As you well know by now, there are all sorts of myths surrounding pregnancy. From the myth that morning sickness happens only in the morning to the myth that you shouldn’t exercise, pregnant women are faced with a deluge of misinformation. This is especially true when it comes to food.
Here are a few of the most common pregnancy myths related to food, and what you should know about them:
- You must cut out the caffeine. While heavy caffeine intake has been shown in some studies to possibly affect pregnancy in a negative way, a single cup of caffeine or soda each day isn’t at all likely to cause you any problems. Moderation is the key here.
- You should eat enough food for two. We talk a lot on this website about this particular myth, but it bears repeating. You really don’t need more than about 500 extra calories each day. It’s not the volume of food that matters nearly as much as what it’s made of. Stick with a healthy, balanced diet, slightly increased from your pre-pregnancy routine, and you should be fine.
- You can’t have seafood. Seafood is one of those things you need to be careful with during pregnancy, but you don’t have to cut it out altogether. If you have one serving of tuna a week, you’re not in danger of mercury exposure that will cause birth defects. Seafood that typically contain lower levels of seafood include salmon, shrimp, and tilapia. Watch out for swordfish and tilefish, as they have higher levels of mercury. In addition, raw foods do increase your potential to exposure to bacterial, so stay away from those whenever possible.
- You need to eat three meals a day. In all reality, the best diet for a pregnant woman is to have around five or six meals staggered throughout the day. Eating frequent, small meals keeps your blood sugar in check, and it can also help to reduce morning sickness.
- Cheese poses a threat to your pregnancy. Pasteurized cheeses, such as Swiss or cheddar, should be just fine. Soft cheeses – which are typically unpasteurized – are the ones that pose a threat of foodborne illness. Check your grocer for pasteurized versions of those soft cheeses, and you should be fine with them, as well.
As always, you should talk to your doctor about any individual nutritional needs during pregnancy.