Pregnancy Myth Busters!

Eating & Pregnancy

The Myth: You can't eat foods like goat cheese or seafood.

Thought you'd have to pass on your favorite soft cheeses and seafoods for all of pregnancy? Not so, says Rose Ann Hudson, R.D., coauthor of Eating for Pregnancy. "You can have any cheese as long as it's pasteurized, which is clearly indicated on the label," she says. (In the past, most soft cheeses were made from unpasteurized milk, which made them a pregnancy no-no.) In addition, most cooked seafood is also safe -- and even recommended by experts. While you should avoid king mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish (all of which pose too high a risk of mercury poisoning), you can safely eat up to 12 ounces a week of most other fish and seafood, including canned light tuna, shrimp, salmon, pollock, and catfish. One major reason to indulge: DHA. This fatty acid, which is essential for the baby's brain and eye development during pregnancy, is found naturally in many types of fish but is especially prevalent in cod, salmon, and haddock. Fish with more fat (such as salmon and mackerel) also contain especially high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, so they're considered healthy choices too.

The Myth: 25 to 35 pounds is the right amount of weight for women to gain.

Forget these commonly touted numbers; there's no one-size-fits-all rule anymore when it comes to pregnancy pounds. Most women can safely gain between 25 and 35 pounds, though it really depends on what you weighed before becoming pregnant, according to ACOG. Women with a pre-pregnancy BMI of under 18 should aim for the top end of that range, while those with a BMI over 25 should limit weight gain to about 20 pounds. And, if your BMI is over 30, you might only need to gain 15 pounds. Even for women having twins, Dr. Snyder advises gaining no more than 40 pounds, since excess weight can lead to back pain and could mean a more difficult delivery. The plus side of not putting on more than you need? It'll be easier to get back down to something roughly approximating your pre-pregnancy weight after the baby is born. So talk to your physician to figure out the safe amount for you to gain.

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