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UC and Pregnancy: Eating Well to Gain the Right Amount of Weight

Ulcerative Colitis and Pregnancy Nutrition continued...

Fruits and vegetables. If they bother you, try fruit or vegetable juice instead. Just make sure it's 100% juice, with no added sugar.

"Sugar is not a good thing for patients with IBD," Mikolaitis tells WebMD. Bacteria seem to be partial to disaccharides, a kind of sugar that includes table sugar. "And we think bacteria play a big role in the flare-ups of the disease," she says.

Drink pasteurized juice so you don't get E. coli or another food-borne illness, which may be dangerous for your baby.

Fish. Your doctor may have recommended that you eat more fish because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are thought to reduce inflammation, which can be beneficial for an inflammatory disease like ulcerative colitis.

But you need to make sure you don't eat fish that are high in mercury during pregnancy. Stick to low-mercury fish such as salmon, canned light tuna, pollock, catfish, and shrimp. Avoid high-mercury varieties such as king mackerel, tilefish, shark, swordfish, and albacore ("white") tuna.

Finally, make sure you are drinking enough water. Having active ulcerative colitis during pregnancy could mean more diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration if you don’t replace the fluid you lose.

Supplementing Your Ulcerative Colitis Pregnancy Diet

Whether you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant, your diet is going to need a little boost from a vitamin supplement.

"All women considering conception should be started on a prenatal vitamin, and our patients are no different," says Uma Mahadevan, MD, director of clinical research at the Center for Colitis and Crohn's Disease and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

A daily prenatal vitamin can also help replace nutrients you lose through diarrhea.

Ask your doctor whether you need additional supplements if you're not getting enough of certain nutrients. Vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and magnesium deficiencies are all common in people with IBD.

You may also need extra folic acid, because UC and some medications you may take for it make it harder for your body to absorb folic acid.

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