Eating Healthy During Pregnancy
Eating healthy during pregnancy is essential to providing the right nutrient for your baby to develop properly, and for you to be able to cope with the pressures of pregnancy and labour, as well as look after your baby after delivery. We bring you expert guide from our women health doctor.
Knowing What To Eat During Pregnancy For Healthy Baby
Eating healthy while pregnant involves knowing what to eat and what to avoid. It also involves keeping an eye on how much one eats.
Contrary to popular believe, you do not need to eat large amount of "food for two" while pregnant.
Not to pay attention to what one eats while pregnant is to put one's health and the health of one's unborn baby in harm's way.
Pregnancy: What To Eat
To keep fit and healthy, and ensure proper development of the body, brain and immunity of their unborn child, all pregnant women should aim to eat a balanced, varied and regular diet all though pregnancy. This will include:
- At least three servings daily, of starchy foods like rice, potatoes, bread, plantains, breakfast cereals, yam and cassava based meals. This will provide the energy needed by both the mother and unborn child
- Two servings of protein rich food such as meat, fish, beans and pulses like lentils, and nuts. Eggs are also good, though they must be properly cooked. Proteins are necessary for growth and are very important component of your meal if eating healthy during pregnancy is to be achieved. peanuts are safe to be eaten in pregnancy. It does not cause peanut allergy in an unborn child, neither will it lead to a child developing peanut allergy when born. The initial advise by the UK Foods Standards Agency (FSA) has been changed in December 2008 to refelct this new thinking on the safety of peanuts consumption in pregnancy. Yes. Eating peanuts is eating healthy during pregnancy
- Three servings of calcium and vitamin rich foods like milk, yogurt, cheese and sardines. Not all kinds of cheese are healthy for consumption in pregnancy. Avoid ripened soft or blue veined cheese like Camembert cheese, Chevre cheese and Brie cheese. This is because of the increased risk of contacting listeriosis, a form of infection from such cheese. Hard chese such as Cheddar, Parmesan, and Red Leicester as well as processed cheese are safe. Also avoid unpasteurized milk
- Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. These will include all types of fruits, as well as fruit juice. One glass of fruit juice constitutes a portion and one whole fruit like oranges or apples, avocado pear constitutes on portion of fruit, while for smaller fruits like grapes and strawberry, a handful constitutes a portion. These are important for a strong and healthy immune system as well as for optimal growth of the baby
- Plenty of Fluids. The importance of drinking a lot of fluids during pregnancy cannot be over emphasized. About 8 to 12 glasses of water a day is advised. This should be made of of clear fluids like water and uncarbonated drinks where possible. Avoid to much tea and coffee. In fact, pregnant women should have no more than 1 to 2 cups of tea or coffee in a day, as more than that (caffeine) could adversely affect the development of your unborn child, could lead to a low birth weight baby and even an abortion or miscarriage
- Another top tip to eating healthy during pregnancy is to cut down on foods high in fat and sugars like cakes and buscuits and replace such with fruits and salads
- It is also a great idea to start taking folic acid supplements once you start planing for pregnancy, or as soon as you know you are pregnant, until the end of the 12th week into your pregnancy. A dose of 400 micrograms once a day is advised for most women, and up to 5 milligram once a day, if the mother to be is on medications for epilepsy, or suffers with sickle cell disease, thalassaemia, obese, or has had a child with spinal bifida in the past.
A balanced diet with high dietary fibre and intake of plenty of fluids is key to overcoming constipation in pregnancy, while providing the needed nutrients for mother and baby.
Pregnancy: What Not To Eat
Eating healthy during pregnancy is also about knowing what not to eat or foods to avoid while pregnant. It is very important to avoid these foods because consuming such significantly increases of contacting diseases like listeriosis, salmonellosis, vitamin A toxicity, and mercury toxicity. These will be damaging to your unborn baby. Foods to avoid in pregnancy specifically include:
Eating healthy during pregnancy need not be a chore, neither should it deprive any mother-to-be the pleasures of life. It is about been a bit more selective and careful with foods eaten.
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