Pregnancy is among the most important times in a woman’s life because how to treat your mind and body at this time would be directly affecting a whole other life. During this time, you need to take extra care in watching what you eat because it will be the foundation of your baby’s health. If you are looking for pregnancy diet advice on the internet, look no further. This article explains in detail what are the foods an expecting mother should consume and what should be strictly avoided.
The most important aspect of a healthy pregnancy diet lies in the balance. To keep with the changes in her body and support a whole other human inside her, a pregnant woman needs to make sure that her diet contains all the essential vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of some of the foods that must be included in a pregnant woman’s diet-
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Protein Food
- Whole Grains
- Healthy Fats
A healthy diet usually contains fruits and vegetables. Therefore it is an essential item in the pregnancy diet list as well. Being rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, fruits and vegetables play a huge role in your baby’s growth. It is advised to have about 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day, in any form like fresh, juice, dried or frozen. However, certain fruits and vegetables like papaya, pineapple, grapes, brinjal are said to be dangerous for a pregnant woman and need to be avoided.
Protein-rich food provides amino acids, vitamin B and iron which helps the baby stay healthy inside the womb. A balanced diet should definitely contain protein foods such as fish, lean meat, chicken and eggs. If you are a vegetarian you can choose vegan proteins options like Tofu and soy products. Additionally, there are beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, which are good sources of protein as well.
Grains are packed with fibre which is a must in every pregnant woman’s diet. Grains also provide thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, which improve your digestion and helps the baby absorb nutrients easily. Around 6 to 11 ounces of whole grains is an ideal amount, which can be found in whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and rice.
Healthy fats are an essential macronutrient that ensures the good health of a pregnant woman and her baby. Healthy fats are found in food such as nuts, avocados and plant-based oils like sunflower, corn and olive oil. However, unhealthy fats should be strictly avoided, which are found in foods like butter, cheese, palm and coconut oils.
Calcium is extremely important for the health of a pregnant woman and her baby. Dairy products are packed with calcium which is essential for the baby to develop strong bones and teeth. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are excellent sources that help your body meet its calcium needs.
We are all aware of the importance of drinking adequate water. The baby needs water for healthy development and the mother needs it in order for proper functioning. Therefore, it is extremely important to stay hydrated during pregnancy. It is advised to drink 8 cups of water on a daily basis.
Having listed down all the foods that are essential for a healthy pregnancy let’s take a look at some of the things that either need to be strictly avoided or consumed in small quantities.
- Raw or undercooked meat
- Uncooked fish
- Raw Eggs
- Raw Sprouts
- Unwashed fruits or vegetables
- Junk Food
Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is said to have serious consequences on the health of your baby. It can lead to stillbirth and miscarriages or cause the baby to be born with heart defects or mental disabilities. Even a small amount can have a big impact on the baby, Therefore, it is strictly advised to completely avoid it.
Caffeine intake is best kept to a minimum during pregnancy. This is because caffeine is absorbed very quickly and it is easily passed to the placenta and fetus. Since the fetus isn’t developed enough to metabolize caffeine, high levels can build up. This can restrict the growth of the fetus and increase the chances of low birth weight.
Meat which is raw or undercooked increases the risk of infection from bacteria and parasites including Toxoplasma, Listeria and Salmonella. This might result in causing stillbirth or neurological illness like blindness, epilepsy or intellectual disabilities. Therefore, a mom-to-be should strictly avoid these.
Raw fish can often cause infections due to bacteria, viruses and parasites. This can either infect the mother or be passed on to the unborn baby. Pregnant women are said to be extremely vulnerable to Listeria infections. Listeria is generally found in soil or contaminated water, which can easily contaminate raw fish. Pregnant women are therefore advised to avoid raw fish, especially shellfish.
Raw eggs have a high chance of being contaminated with Salmonella. The symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea are usually just experienced by the mother. But in rare cases, it can lead to premature birth or stillbirth.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid raw sprouts because they might be contaminated with Salmonella. Raw sprouts include sprouts, clover, radish and bean sprouts. However, these sprouts are safe to consume once they are cooked.
Unwashed fruits and vegetables are a common source of Toxoplasma parasite, which contaminates the soil where fruits and vegetables are grown. It is extremely dangerous for a pregnant woman because it puts the fetus at the risk of developing schizophrenia and other mental disorders. Therefore it is best to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
Pregnant women need a high amount of essential nutrients to facilitate the rapid growth and changes going on in her body. However, junk food is low in nutrients and high in calories, sugar and fats. This can lead to excess weight gain that causes several complications like gestational diabetes, as well as pregnancy or birth complications. It can also lead to high birth weight.