Congratulations! The big news has arrived, and you are now all set to begin those nine months of pampering and care!
As much as you are excited, there will be a thousand questions running through your mind, especially those that concern you and your to-be-born baby’s health.
One of the biggest queries that most expectant moms have is what to eat during those nine months. Everything that you eat now will directly affect your baby’s growth in the womb. Post-delivery, what you eat will help provide nourishment to your baby, while you breastfeed your baby.
Today we’ll give you some suggestions on healthy food to eat while pregnant that you should follow for your health and your unborn baby’s development too.
Pregnancy Diet: What to Eat?
1. Grains And Cereals
1. All whole grain foods are great during pregnancy as they are high in fiber. These include bread, rice, pasta, wheat and oatmeal.
2. Besides being a great source of fiber., these foods are also loaded with minerals and are often iron-fortified.
3. Pregnant women are very susceptible to constipation which may lead to painful hemorrhoids in the third trimester and post-delivery. Hence the need for fiber rich food.
4. The mineral content helps in the overall development of the fetus and replenishes minerals in the mother’s body as well.
2. Dairy Products
Dairy products are first on the list of food to eat during pregnancy! As calcium intake is a must during pregnancy. Include low-fat or skimmed milk, paneer, yogurt, lassi or buttermilk. These are not only rich in calcium but also in Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. Milk is also considered to improve digestion and appetite in pregnant women. However if you have issues with milk-based products, consult your doctor about how you would replace dairy products for enough calcium intake. Calcium is necessary when you are pregnant as it helps in the bone and teeth development of your little one. Drink 2-3 glasses of milk each day.
3. Fruits And Vegetables
Pregnant ladies should include at least six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Plan your meals accordingly. Fruits and veggies are very rich in all vitamins minerals and fibers. Not only that they are also a good source of Vitamin C which is good for both you and your baby. Vitamin C strengthens gums and tissues, helps in healing wounds fast and also helps in absorbing iron.
Have enough of berries, oranges, apples, melons, strawberry, papaya, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and cabbage. During your meals, keep a plate of green salad.
Eating a variety of colorful fruits during pregnancy ensures that the growing baby gets all the essential antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, kale and spinach are an excellent source of folate, minerals and Vitamins C, K and A.
The main minerals that are vital for pregnancy are as follows:
- Calcium: (RDA 1000mg) found in most greens, milk products, legumes, and nuts.
- Zinc: (RDA 15mg) whole grains, broccoli, eggs, lean meats, and tomatoes.
- Iron: (RDA 30mg) whole grains, greens, meats, legumes, dried fruits and tofu.
- Iodine: (RDA 175mcg) iodized salt, seafood, and cheese.
- Selenium: (RDA 65mcg) seafood and grains.
- Phosphorus: (RDA 700mg) fish, eggs, meats.
- Magnesium: (RDA 360mg) all beans, cashews, broccoli, and tofu.
- Flouride: (RDA 3.1mg) fluoridated water, seafood and tea.
Include enough proteins in your diet. Have lean meat (excluding liver), fish, eggs, beans and sprouts. Have fish 2-3 three times a week. Include sea fish like sardines and tuna in your diet. These fish are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are one of those healthy fats. It has been found that omega-3 fats are needed for brain and eye development of your unborn child.
Omega-3 fats are responsible for a faster development of your child’s brain. Other than that omega-3 fats also prevent the chances of asthma and allergies at a later age.
Always cook eggs, fish, and meat properly before eating. Cook eggs in such a way that both the white portion and yolk becomes hard. Only then it is properly cooked. Uncooked or semi-cooked foods may contain bacteria which may result in food poisoning. It may also poison your baby’s blood.
Pregnancy Diet – What Not To Eat
Just as you have to know what you should eat during pregnancy, you need to also know what you should NOT eat during pregnancy. Here is a list of ‘Don’ts’ for a healthy pregnancy.
1. Fruits To Avoid
There are quite a number of fruits that you need to avoid during pregnancy.
a. Papaya tops the list. In some countries, having papaya during pregnancy is considered harmful for the baby. Many may think it as superstition, but even science has proved that raw and semi-ripe papayas being rich in latex cause uterine contractions and thereby early labor. However on the other hand, consuming fully ripe papayas when pregnant is excellent.
b. Pineapples should also be avoided as they contain bromelain and may lead to softening of cervix and early labor.
c. Grapes should be avoided in the last trimester. It may lead to increase in body heat.
2. Coffee And Other Caffeine-Related Drinks
Coffee might have been your stress-buster all these years but not anymore, at least not during your pregnancy. Cut down on coffee and other caffeinated drinks altogether. Past studies have shown that too much of caffeine in your diet may lead to miscarriages, retardation of growth in baby and underweight babies. Also caffeine slows down the absorption of iron in your body which may lead to anemia.
So avoid, tea, coffee, soda or any aerated drinks.
3. Unwashed Vegetables And Fruits
The toxoplasma gondii parasite and listeria bacteria often hide in fruits and vegetables.
- Beware of having unwashed fruits and vegetables.
- They must be thoroughly washed before being consumed.
- In countries where pesticides are used in large quantities, it is best to peel off the fruits before consumption.
- Raw vegetables must be avoided, especially raw sprouts and salad dressings, as they may contain harmful bacteria and viruses.
4. Raw Seafood
The top must-not-eat food during pregnancy is raw, uncooked fish.
- Shellfish, marlin, swordfish, shark and sushi – all of them contain methyl mercury which is severely detrimental for fetal brain development.
- Consult your doctor before starting any fish oils too.
- Avoid undercooked fish as it might contain harmful bacteria and give you an unwanted infection.
5. Raw Meats
Raw, undercooked meats are avoided at all times in life, much more so during pregnancy.
- Besides possibly containing infectious bacteria, these might also contain toxoplasma cysts. These cysts contain the toxoplasma gondii parasite and may cause severe damage to the fetus.
- The parasitic infection reaches the fetus through the umbilical cord and wreaks havoc.
- All meats must be washed and cooked thoroughly – another good reason to avoid eating out too often.
- Avoid pre-stuffed poultry, ready-to-eat meats and meat spreads as they may contain harmful bacteria.
- Liver must be avoided as it contains large doses of vitamin A and its excess can be harmful to the fetus.