Ahhhh pregnancy… It’s an exciting time, but get ready for an overload of information! Your mom, aunts, grandmother and friends, all have stories and advice they feel they need to share with you. But here’s a tip: Not everyone is a expert on what to expect when you you’re expecting.
Here are 3 common pregnancy myths and the truth behind them:
1. You’re eating for two!
The truth? The number of extra calories you need when pregnant ranges from just 300 to 500 per day, and what you should gain depends on what the scale said before you were expecting. If you were on the thin side of normal, you should gain 25 to 35 pounds. If you were a little overweight, you should aim for 15 to 25. This will help minimize your risk of developing gestational diabetes, and lower the baby’s risk of being born significantly larger than average. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you.
2. Taking a prenatal vitamin covers all your bases for the nutrients you need.
The truth? While pregnant, certain micronutrients are more crucial than other. It’s recommended to take: 600 mg of folic acid per day to prevent spinal cord defects; 100 mg of calcium per day to help your baby’s heart, bones, muscles, teeth and nerves develop and 27 mg of iron per day to help prevent maternal anemia.
While all of these micronutrients and more can be found in a daily prenatal vitamin, it is equally important to make sure the rest of your diet is just as nutritious, with calcium-rich foods like yogurt and cheese. And iron-containing foods like spinach, chicken and beans.
3. Craving salty foods is your body’s way of telling you, you need more salt.
The truth? Too much salt while pregnant can cause gestational hypertension, which if left untreated can cause preeclampsia. Symptoms of preeclampsia are seizures, placental abruption and lack of blood flow to the baby. Aim for less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day to lower risk of gestational hypertension and eat a diet of fruits, veggies, whole grabs, low fat dairy, lean protein and healthy fats.