A good diet while pregnant is not much different from a regular healthy diet. But you do have to take into consideration the fact that you will need to feed two mouths once you get pregnant… instead of just one!
You are also bound to gain some weight, something that most women dread. While part of that weight is a normal symptom of pregnancy, maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy will reduce weight gain and will keep you and your baby in a perfectly healthy condition.
What to eat while pregnant?
As with a regular healthy diet, the meals you have throughout the day have to involve different types of fresh fruit and vegetables, starchy foods, dairy foods and foods rich in protein. Any dietician will tell you that you have to combine these groups throughout the day in order to get the maximum effect.
When you are considering a healthy pregnancy diet, eating more than the standard three meals a day will turn into a must. This is because your body and the baby will use up energy supplies much faster. Having a constant intake of food which turns into energy will make you less nauseous and more energetic.
Foods that are high in fiber like whole-grain breads, vegetables, fruit, pasta and cereal are a must during pregnancy. Calcium rich foods like milk and cheese will also ensure that your baby’s bones will develop properly. Spinach should also be included often, as it is rich in iron.
Prenatal vitamins are also recommended, especially if you are not sure whether you are getting enough of the recommended doses every day. Vitamin C is very important as well and you can either get it from over-the-counter medicine or fruit like oranges, tomatoes or grapefruits. Make sure to include vitamin A in your diet once every couple of days. You can get it from apricots, pumpkins, carrots and sweet potatoes.
The most important supplement you need to take along with your diet is folic acid. This substance helps with the proper development of your baby’s spinal cord and brain, so it is very important. You can take it as a pill or include black beans, dark green leafy vegetables, lima beans and chickpeas.
Protein is also very important for a healthy diet. Three servings of food that contain protein are recommended. Eggs, nuts, poultry and meat are all rich in protein and can be easily combined with other foods.
During the first 6 months of pregnancy, your daily intake of calories can remain as before you were pregnant. An average of 200 calories should be added in the sixth month.
Foods to Avoid When Pregnant
In order to keep a healthy diet while pregnant there are a few foods and beverages that are to be avoided.
First of all, you should not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. Drinking alcoholic beverages can lead to birth defects, premature delivery and mental retardation for the baby. Smoking should be stopped and avoided during the pregnancy – even second-hand smoking. Caffeine intake should be limited as well.
The foods you should avoid are those which are rich in fat and cholesterol. These can lead to weight problems. Raw fish and any mercury-rich fish (shark, swordfish or tilefish) should be avoided. Avoid most artificial sweeteners like saccharin because it can cross through the placenta in the baby’s body.