Pregnancy Nutrition Concerns

Many women have questions about maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy. Some of the most common questions are included for you here.

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Do prenatal vitamins really help?

Research is conflicting on the overall effects of multiple nutrient supplementation in pregnancy. In some studies, multiple vitamins show no more benefit than supplementation with folic acid alone, or folic acid and iron supplements. Other studies show multiple vitamins reduce low birth weight, neonatal death and maternal morbidity. Read More...

Should I pay attention to my weight gain?

Women who gain more weight than is considered appropriate are at increased risk for cesarean, large for gestational age babies, and macrosomia. High gestational weight gain is the strongest predictor of maternal overweight and obesity postbirth, with the risk of weight retention increasing as the gestational weight gain increases. Women who gain less than what is considered appropriate are at increased risk for small for gestational age babies and low birth weight. Low gestational weight gain may also increase the risk of preterm birth in underweight women. Read More...

Should I worry about my cravings?

Cravings are usually harmless, but can become a problem if the craving interferes with good nutrition. Responding to healthy cravings requires common sense to make good eating choices while focusing on the flavors you desire. Some women experience cravings for non-food substances such as laundry starch, crayons, ice, dirt and cravings for smells like ammonia or nail polish remover. These non-food cravings are called pica, and may present a danger for you and your baby. Read More...

What can I do about my food aversions?

Food aversions are as common as food cravings during pregnancy, and may be related to the nausea and vomiting many women experience. For most women, aversions seem to improve after the first trimester. As long as you are eating a good balance and variety of food from all groups, your aversion is probably not a problem. Read More...

Do I need to avoid food additives?

The safety of food additives in pregnancy is a bit controversial, as you will find from a quick internet search of the topic. While most people agree everyone's health improves by limiting additives because the quality of nutrition improves, not everyone agrees that foods using additives need to be avoided. Read More...

What are the risks of caffeine during pregnancy?

Research has failed to find any links between caffeine and miscarriage or poor fetal growth, birth defects and the normal development of children. One recent study found an association between intake of 200-300 mg of caffeine per day (2 to 4 cups depending on how it is brewed) and small for gestational age, but this study was observational which means it is only able to show a relationship and definitely not a cause effect. Read More...

How much fish is safe to eat?

Mercury exposure, or how much mercury enters your body, is dependent on many things.  This includes where you live, what type of fish you eat, how much fish you eat, and the where those fish lived. Read More...

Do I need to be more concerned about food safety when pregnant?

One of the changes your body experiences during pregnancy is a change in immune function. This is due to the increased progesterone and helps prevent your body from rejecting the baby. The downside of this immune change is an increased risk to contract some types of infections when pregnant. Read More...

Is it healthier for me to eat organic food during pregnancy?

Currently, the research literature does not have strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious, or improve pregnancy outcomes. This means some studies show differences, while others do not. Generally, the studies are not well-powered (not enough people) or not well designed (not able to deal with the confounding factors) which makes it difficult for the research community to come to a consensus. Read More...