For most women, especially for those that are used to refrain from foods and follow strict diets in order to maintain their silhouette, the nine months of pregnancy are considered a break from all this stress. This doesn’t mean that you can jump the gun and allow yourself excesses. However, pregnant women have to eat for two and although your fetus is tiny, you still need at least an extra of 300 calories a day, compared to your normal diet, in order to properly nourish yourself and your unborn baby. To spill any doubts, let’s take a look at what foods should be included in a pregnancy diet and what’s best to be avoided.
Healthy Eating Tips
Let’s start with a few basic tips that should model your diet and ensure that you eat only what’s healthy for you and your baby. Read on and try to ditch those pregnancy cravings.
– Variation: make sure that you include a large variety of foods in your daily menu. This will help you absorb all the needed nutrients for proper pregnancy development. You should eat daily fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy products and foods that provide protein (meat, fish, nuts).
– Hydration: drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. That’s at least 85 Oz (2.5 liters). It will help you avoid constipation and also constantly replenish the amniotic fluid.
Timing: respect your meal schedule. It’s not like eating only for yourself anymore. Because you need and tend to eat a little more as normal, spread out your meals evenly and try to eat small amounts more often, than larger plates and the standard three meals a day.
– Calcium & Vitamin D: the growing fetus needs high amounts of Calcium while growing. According to the U.S. RDA (U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance) a pregnant women needs an intake of 1000 mg of Calcium, daily. This is why you need to emphasize on dairy products and other foods that are rich in Calcium (broccoli spinach, beans). Vitamin D helps calcium fixation and is found in fish and eggs. It can also be accumulated from sunlight. Pregnant women should spend at least 15 minutes a day under the sun.
– More Iron: during pregnancy the female body is set to assimilate greater quantities of Iron because this mineral helps blood oxygenation and prevents the installation of fatigue and even the possible onset of depression. It’s important to include more iron-rich foods in your diet like cereals for breakfast, green vegetables, fish, lean meat and poultry.
– Limit Fats & Sweets: fatty foods and sweets should be skipped as much as possible, in order to avoid unhealthy weight gain.
– No Alcohol: nothing has changed in terms of alcohol prohibition during pregnancy. Alcoholic beverages are a no go because of increased risks of premature delivery, underweight newborns and various other birth defects.
What Foods To Emphasize On
Here are some of the most important nutrients needed during pregnancy along with foods that contain them:
What Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
During pregnancy women experience alterations of their immune system and this makes them vulnerable to specific illnesses caused by foods. An upset stomach can cause much more harm when a fetus is around. I’m talking about dehydration and even miscarriage.
1. Sushi & Raw Fish: They are very dangerous because raw fish can come with parasites that cause various illnesses to a pregnant mother. I also recommend you to forget for the next nine months about oysters and clams.
2. Mercury Fish: Fish is a great addition to a pregnant’s diet because it comes with precious nutrients, like omega-3 acids that contribute to the baby’s brain development. However, fish that are known to live long and thus collect high amounts of mercury should be definitely avoided. I’m talking here about swordfish, shark, tilefish. You can safely eat salmon or catfish but don’t overdue it. One fish meal per week should be enough.
3. Eggs: Avoid any serving that includes sauces, dressings or any other form of recipe that includes raw eggs. They can cause salmonella poisoning which brings nasty diarrhea and vomiting episodes.
4. Coffee: is tolerated in moderate amounts. A cup per day in the morning should be enough for those of you that can’t leave without it. However, what exceeds this amount becomes dangerous. Also, avoid artificial energy drinks. Do note that there are other beverages like dark or green tea that also contain caffeine. Avoid mixing them! Try instead to replace coffee with green tea.
5. Unpasteurized Cheese: Check the labels before eating soft cheese like Feta, Camembert, Brie, Gorgonzola. If they’re made with unpasteurized milk they aren’t a proper fit for your diet because they can make you sick from Listeria.
6. Sausages: are rich in Nitrate levels which could lead to birth defects. Although studies are inconclusive and doctors don’t restrict them you should play it safe and avoid them as much as possible.
7. Sodas: aren’t not prohibited during pregnancy, but their nutritional value is very poor. The come with artificial sweeteners which aren’t banned but it’s recommended to consume them with moderation. There is one though, called saccharin that has been proven to penetrate the placenta and endanger the fetus.