It took a bit of time to put this together but it is definitely information that I wish I had during my pregnancies!

Myth #1:  I am eating for 2.

You actually only need to eat an average of 300 kcal (Calories) more per day.  According to Canada’s Guide to Healthy Eating, that can easily be achieved by eating an extra 2 or 3 Food Guide Servings per day.  An example of this would be:  an extra piece of fruit and ¾ cup of yoghurt.

Myth #2:  I can eat whatever I want as long as I eat the minimum number of calories.

Consuming excess saturated & trans fats increases blood cholesterol levels.  These fats are found in animal products (meat & cheese) and many processed foods (crackers, cookies, etc.) and should be avoided during any stage of a woman’s life.  Consumption of a prenatal vitamin does not give you free reign to eat whatever you want.  Check the Food Guide of the country in which you live for advice and suggestions on what you should eat.

Myth #3:  Eating sushi, fish, nuts, unpasteurized cheeses & caffeine can harm baby.

Let’s take these one at a time:

Fish – Health Canada recommends that pregnant women eat at least 150g of fish per week as it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.  However, there is a slight risk of heavy metal contaminants being present in some fish.  For that reason HC recommends eating a variety of the following fish: salmon, trout, herring, haddock, canned light tuna, pollock (Boston bluefish), sole, flounder, anchovy, char, hake, mullet, smelt, Atlantic mackerel and lake white fish.

Sushi & Unpasteurized cheeses – These common foods may contain a bacteria called listeria which may cause listeriosis, ie. Food poisoning.  Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to do develop listeriosis.  If it occurs earlier in pregnancy there is a high risk of miscarriage, whereas if it occurs later in pregnancy there is a higher risk of stillbirth.

Nuts – The research is conflicting on this topic.  A recent study linked maternal nut consumption to an increased risk of asthma in newborns.  Other studies have linked maternal nut consumption with the presence of nut allergies in newborns.  Still more studies have found that by moms completely eliminating nuts from their diets, their newborns ended up with a higher risk of nut allergies.  It appears that moderate nut consumption of most nuts (except peanuts) is okay during pregnancy.

Caffeine – Light to moderate caffeine consumption is fine.  1 to 2 small cups of coffee are fine, as long as you are not also eating/drinking chocolate, black/green teas, colas, etc.  If you live in the US, you may want to check the caffeine consumption of your favourite soft drink.  Many non-cola drinks contain caffeine.

Myth #4:  I need to drink milk every day.

There are many Dairy & Non-Dairy alternatives to 1 cup of milk.

Dairy: 50 g (1.5 oz) of hard or goat cheese or paneer, 1 cup cottage cheese, ¾ cup kefir or yoghurt, ½ cup pudding or custard (made with milk)

Non-Dairy: 1 oz of sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, 2 oz canned sardines, 2 oz canned salmon, ½ cup soybeans,  3 oz cooked herring,

Myth #5:  Constant heartburn means the baby will have a lot of hair.

As baby gets bigger, he/she displaces mom’s organs.   The stomach moves higher in the abdominal cavity and puts pressure on the lower end of the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach).  Since the sphincter at the lower end of the esophagus softens due to the presence of relaxin, the acid present in the stomach gets into the esophagus and causes heart burn.  See – nothing to do with baby hair!

Are you ready to put a healthy, varied diet together?  Visit the Health Canada website at:

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