One of the more common questions we get asked by our new surrogates is if there are any diet recommendations, or restrictions, they should be aware of throughout their pregnancy. For any pregnancy, including those through surrogacy, it is important to maintain a healthy diet for both you and the baby.
Unlike a traditional diet, where one goes on to lose weight, the diet you are on while being pregnant should be geared towards the health and growth of the baby, remember, you’re eating for two! With this being said, we hope these diet and nutrition recommendations help you through your journey as a surrogate mother.
A Nutritious Diet
It is important, while you are pregnant, that you are consuming foods rich in nutrients to help you, as a surrogate mother, but also to help the baby get the proper nutrition needed to grow into a healthy and happy baby. This is done by making sure your body is getting adequate nutrients from the popular food groups.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a great source of the nutrients and vitamins (including Vitamin C and Folic Acid) you and the baby need to be healthy. While being pregnant, it is important to consume 2 to 4 servings of fruit (oranges and grapefruits are a great source of Vitamin C) and 4 or more servings of vegetables (dark, leafy green vegetables are a great source of Folic Acid) each day.
Whole grains (including whole grain bread) are a great source of carbohydrates, which acts as the fuel your body needs, especially while being pregnant. In addition, these whole grains are a great source of B vitamins, fibers and protein. It is recommended to consume at least 6 to 11 ounces of whole grains a day while being pregnant, dependent on your weight and size of course.
Protein is essential for everyone, especially while pregnant. Meat, poultry, eggs and fish can be a great source of protein and other key nutrients, including B vitamins and iron. It is important, though, for you to avoid having certain types of meat, dairy and fish in your diet (we will cover this later in the article).
Some good options for protein can be properly cooked lean beef, chicken, turkey and lamb. It is recommended, by the FDA, that you should consume about 27mg per day of protein (at least 3 servings) per day.
Calcium is a key nutrient to have while being pregnant. Just like when you were a kid and were told to that calcium helps your bones grow, it is the same for the baby’s bones. In addition, calcium is essential for building strong teeth, normal blood clotting and muscle/nerve function.
To consume the recommended amount of calcium, which is at least 1000mg a day, having at least 4 servings of dairy products a day is advised. Keep in mind, although dairy products are great to have while being pregnant, there are some that we will cover in this article that should be avoided.
Vitamins to Take While Pregnant
It is important that the food you are eating is rich in nutrients needed during your pregnancy. That being said, it is also recommended to complement your diet with prenatal vitamins. Unlike traditional multivitamins, prenatal vitamins are chosen specifically to help the baby get the nutrients needed for strong and healthy development while inside your womb.
When it comes to prenatal vitamins, it is best to speak with your doctor to help choose the right vitamins for you and the baby.
Foods and Substances to Avoid While Being Pregnant
In addition to all of the recommended foods to have in your diet, there are some, including some substances, that should be avoided. Below is a list of the main food and substances you should be keeping out of your diet:
- Alcohol: Alcohol, from wine to a cocktail, passes through the placenta and can directly affect the baby. It is strongly advised not to consume any alcoholic products during pregnancy.
- Smoking: This one may seem like common sense, but it is extremely important not to smoke while being pregnant.
- Raw Meat: Raw meat, which includes sushi, seafood and rare or undercooked beef and poultry, carry a risk of being contaminated with bacteria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella.
- Deli Meat: Deli meat, including the all-American hot dog, could carry listeria and it is recommended to avoid during pregnancy.
- Raw Eggs: Raw eggs, or any food that might contain raw eggs (mayonnaise, homemade ice cream and Caesar dressing), can contain salmonella.
- Certain Fish: Aside from raw fish, fish containing high levels of mercury (tuna, swordfish, shark and king mackerel) or fish containing high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) should be avoided.
- Soft Cheese and Unpasteurized Dairy Products: Soft cheeses (blue cheese, feta, Brie, Camembert, queso blanco, queso fresco) and unpasteurized dairy products () should be avoided as they can carry the harmful bacteria listeria.
Although we covered the above foods and substances to avoid while being pregnant, it is always wise to speak with your doctor on what additional foods may or may not be harmful to you and the baby.
Exercise While Pregnant
Exercising while being pregnant is important for you and the baby, though there are certain types of exercises that should be avoided. Simple exercises, including swimming and walking, are great to perform during pregnancy as they help keep your muscles working and your blood flowing without putting too much strain on you or the baby. For more helpful tips on exercising while pregnant, read our 8 Fitness Tips for Surrogate Moms blog post!
Getting started on your surrogacy journey is exciting but at times can feel overwhelming, especially if it is your first time. At Creative Love we have worked with many surrogate mothers and understand that there are often many questions, both before getting started and during your pregnancy.
Although no two experiences are the same, we hope this article and the other surrogacy blog articles we have written can help by providing some additional information and resources to you.
If you are looking to begin your surrogacy journey, whether in the state of Florida or throughout the country and would like to learn more or to speak with a Florida surrogacy agency, we welcome you to contact us. We welcome the chance to speak with you and support you throughout your journey.