DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I’m newly pregnant and overwhelmed with food advice from my friends. Is it true that I shouldn’t eat any deli meat during my pregnancy? What about caffeine? Can it harm the baby? Are there other foods I should avoid while pregnant?
ANSWER: The list of foods people think you should and shouldn’t eat while you’re pregnant can quickly become long and confusing. Although there are some specific do’s and don’ts, stick to the basics. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that’s low in fat and does not include alcohol is a solid way to ensure good nutrition for you and your baby.
For most people, pregnant women included, healthy eating involves plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole-grain foods and lean protein, as well as some healthy fats such as those found in fish, nuts, seeds and plant-based oils. Nutrients important for women during pregnancy include calcium and vitamin D for strong bones, folate to reduce the risk of birth defects, iron to prevent anemia and protein to help your baby grow. Getting enough fiber and fluids also is important to avoid constipation and to keep you hydrated.