Consuming a healthy pregnancy diet is essential as it keeps both the mother and the baby healthy and active and helps supply all the essential nutrients that the baby needs in the womb.
The pregnant woman needs to watch what she eats closely. Needless to say, getting to know what to avoid is equally important as knowing what to eat during pregnancy. Let us take a look at what foods to eat and avoid during pregnancy.
Foods to eat during pregnancy
In order to meet the needs of a growing child, a pregnant woman should take more protein and calcium throughout pregnancy. Milk, yoghurt and cheese are some of the dairy products which should be considered. Whey and casein two forms of high-quality protein abundant in dairy products.
Dairy products are the best sources of calcium in your diet. Dairy products also contain a lot of B vitamins, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. Greek yoghurt, in particular, has more calcium than many other dairy products and is therefore very nutritious.
Probiotic bacteria, available in some forms, helps in maintaining gut health.
Lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts are some of the foods in this category. Legumes are high in fiber, iron, protein, calcium and folate, all of which a woman’s body needs more during pregnancy.
Folate (B9) is one of the most important B vitamins. It is crucial for both the mother and the baby, especially in the first trimester and even before conceiving. Every day, the pregnant woman will need at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folate, which might be difficult to get from diet alone. However, together with supplementation depending on the doctor’s prescription, bringing in legumes can help the individual get a sufficient amount of folate.
Legumes are also high in fibre and some forms of legumes contain iron, magnesium, and potassium in abundance.
Considering hummus on whole-grain bread, black beans in a taco salad or lentil curry as ways to incorporate legumes into the diet helps to achieve the requirement.
Sweet potatoes contain high amount of beta carotene, a plant chemical that the body converts to vitamin A. They taste great when cooked and there are a variety of ways available to eat them.
Vitamin A is necessary for the child’s development. However, excessive amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A, such as organ meats, can induce toxicity if consumed in large quantities. Sweet potatoes, fortunately, are a good source of beta carotene and fiber from plants.
Fiber keeps the stomach fuller for longer, lowers blood sugar surges, and helps in better digestion.
Eggs contain a small amount of nearly all the essential nutrients a pregnant woman’s body requires. A big egg provides around 80 calories and high-quality protein, fat, and other vitamins and minerals.
Choline, a crucial vitamin during pregnancy, is abundant in eggs. It promotes the development of a baby’s brain and helps to avoid brain and spine developmental disorders.
A single entire egg contains about 147 milligrams (mg) of choline, bringing the pregnant woman closer to the current daily choline intake recommendation of 450 mg.
Whole grains, unlike refined grains, are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and plant components. Rather than white bread, spaghetti, and white rice, the individual can consider oats, quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, and barley.
Oats and quinoa are the best examples of healthy grains that are high in protein. B vitamins, fiber, and magnesium are all nutrients that are usually deficient in pregnant women.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy:
The following foods must be avoided in order to prevent any disorder and issues from developing during pregnancy:
- Avoid or limit the intake of mercury-containing seafood such as shark, swordfish, and marlin.
- Uncooked or partially cooked meats should be avoided, and it is advisable to consume only fully cooked meats.
- Avoid uncooked shellfish as it may cause bacterial or viral infections
- Avoid raw eggs and any dishes that have raw eggs.
- Listeria is a type of bacteria that cause infections, particularly in pregnant women and babies. This can be fatal too. Soft, mold-ripened cheeses like camembert and brie are likely to have listeria infection and hence, those need to be avoided.
- During pregnancy, no amount of alcohol is known to be safe. Strictly avoiding alcohol is the safest option. Alcohol in the blood flows through the umbilical cord to the fetus, and excessive alcohol exposure can harm prenatal development. There’s also a chance the baby will acquire fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). This can lead to vision or hearing impairments, focus problems, and low body weight.
- Caffeine consumption during pregnancy is linked to a higher risk of abortion, fetal development problems, and low birth weight. Caffeine consumption as little as 100–200 milligrams (mg) per day may negatively impact embryonic development. The underlying causes of this are unknown yet. Caffeine is found in a variety of foods and beverages other than coffee. Some sodas, energy drinks, chocolate, and teas are examples. Caffeine is also found in some flu and cold medicines. More information on which medicines are safe can be obtained from your doctor.
It is always best to be aware of what to eat and what not to do during pregnancy. The result is that when a woman is pregnant, it is essential to avoid foods and beverages that can leave the baby and the mother at risk.
In order to have a healthy pregnancy, it is advisable to consult your Apollo health care specialist and know the dietary options to be considered throughout the pregnancy. During the gestational period. it is important and also safe to seek medical advice before beginning any diet programs on your own, as it is the most critical period of any woman’s life.