Prenatal care: Food safety and recommended weight gain


As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research related information.  The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey.  Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….

Prenatal care: Food safety and recommended weight gain

Do’s and Don’t’s in pregnancy are always a burning question from our patients who are in their first trimester. It is both an exciting and anxious period of a very anticipated pregnancy. Patient education and health promotion is an important part of prenatal care. Nutrition and food safety during pregnancy as well as the recommended weight gain according to patient’s BMIs will be discussed in detail. Some of the food safety to consider during pregnancy include (Lockwood & Magriples, 2021):

  1. Washing fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking
  2. Avoid unpasteurized juice, cider, and milk (ex. Brie, Roquefort, feta, queso blanco, or queso fresco, and other products made with raw milk)
  3. Avoid premade meat or seafood salad (ex. Deli chicken, ham, or tuna salad)
  4. Avoid raw sprouts
  5. Avoid contaminated water (US public water drinking systems ensure safety by disinfection, coagulation, sedimentation, and filtration)
  6. Avoid undercooked meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
  7. Avoid or limit consumption of fish with high levels of mercury.

Choices to avoid that are highest in mercury levels include king mackerel, Swordfish, Tuna, bigeye, Shark, Orange roughly, Marlin, and Tilefish. Best choices of fish to eat 2-3 servings a week include Salmon, Anchovy, Butterfish, Cod, Crab, Lobster, Mullet, Oyster, Sardine, Scallop, Shrimp, Tilapia, Trout (freshwater), Whitefish

  1. Avoid refrigerated smoked seafood which could be contaminated with listeria
  2. Avoid hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented or dry sausage
  3. Avoid refrigerated meats or meat spreads from a deli or meat counter
  4. Avoid raw dough
  5. Avoid or limit caffeine to <200mg/day

In addition, utensils and cooking tools should be washed with hot, soapy water. Hand washing and proper hand hygiene is strongly advised. Avoiding cat feces, touching hands to mouth after gardening, handling cats, cleaning a cat’s litter box, or any contact with cat feces should be avoided (Lockwood & Magriples, 2021). The recommendation for pregnancy weight gain is based on the body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy. BMI is the measurement of body fat calculated from weight and height. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the recommended weight gain in the course of pregnancy for underweight patients (BMI less than 18.5) is 28-40 pounds. Normal weight patients (BMI 18.5- 24.9) are recommended to gain 25-35 pounds. Lastly, overweight patients (BMI 25.0-29.9) should gain between 15-25 pounds throughout their pregnancy. These recommendations are for women pregnant with singleton pregnancy or one baby (CDC, 2021). Eating a balanced diet and tracking your pregnancy weight regularly throughout pregnancy can help to meet pregnancy weight gain recommendations. Working with your health care provider to discuss your weight gain goals throughout your pregnancy would be advised. For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, please contact us at 808-545-2800 or visit our website at 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Weight gain during pregnancy. Lockwood, C., & Magriples, U. (2021). Prenatal care: patient education, health promotion, and safety of commonly used drugs. UpToDate.  

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