Pregnancy Diet and Nutrition: What to Eat and What to Avoid



If you’ve recently found out that you are pregnant, you are probably trying to learn as much as you can about what you can expect during the upcoming months including what you can and can’t eat. From reading books about pregnancy and attending childbirth classes to visiting your doctor regularly, there is a lot on your mind. When we feel preoccupied with so many things, it’s not uncommon to neglect our diet and what we eat. However, when expecting, you have to take even more care of your nutrition. Listed below are some foods you need to eat and some you need to avoid.

Nutritious Foods You Need to Eat During Pregnancy

Pregnant women need plenty of nutrients, the most important of which are iron, calcium, folic acid, and protein. For example, you need to double your intake of iron in order to supply your baby with oxygen. Calcium will build their bones and teeth, as well as vitamin D. Then, folic acid is a type of B vitamin that helps prevent birth defects in the brain and spinal cord. Finally, protein is a builder nutrient as it builds the baby’s organs.

To get all of these nutrients, you will need to eat a balanced diet. Fruits and veggies are vital as they are low in calories but rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. For protein, you want various types of lean meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. Leafy greens, citrus fruits, pasta, and various types of bread are all great sources of folic acid, while you need milk, yogurt, and cheese to reach the necessary calcium levels. Plenty of aforementioned foods also contain iron, such as fish and meat, but you can also consider iron-fortified cereals.

If you love cooking, you’ll also love discovering new recipes where you can use these foods to their fullest. In case you don’t enjoy cooking or are put on bed rest, you can also turn to delivery services, such as Pregnancy Chef, that provide you with tasty meals that are easy to store in the freezer so that you can prepare them whenever you’re feeling hungry.

Foods to Eat in Limited Amounts During Pregnancy

While we did mention fish as a great source of protein and even though some types like salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart, some other types can be harmful. For example, albacore or white tuna contains high levels of mercury and its intake should be limited to 6 ounces per week. Replace this type of tuna with canned light tuna which is much safer to eat.

Furthermore, while not exactly food, you should pay attention to how much caffeine you are consuming on a daily basis. There is no need to completely cut out coffee and tea from your routine but you should limit your caffeine intake to 200 mg.

Foods to Avoid Eating During Pregnancy

Although you can eat white tuna in limited amounts, you should avoid other types of fish that are high in mercury. Therefore, don’t eat shark, marlin, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, for instance. Mercury is harmful to the development of the baby’s brain, kidneys, and nervous system.

Then, you should also steer clear of raw meat. Whether it’s raw fish, raw or undercooked shellfish, or raw, rare, or undercooked meats and poultry, you should not eat them to prevent toxoplasmosis. What are more, raw, runny, soft-cooked, and poached eggs and anything containing them such as Hollandaise sauce or tiramisu also pose a threat. Sprouts such as clover and alfalfa that are raw should be avoided as well.

Furthermore, various types of unpasteurized food can lead to listeriosis, which can cause preterm labour, miscarriage, and stillbirth. To prevent these scenarios, avoid unpasteurized milk and food made from it, unpasteurized juices as well as deli salads and cold cuts as they might contain bacteria. Finally, you need to avoid alcohol as it can pass from your blood to the baby. This can cause learning and behavioural difficulties as well as physical problems.

As you can see, what you eat is important if you want to ensure your baby grows strong and healthy and prevent any possible issues. Take these into consideration and consult with your physician if you have any questions.


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