Q&A – Nutrition and Pregnancy

Hi, my name is Dr. Natalia Colon Guzman and
I am a general obstetrician and gynecologist with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians here
in Howard County. So, normally when a patient comes in for their
first appointment during the pregnancy, we have a thorough discussion about what foods
they should ingest and foods they should avoid. We encourage the patient in general to eat
what they would eat when they’re not pregnant to be balanced in what they eat and follow
pretty much the food pyramid just like they would otherwise. We go over certain restrictions, especially
foods that are unsafe when you aren’t pregnant and we also go over the amount of calories
they should be ingesting. We normally recommend they eat about 250-300
calories in addition a day compared to when they are not pregnant. We are not eating for two. There are certain no-nos that we recommend
for patients in pregnancy, meaning foods that we should definitely avoid. Lunch meats definitely should not be allowed
due to the fact that they can carry certain bacteria that can make the patient sick. The same goes for certain types of fish like
shark, king mackerel, certain types of tuna, certain types of tilefish. We can usually provide our patients with a
specific list, but those are usually the big names. These fish are believed to be high in mercury content. We also encourage patients to stay away from
raw foods, as again, raw foods can contain certain types of bacteria that can make the
patients sick or even potentially infect the fetus and have long term consequences on the
pregnancy. For example, sushi, unless it’s from a very,
very high grade place, should not consumed by the patient. So, a question we get often is can we eat
fish as a pregnant patient. Yes, you can actually and we do encourage
the good fish which there are lists that outpatients can find on the internet or in the materials
that we provide for the patient. For example, salmon. Yes, you should definitely eat fish, fish
is good for the baby’s brain and we recommend you ingest that about 2-3 times a week in
amounts that are between 4-8 ounces at a time. We also recommend patients are good with their
food hygiene meaning they are thorough when it comes to cleaning, washing off veggies
and fruits and also food prepping so they are careful washing their hands multiple times,
especially when dealing with raw or undercooked meats. So, when a patient does go out to eat dinner
or lunch or breakfast, I do recommend that they go to a place they trust where they know
that food hygiene is a top priority so that the patient doesn’t get sick. Getting food poisoning when you are pregnant
can be very unfortunate and unfortunately can also take longer for you to recover from
it. In general, for patients in terms of supplements,
I do recommend the prenatal vitamin. Most prenatal vitamins do contain what most
people think is adequate for a pregnant patient in terms of supplements like folic acid, vitamin
D, calcium and others. If the patient does want in addition take
DHA supplements, which also I believe to be good for the baby’s brain, I highly recommend
those as well. And then some patients just prefer to just
take fish oils or other supplements like biotin, vitamin D and those are in general considered
very healthy and safe for the patient.

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