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  1. People at Risk of Foodborne Illness

Dietary Advice for Moms to Be

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Food Safety for Moms-To-Be Main Page

Nutritionists recommend that everyone consume a balanced diet, including:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas) and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

In addition to this general dietary advice, there are three key dietary tips for Moms-to-Be to follow for their developing baby’s health. These three tips matter even before you become pregnant, since some nutrients or unwanted elements may accumulate before you are pregnant or realize you are pregnant.

On this page:

Dietary Tip #1: Folic Acid

Folic acid is a B vitamin and essential nutrient that helps prevent birth defects, such as neural tube defects, when taken before and during pregnancy. The neural tube begins developing into an unborn baby’s spinal cord and brain during the first month of pregnancy, when a woman might not even know she is pregnant. Moms-to-Be can get adequate folic acid by eating the following foods:

  • Leafy, dark green vegetables
  • Legumes (dried beans and peas)
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Most berries
  • Whole grains
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Fortified corn masa

Women who are or who may become pregnant should consume 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid daily.

Dietary Tip #2: Advice About Eating Fish

FDA and EPA have issued advice about eating fishThis advice can help those who might become or are pregnant or breastfeeding as well as parents and caregivers who are feeding children make informed choices when it comes to the types of fish that are nutritious and safe to eat. This advice supports the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Dietary Tip #3: Grains

Moms-to-Be should consume a variety of foods, including varied grains (including wheat, oats, and barley), for good nutrition. Rice, which is a major global food source, is also a leading dietary source of a naturally-occurring form of arsenic that may have developmental effects on infants and lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes. By varying their grains, Moms-to-Be can promote better health for their babies.

For more information, see For Consumers: Seven Things Pregnant Women and Parents Need to Know About Arsenic in Rice and Rice Cereal

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