. Any cheese you eat needs to be made from pasteurized milk. So, if it clearly states it is, then it should be okay to eat.
  • Unpasteurized milk – Beware listeria again.
  • Refrigerated pate or meat spreads – Listeria.
  • Caffeine – Avoid it during your first trimester. After that keep it no more than 200 mg per day. Caffeine is sneaky and can be in foods or drinks you are not expecting, so read the labels.
  • Alcohol – Um, just no.
  • Unwashed veggies and fruits – Clean all produce to avoid any contaminants or bacteria. We should all do this, even if we’re not expecting.

 

Basically, if you eat a lot of fish, cheese and love wine and coffee you may be feeling a little put out. But the payoff is worth it!

 

So, What Should You be Eating?

 

That previous list may have you feeling sad about your food and beverage options. Don’t worry! There are still tons of foods you can—and should—eat during your pregnancy. The following list is food that can help keep you, and the baby, strong and healthy during your pregnancy.

 

  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Dried beans and lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Nonfat milk
  • Bananas
  • Lean meat
  • Cheese—think cheddar and mozzarella
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Leafy greens
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Oranges
  • Nuts and nut butter

 

Honestly, the foods that are good for you during pregnancy are ones that are good for women in general.

 

It says oranges and bananas for some specific vitamins, but all fruits are good for you. And on the bonus side, you will need to consume a few more calories than you usually would during pregnancy—and possibly after if you decide to breastfeed. Your doctor will give you a list or website to refer to with regards to the do’s and don’ts of your diet throughout your pregnancy.

 

The bottom line is yes, your diet will change as your body changes for this next 40 weeks. You may need to give up some things or change how things are prepared. You also may be including foods you don’t normally eat. But it’s all for your health—and that of your baby.

 

What foods did you have a difficult time giving up while pregnant? What advice do you have for future moms about eating while expecting? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

 

Bethany

Bethany Kochan started her fitness career at a local women’s fitness center at 19 years of age. This part-time job lead to a career that over 20 years later, she still loves. Bethany earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the same time becoming certified as a group exercise instructor. After college, she pursued NSCA-CPT and CSCS, group cycling, mat Pilates and YogaFit certifications. In 2009, she and her husband made a big move across the country to pursue his dream job in the field of strength and conditioning. At this point, Bethany began writing and training online to be both with her husband and the fitness industry. Today, the Kochans split their time between AZ and CA, pursuing their passions and enjoying life together with their two rescue Weimaraners.