Lean meats (like a skinless chicken breast or pork tenderloin), beans, chickpeas, nuts, shrimp and tofu help fuel fetal growth. Recommended daily intake: 75–100 g (about
one chicken breast)
Dairy products, eggs, white beans and almonds are all good sources of calcium and can help baby grow strong teeth and bones. Recommended daily intake: 1,000 mg (1
cup of plain yogurt, 1 large egg and 1/3 cup of almonds)
Iron is an important component of the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body. Since during these nine months you’ll have about 50 percent more blood in your body than usual, it’s important to pump up your iron so baby gets enough oxygen during pregnancy. Iron deficiency is also associated with pre-term delivery. Incorporate red meat, whole grains, green leafy veggies and other proteins into your diet to get to the recommended amount. Recommended daily intake: 27 mg (2 cups of cooked spinach, 1 cup of cooked lentils and 1 cup of edamame)
Fruits, whole grains, dark greens and legumes are all rich in folic acid, which can help reduce the risk of Spina Bifida and other neural tube defects. Recommended daily intake: 600–800 mcg (1 cup of fortified breakfast cereal and 1 cup of strawberries)
Citrus fruits, melons, tomatoes and peppers are great sources of vitamin C, which promotes tooth and bone development and boosts metabolism. Recommended daily intake: 85 mg ( ó cup raw sweet red bell pepper slices and 1ó cups of cherry tomatoes)
Stay away from “big” fish like swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, along with some tuna. They’re more likely to have higher levels of mercury, which can have adverse effects on a baby’s growing brain and nervous system, including impaired fine motor, language and cognitive skills. Instead, opt for smaller fish, like salmon, tilapia and shrimp.
UNDERCOOKED MEAT, SEAFOOD, POULTRY OR EGGS
Decrease your risk (and your baby’s) of food poisoning by saying goodbye to sushi, rare steaks and pre-stuffed poultry—raw and undercooked foods can be breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. Make sure your meats are cooked to the appropriate temperature, especially those that are pre-stuffed, since they take longer to cook through.
Foods that haven’t been pasteurized can cause foodborne illness. Check labels on milk and cheeses (like Brie, feta, Camembert, blue or Mexican cheese blends) to be sure they have been pasteurized. And remember: Not all manufacturers specify on their labels, so you might want to clarify with a manager before picking up a wheel of Brie, or shop at stores like Whole Foods that consistently label the pasteurization on their dairy products.
Though new research suggests light drinking during pregnancy (a glass or two of wine a week) is probably fine, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other expert groups still urge caution and recommend skipping it entirely. Abstaining is particularly important in the first trimester. Alcohol use has been linked to miscarriage, stillbirth and fetal alcohol syndrome, which can result in deformities, mental retardation and other health issues for your baby.