Common myths and truths about pregnancy nutrition
When it comes to pregnancy nutrition, understanding which key nutrients are most important can help you make good choices for you and your developing baby. Here are a few myths moms-to-be often hear about nutrition and the truth behind the real advice.
Nutrition during pregnancy matters, now and later
MYTH: Your baby will rely on the nutrient reserves in your body and get everything he needs, regardless of what you eat.
TRUTH: What you eat when you are pregnant makes a difference in the quality of nutrition your baby receives during this important time of development. Research has found that your nutrition during pregnancy establishes the foundation for your baby’s health for the rest of his life. You can give your baby a strong, healthy start by taking care of your own health and nutrition.
When to begin eating healthier during pregnancy
MYTH: If you didn’t eat balanced meals before becoming pregnant, it’s too late.
TRUTH: While it’s important to eat right as soon as you find out you are expecting, any time is a good time to change your nutritional habits for the better. Starting now, you can choose healthier habits for you and your baby.
Eating fish during your pregnancy
MYTH: Fish is not safe to eat during your pregnancy.
TRUTH: Fish is low in fat and contains high-quality protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish play a role in your baby's brain and eye development. Certain fish, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury that can be harmful to your baby. But you can safely eat up to 12 ounces of fish low in mercury (shrimp, salmon, catfish, canned tuna, etc.) per week while pregnant.* To ask more about eating fish during your pregnancy, click here: Ask Karen.
A smarter approach to empty-calorie foods
MYTH: Any food in moderation is fine during pregnancy.
TRUTH: ChooseMyPlate.gov states that eating a small amount of "empty" calories — which are found in high-sugar foods such as candy bars, cookies, and soft drinks — is OK. However, many expectant mothers eat far more than is healthy. Try to limit your intake by eating empty-calorie foods less often, or by decreasing the amount you eat or drink when you are craving these types of snacks.