For the woman whose weight is normal prior to pregnancy, a gain of 25 – 35 pounds appears to be associated with the most favorable outcome. Generally, this can be accomplished by an increase of 300 calories a day. In most women this can be achieved by eating according to appetite – three meals a day adequate in low-fat milk and dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meats or other protein foods and whole grain breads and cereals.
For snacks, choose foods such as fruits or vegetables that will help provide you with your daily nutritional needs. Avoid snacks such as candies, pastries and chips that are high in calories but low in nutrition. If you are underweight or overweight, we’ll give you specific recommendations for weight gain in pregnancy at your prenatal visit.
Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated multivitamins for the expectant mother. These vitamins ensure that pregnant women don’t get too much of a certain vitamin (such as Vitamin A) that can be toxic to the developing baby. Prenatal vitamins also contain folic acid in a dosage that has been shown to reduce the risk of some serious birth defects to the brain and spinal cord.
Prenatal vitamins typically contain about 200 mg of calcium, only one-sixth the recommended amount of calcium for pregnancy. Unless you consume a lot of dairy produts you might want to consider adding a calcium supplement to make up the difference. TUMS, Caltrate, Citrocal, and Viactive are examples of calcium supplements you might try. Avoid oyster shell and coral calcium while pregnant as there are concerns about heavy metal contamination in these.
Fish & Seafood:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and The March of Dimes have the following recommendations for all women who are or might become pregnant, who are nursing, and for young children. Limit fish and shellfish intake to no more than 12 ounces per week. Completely Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tile-fish.
Most fish and shellfish contain trace amounts of mercury but the fish listed above have the highest levels. For more information go to: www.cfsan.fda.gov We will discuss food safety during pregnancy at your first prenatal visit.
Nausea & Vomiting
You may choose to use an over-the-counter prenatal vitamin or your doctor can write you a prescription for a name-brand vitamin if you prefer. If you’re having problems with nausea and/or vomiting and you think your prenatal vitamins are making it worse your doctor can suggest some alternatives.
Mothers who smoke during their pregnancies frequently have smaller infants. These smaller infants tend to have an increased incidence of health problems, respiratory illnesses, learning disorders, newborn deaths (including SIDS (crib) deaths), and spontaneous abortions. Smoking is not recommended during pregnancy.
A pregnant woman who consumes large amounts of alcohol risks having a child with birth defects. The effects of limited or moderate drinking are unknown. It is best to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy and nursing.
It is not necessary to avoid exercise as long as you do not become overly fatigued or exceed a pulse rate of 140. If you are in good physical condition and are accustomed to being active there is no reason that being pregnant should keep you from participating in activities you enjoy. Use common sense and avoid activities that carry a risk of bodily injury. Walking and swimming are excellent means of exercise for pregnant women. Hot tubs and saunas should be avoided.
Provided there are no complications with your pregnancy you may continue to travel until 36 weeks. It is advised that you stretch each hour on long trips to decrease the risk of blood clots.
Exposure to Fumes
Painting is safe provided the room is well-ventilated. Should a headache or nausea occur, just leave the area. Hair coloring and permanents are OK.
Due to the decreased oxygen level at high altitude it is recommended that you avoid spending prolonged periods at altitudes over 10,000 feet. Also no vigorous activity above 8,000 feet.