ATLANTA - You're pregnant! So, what should you be eating?
Dr. Taz Bhatia, the founder of CentreSpring MD, says pace yourself.
You want to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
So, Dr. Bhatia says, try to eat at least every 3 hours, every 2 hours if you're experiencing morning sickness.
"In pregnancy, the rules with eating change a little bit. Because so many women have blood sugar instability and that leads to the morning sickness. So, again every person is different I would say a minimum of every 3 hours I would something with protein and a little of fat. If you're having morning sickness, I would say every 2 hours, because that's what it takes to keep the blood sugar stable, You want to be ahead of the nausea. You want to eat before the nausea hits."
If you're already struggling with nausea, ginger tea or sucking on a piece of ginger can help.
So can applying peppermint oil to your wrists and temples.
Overall, she says, pregnant women should focus on eating a nutrient-dense diet.
"Really up your protein, so you're getting high-quality protein," Dr. Bhatia says. "I usually ask pregnant women to aim for around 75 grams of protein a day."
Choose chicken breasts and other lean meats.
And, focus on getting plenty of iron-rich foods.
"So try navy beans, black beans, even few servings of red meat a day," Bhatia says. "Those give us heme-available iron. Those keep those iron stores up as you progress through your pregnancy."
Next, she says, choose brightly colored vegetables and produce.
"We know that's good for you, and it's good for the baby," Bhatia says. "It's good for the baby's brain."
Load up on healthy fats, like olive and canola oil, nuts and avocados.
Pregnant women should be taking a prenatal vitamin with iron and folic acid, which can prevent some birth defects.
"There are some supplements that help with energy and are approved and work throughout pregnancy, for example, the B vitamins," Dr. Bhatia says. "When women drop low in any of the B vitamins, particularly B12, they feel that drop in energy and sort of a change in mood, too."
Make sure you're drinking plenty of water.
"So using electrolyte water throughout the day keeps your minerals balanced, keeps your blood pressure balanced," she says.
Drinking alcohol is still considered a "no" during pregnancy.
"I do think we've relaxed a little bit, where maybe a half a glass of wine a week isn't a big deal anymore," Bhatia says. "But, in general, you want to keep low to none to really help protect the baby."
Same thing with coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can raise your blood pressure.
So, if you need that cup of joe, think small, limiting yourself to just 4 ounces a day.
Pregnant women should avoid or limit certain foods.
Dr. Bhatia says to steer clear of soft cheeses like brie, feta, and goat cheese, which can be higher in bacteria.
Also, avoid deli meats and undercooked meat and fish, like sushi.
Finally, Bhatia says, limit fish that are higher in mercury, like tuna, shark, swordfish and king mackerel.