What to Eat While Pregnant

Are you pregnant, or thinking about having a baby? Find out what you should — and shouldn't — eat while expecting.

Should you eat for two while pregnant?
While pregnant women do eat for two, they should not double their caloric intake. An expectant mother should take in an extra 300-400 calories per day. "If you eat for two, you will become two people!" OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson exclaims. "You will have to lose that person after, and it's really, really hard. What you want to do is you want to eat healthily."

Dos and Don'ts for Pregnancy Diet
When you are pregnant, you want to make sure you are doing the right thing at each meal. Dr. Lisa explains which foods you should feel free to eat, and which you should leave off your plate when pregnant.

Eat Away
• California rolls, as long as the fish is cooked.
• One serving weekly of cooked fish that has little amounts of mercury, such as salmon.
Well-cooked bacon and sausage. Soft cheeses made with pasteurized milk. Carrots. Bell peppers. Spinach. Watermelon. Grapefruit.

Leave Off the Plate

Dressings made with raw eggs, like Caesar.
Sunny-side up eggs.
Raw cookie dough.
Raw milk.
Deli meat, unless it is heated until it steams.
Herbal tea, which can cause possible early contractions.
Unwashed vegetables.
L iver.
Smoked seafood.
Hot Dogs.

Dieting During Pregnancy
Arlyn is pregnant with her second child and is worried about gaining too much weight. She asks The Doctors if it is safe to diet while pregnant.

Dr. Lisa says that maintaining a balanced diet packed with fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy is essential for proper fetal development.

"That's why we monitor women's weight every time they come in for an exam, because basically, you may think, 'If I'm overweight, I can lose weight during pregnancy,'" Dr. Lisa says. " But you can't. If you're trying to decrease calories, what happens is you go into this starvation mode, and the nutrients won't go to making the baby's eyes, brain, skin, all the important things it needs to do. You have to get all these things, because you're making up parts of the baby.

"Exercise is great for pregnant women," Dr. Lisa continues. "You want to do things like swimming, low-impact [exercises]. Talk to your doctor, because this can change if you have other health risks. But exercise during pregnancy is absolutely healthy."

Plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon advises to keep your stress to a minimum, because that can lead to overeating. Breathing exercises and meditation can help control stress.

"You know what the key is?" Dr. Lisa asks. "All you husbands out there, you need to make sure that pregnant woman is the queen of that household. That will decrease stress!"

Is Caffeine OK During Pregnancy?
Is that morning cup of coffee or an afternoon soda while pregnant putting your baby at risk? Caffeine is a stimulant and diuretic which increases your blood pressure, heart rate and frequency of urination, reducing body fluid levels, and can lead to dehydration. All of those are potential dangers to pregnant women and their babies. "What you put in your body goes directly to the baby," Dr. Lisa says.

Caffeine crosses the placenta, and since the baby's metabolism is still maturing, it cannot fully metabolize or handle the amounts of caffeine you may consume. "It is a stimulant, so it's going to do what it would do in your body the same as it will do in the fetus' body," Dr. Lisa says. "The information out there is that you shouldn't drink coffee because it may cause birth defects. There are no studies that show it causes birth defects in humans.

"There are also no studies that show that it affects the growth of the baby at all," Dr. Lisa adds. "We do know that after a certain amount it can affect the baby, but we're not sure in what ways. The recommendation, right now, is that you can have one cup or less than 100 mg. So one cup of coffee is fine, as long as it's not one of those big, giant bowls."