From mommy blogs to nutrition experts, it seems as if everyone has an opinion on what’s safe and best to eat and drink during pregnancy. According to the National Library of Medicine, most women need at least 300 calories more daily during the last six months of pregnancy than they did before they were pregnant.
Being confident in your food choices during pregnancy can be a little bit complicated. To help sort through the confusion, we talked with Dr. Candace Howe, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist at HM Medical in Newport Beach.
Q: What does the ideal pregnancy diet look like?
A: Per day, protein should be at 75 to 100 grams with 1-2 cups of legumes, 1-2 cups of whole grains, 2-3 cups of vegetables and 1-2 cups of fruits.
Q: What are the biggest misconceptions about diet and pregnancy?
A: A big misconception from the media is that pregnant women’s [unhealthy] cravings should be indulged – for example, ice cream, desserts and sweets. There is now substantial scientific research to show that the food we eat on a daily basis affects how our bodies work. It also determines basic nutritional health for our children and provides a model for their eating habits during childhood and beyond. Pregnancy is one time when eating habits directly affect another person.
Research shows that metabolic programming happens in utero, so a mother’s healthy nutritional status is extremely important. Focusing on incorporating vegetables, whole grains and legumes, lean protein and other wise food choices will give your baby a strong start in life.
Q: What are the current trends when it comes to food and pregnancy?
A: Many people today are implementing lower carbohydrates in their everyday diet, but it is important to understand that with pregnancy you do not want to go too low. A pregnant woman does require at least 75 milligrams of carbohydrates per day, ideally up to 150 milligrams.
Lower carbohydrate diets create ketone bodies which cross into the placenta and can…