One cannot overemphasize the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy because what you eat will affect the health of your baby. Although it is common knowledge that one must eat healthy food when they are pregnant, not everyone knows what they should eat and what to avoid.
Whether it is your first pregnancy or not, you have to change your eating habits even if it is just for the nine months that you will be pregnant because nothing is more important than your unborn child. Doctors and nutritionist will give you healthy diet recommendations, and you should follow them keenly. However, if you do not have this information there are common things that you should eat and others that you should avoid and so knowing them will be very helpful. Below are a few diet tips for pregnancy that one should follow.
1. What You Should Eat
Fiber is a super food for pregnant women, and it is one of those things that your doctor will always remind you to eat. A high-fiber diet has many benefits to a mother and the unborn child. The main ones are the fact that it will help you avoid common pregnancy problems such as hemorrhoids and constipation. Other benefits of consuming this food include helping you avoid dips and surges in energy and ensuring the even release of glucose into your bloodstream. Some of the best sources of fiber are vegetables, fruits, and oatmeal.
Omega-3s are essential for the development of the central nervous system and brain, and they will also lower your risk of getting postpartum depression. And so you should ensure that you consume foods that are rich in these vital fatty acids. The best sources for this essential nutrients are salmon, flaxseed (and flaxseed oil), and some brands of eggs also have omega-3s, but you should check the label first before buying.
Calcium is good for the bones, and everybody should make sure that they have enough of it, and this is not only for those who are pregnant or hoping to be in future. Lack of enough calcium may lead to pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and high blood pressure. However, you can avoid the risk of these complications by consuming foods such as orange juice fortified with calcium, low-fat milk, and yogurt.
Getting enough folic acid is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you child is born healthy and ready to face the world. Folic acid is also vital in the first month of your pregnancy as it reduces the risk of defects like Spina Bifida. You should take multivitamins with folic acid micrograms and also foods such as pasta, rice, bread and cereals with folic acid fortification.
Protein is one of the most important foods that you should consume when you are pregnant because it is the structural material that makes every cell in the body of your baby. If you do not have enough of it, this will restrict the growth of the fetal. The protein needs of your body increase by 25 grams to make a total requirement of 70 grams. However, you should have no trouble meeting this requirement provided you consume seven ounces of chicken and cooked or eight ounces of milk.
Iron may be difficult to get enough of during pregnancy, but it is still one of the most important nutrients that you need since it helps to ensure regular supply of oxygen to your baby. Oxygen prevents premature delivery and aids in healthy development and growth of the child. You can get the iron you need by taking multivitamins, iron rich foods and also by cooking using iron cast pots.
2. What You Should Avoid
Eggs are a crucial source of protein, and no one is going to tell you to avoid them when you are pregnant. However, if you are well informed and know what is safe for your baby, you should avoid them or limit your consumption. The main reason for this is because they may contain salmonella which is more dangerous for pregnant women than the general population. If you have to eat, eggs avoid the sunny side up or runny and instead go for scrambled. However, the best thing would be to avoid them because there are many other safe sources of protein that you can eat.
The debate on whether to consume seafood or not when pregnant has been a hot a topic for many years. And this is because seafood is a rich source of omega-3 which is vital in developing a baby’s brain. However, the disadvantages seem to outweigh this benefit and so you should avoid seafood. One of the main demerits with this type of foods is the fact that all fish contain mercury which is a very toxic metal that causes severe damages to the nervous system.
Recent studies show that there is no direct link between consumption of caffeine and low birth weight. However, most others from earlier on showed that drinking a lot of caffeine in the form of coffee and other beverages may lead to miscarriages and growth retardation. You should drink decaffeinated drinks especially during the first few months of the pregnancy when the risk of miscarriage is highest.
It is highly advisable to avoid veined varieties of cheese such as goat, Blanco, feta, Brie, and Camembert. And this is because most have not undergone pasteurization, and hence, they may contain some bacteria that can trigger the process of food poisoning. Soft cheeses are not aged like cheddar where the aging process kills these dangerous bacteria. The bacteria can cause miscarriages, fever, premature birth and other pregnancy related complications. And so the best thing is to avoid these soft cheeses because you cannot take chances with your baby’s health.
Alcohol is one of the most dangerous things that any pregnant woman can consume. Although it is common knowledge that one should not drink during pregnancy, many mothers tend to ignore this completely. Some may follow this by avoiding alcoholic beverages, but they still consume it in other forms such as by using wine in food preparation. There is no safe level of alcohol for pregnant women and so doctors and other health experts recommend that you avoid it altogether.
Knowledge on the proper diet is vital for any pregnant woman. Although the doctors will always give recommendations on what to eat and what to avoid, having the above tips in mind will still come in handy. And so if you want to ensure the health of your baby you should shun the food mentioned above and consume the recommended ones.