GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — January is birth defects prevention month, and a local dietitian is telling women what they need to know to have a safe pregnancy.
Brooke DeBeck, a registered dietitian and mom-to-be, said while in her eighth month of pregnancy, she’s ready to debunk some of those common misconceptions.
“If I eat something, you know, people are always saying, ‘Should you be eating that?’” DeBeck said.
DeBeck said the biggest myth is women thinking they need to eat for two. She said during that first trimester, calories don’t need to increase at all.
In fact, a woman doesn’t need to worry about her daily intake until the second trimester. Even then, DeBeck said, you only need to add about 300 calories a day to your diet, increasing that to 400 calories come your third trimester.
“They [babies] start accumulating some of their own fat stores, especially in the third trimester is when they put on most of their weight,” DeBeck said.
When talking about what to eat while pregnant, DeBeck addresses the next myth: fish.
“There is a concern, definitely, and a valid one with fish, especially from our Michigan lakes,” DeBeck said. “You want to check our online advisories and make sure there’s not an advisory before you eat any of those fish. But, in general, it’s still a really good idea to have fish twice a week.”
The omega-3 fatty acids, DeBeck said, are important for your baby’s visual and brain development.
But, if you’re thinking about having a glass of wine with your perch…
“There have been some more studies coming out showing that small amounts could be safe,” DeBeck said. “But, overall they don’t know what a safe amount is so it’s not worth risk.”
According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, defects occur in one in 33 babies every year, causing one in five infant deaths.
Still, some birth defects can be prevented. Taking folic acid, having regular check-ups and making sure medical conditions like diabetes remain under control, along with avoiding alcohol and drugs, are all recommended by the NBDPN.