Student Article- Eating Healthy for Baby

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The following is a student blog post by Natalia Keenan

Eating Healthy for Baby

You are pregnant. Now what? Even before you go to the doctor for prenatal care, there are many important things that you can do to have a healthy happy pregnancy. Making sure you are getting adequate rest, reducing the stress in your life, and eating right are things that only you can do for yourself and your developing baby.  Eating right? What does that really mean?  Whether you are a drive thru junky or someone who eats pretty well, there are always areas that can be improved. After all, you aren’t eating just for you anymore. Another life is being built inside you and it’s your job to feed your body the right nutrients for the job.

Eating Healthy for Baby

Start by reevaluating what you are eating on a regular basis and eliminate as much of the harmful as possible.  Here is a list of the foods that the FDA says that pregnant women should not eat (click here to see full list):

  1. Soft Cheeses mad from unpasteurized milk, including Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, queso blanco, and queso fresco – may contain E coli or Listeria
  2. Raw cookie dough or cake batter – may contain Salmonella
  3. Large fish – shark, swordfish, king mackerel – may contain high levels of mercury
  4. Raw or undercooked fish- may contain parasites or bacteria
  5. Unpasteurized juice- may contain E. Coli
  6. Unpasteurized milk
  7. Salads made in a store such as chicken salad, seafood salad – may contain Listeria
  8. Raw Shellfish


We have all heard of the things on the list above but here are some things added to our food that also should be limited or avoided. While the FDA has approved these food additives for consumption in the USA many other countries have banned them due to health risks. READ the labels when you are shopping( if you don’t already)! Avoid or limit:

  1. MSGLinked to Brain damage in developing fetus
  2. Sugar Substitutes- Aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium,  and sucralose  have been linked to brain defects and bladder problems in unborn babies. While the FDA says they are safe may other countries have already banned the use of these products.
  3. Food dyes – Blue 1, blue 2, green 3, red 3, yellow 6 and yellow tartrazine-  limit these to reduce chromosomal damage to developing baby. Food dyes have also been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain cancers.
  4. Azodicarbonamide- a petroleum product used in Yoga mats. Subway and many other places use it to condition their dough. This can’t be good for anyone! Read More.
  5. Trans Fats-  partially hydrogenated oils
  6. White Processed Foods- these foods have no nutrients and are empty calories. Instead opt for whole grains or wild or brown rice.
  7. High Fructose Corn Syrup- this drives people to over eat and gain weight.
  8. Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate- a known carcinogen linked with thyroid damage.
  9. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)- It’s an endocrine disruptor and can mess with your hormones.
  10. Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites- found in lunch meat, hot dogs. Linked to colon cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes.

While it may seem impossible to cut out all the bad out of your diet, making little changes here and there can make a difference. The sacrifices you make will be worth it for that tiny human whose body is growing from the nourishment you provide.

Eliminating the bad is a good first step. The next step is to make sure you are covering all the basics and adding in as many healthy options as possible. One of the most important things that you can do for your baby is drink lots of water. Skip the soda and the coffee and have water or an herbal tea. To help avoid preterm contractions, bleeding, and blood pressure issues you should be drinking:

  • 2 quarts of water in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • 3 quarts of water in the second trimester of pregnancy
  • 4 quarts (1 gallon) of water in the third trimester of pregnancy
  • Calories: Eat plentifully of healthy foods to ensure adequate calories daily – pregnancy is not a time to try to minimize calories.
  • Protein: 4 servings.  80-100 grams of protein per day – This can reduce risk of Pre-Eclamsia
  • Vitamin C foods: 2 servings
  • Calcium foods: 4 servings
  • Green leafy vegetables and yellow fruits and vegetables: 3 servings
  • Other veggies and fruits: 1 to 2 servings
  • Whole grains and other complex carbohydrates: 4 to 6 servings
  • Iron-rich foods: Some daily
  • High-fat foods: 2 servings
  • Salt: Daily in moderation to taste
  • Fluids: At least 6 to 8 glasses a day
  • Supplements: Nutritious herbs, highly concentrated food supplements such as
  • spirulina, and, when necessary, a vitamin/mineral supplement.

Now that you are building a new human there are plenty of things to think about and consider. What you eat is one of the easiest things you can do to give your baby a good healthy start to life!

For a more detailed No-NonSense Guide to Healthy Pregnancy and Baby go here.

Sources: Processed Food: 10 of the Worst Toxic Food Ingredients


Natalia Keenan

NK Doula Services


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