Healthy Pregnancy Diet
Pregnancy is a very beautiful time and the feeling of having a baby is very precious for any woman. The healthier you stay the better would be the outcome. Taking care of yourself and your baby is vital.
There is a need to bring a lot of diet as well as lifestyle changes for a healthy and normal baby. Moderate exercise and proper diet can help you achieve your aim of taking care of your baby while remaining healthy.
Having healthy food does not mean you are supposed to give up all your favourite dishes and food, if they don’t exactly count as a part of a healthy diet. You can have them occasionally but in small quantity.
Considering about dieting to loose weight during pregnancy is highly inadvisable. Instead a healthy balanced diet should be the aim during pregnancy. However, keep in mind that excessive eating and eating unhealthy foods (such as junk foods rich in fat and high in calories) is also not advisable.
Why is it important to have a healthy diet during pregnancy?
· It helps prevent pregnancy complications and helps normal baby birth.
· It helps grow your foetus to a normal healthy baby.
· It helps prevent putting too much of weight of you and your baby.
· It helps you come back in shape again after pregnancy by controlling your weight gain.
· It helps you recover your health faster after pregnancy.
Healthy diet is over all good for the expecting mother’s well-being, during pregnancy and helps in post pregnancy recovery.
Recommended Foods To Eat During Pregnancy
Every pregnant woman should follow a balanced diet including some quantity of the following. A balanced diet includes eating controlled quantities of foods that will provide the expecting mother with the required energy and nutrients during pregnancy. Below are top foods that health professionals recommend for a health pregnancy diet:
#1 Fruits, Vegetables and Legumes
Eating fruits and vegetables during pregnancy supplies you with the essential nutrients required during your pregnancy period. Being low in calories, adding fruits and vegetables to your pregnancy diet helps you have a well balanced diet and also helps you attain a stabilized weight gain.
Expecting mothers should regularly eat fresh fruits and vegetables during their pregnancy period. Fruits and vegetables also contain high quantities of water in them, which helps keep a woman hydrated during her pregnancy. Going green, i.e. eating green vegetables during pregnancy is a healthy choice. Below we list top fruits and vegetables for your pregnancy period recommended by health professionals. However, this depend on an individual’s health condition such as some people may be allergic to a particular fruit and vegetable in which case consulting your health expert is a good idea.
Top vegetables to eat during pregnancy include:
· Asparagus etc.
Top fruits during pregnancy include:
· Apricot etc.
#2 Bread and cereals
Health professionals do not recommended expecting mothers to eat food containing a high quantity of carbohydrates because excessive amounts of carbohydrates can create some complications during pregnancy.
Foods rich in carbohydrates, if taken in large quantities during pregnancy can cause constipation during pregnancy. On the other hand, since carbohydrates also provide the energy that is required by the expecting mother to grow a healthy foetus, skipping carbohydrates completely is not a good idea.
Therefore, including (little quantities of) foods such as breads and cereals in your pregnancy diet is healthy for expecting mums. Along with being rich in carbohydrates that provide the energy the expecting mother requires, breads and cereals are also a very important source of vitamins and fibre.
Wholemeal bread, pasta, breakfast cereals and noodles are good option of food for the pregnant mother and can be a good addition to a healthy pregnancy diet. Therefore, controlled amounts of carbohydrates should be included in a healthy pregnancy diet.
#3 Milk, Yogurt and Cheese
Calcium along with Vitamin D plays an important in developing the foetus’ bones. Calcium is also importing for the developing foetus’ skin and eyesight. Therefore, having calcium rich foods during pregnancy is highly recommended.
Dairy products such as cheese, milk, yogurt etc. are rich sources of calcium. Health professionals recommend including calcium rich foods, in controlled quantities during pregnancy.
However the presence of fat in most calcium rich foods is not too healthy for the pregnant mother. Therefore, choosing low-fat varieties of milk, cheese etc. if possible if a good idea. Eating small quantities a day of calcium rich foods, say two to three small portions a day with each meal, is said to be ideal for a healthy balanced pregnancy diet.
#4 Meat, poultry, fish and alternatives
Protein is also an important nutrient essential for the growing foetus. It helps in the foetus’ cell building. Protein also helps increase the haemoglobin levels of bother the mother and the growing baby which overall helps in the healthy growth of the mother and the baby.
Most meat products are rich in protein. However, meat is not the only source of protein. Foods such as eggs, poultry as well as pulses are also rich in protein. Fish is another high source of protein. Proteins are very essential for a pregnant woman’s health.
However, one must avoid including “liver foods” in their pregnancy diet since liver foods can potentially have some negative effects during pregnancy. It is required to take some protein every day in your meal. It is recommended by health professionals to include protein rich foods in all meals of the day during pregnancy.
#5 Drinking Water
Keeping your body hydrated at all times during pregnancy is very necessary. Water is very helpful to improve hydration of the expecting mother’s body and in maintaining body temperatures during pregnancy. Regularly keeping yourself hydrated is also helps supply important required nutrients around the body of the pregnant mother.
Moreover, fluoride content present in water is very good for foetus’ teeth growth. Health professionals recommend drinking about 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. Depending on weather conditions, this requirement may fluctuate. For example, if you live in extreme hot conditions, the pregnant mother may require to intake more glasses of water per day.
How much to eat each day?
|Healthy Pregnancy Diet Chart**|
= 4-6 servings
= 2 slices bread
= 1 cup cooked rice, pasta, noodles
= 1 cup porridge or 1 1/3 cup cereal flakes
= 1 ½ servings
= 100 g cooked meat or chicken
= ½ cup cooked dried beans or peas
= 2 small eggs
= 120 g fish fillet or half cup tinned fish
= 1/3 cup nuts
Milk and Dairy Foods
= 3 servings
= 250 ml or 1 cup of milk
= 40 g or 2 slices of cheese
= 1 carton/200 g yogurt
= 4 servings
= 1 piece of fruit
= ½ cup of juice
= 1 cup canned fruit
= 5-6 servings
= ½ cup of cooked vegetables
= 1 cup salad vegetables
= 1 potato
= ½ cup cooked dried beans/lentils
= 0-2 ½ servings
= ½ chocolate bar
= 1 slice cake
= 1 packet chips
**Table Source: Fundamentals of obstetrics and Gynaecology (Llewellyn-Jones)
Foods to avoid during pregnancy
Did you know smoke salmon if consumed in more quantities during pregnancy can cause infections in the pregnant mother? As much as eating healthy foods during pregnancy is very important for both mother and the baby, avoiding foods not be eat during pregnancy is equally important. Read more on foods to avoid during pregnancy here.