Pregnant women, while anticipating the joy of welcoming a new baby, are sometimes caught in between conflicting information on what to eat and what not to eat.
Of course, eating balanced diets is a must for pregnant women and the overall development of the baby. But while trying to balance those diets, some wrong choices could be made.
Some foods are good during pregnancy but how they are taken could harm mother and child.
In addition to more than 12 vitamins and minerals, eggs contain lots of quality protein. Eggs are also rich in choline, which promotes your baby’s overall growth and brain health, while helping prevent neural tube defects. Some eggs even contain omega-3 fats, important for both brain and vision development.
Elizabeth Ward, dietitian and author of Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy, writes: “Healthy women with normal blood cholesterol can consume one to two eggs a day as part of a balanced diet low in saturated fat”
It is best to consume your eggs hard-boiled or scrambled.
Raw eggs or any foods that contain raw eggs should be avoided because of the potential exposure to salmonella.
Fish provide an array of nutrients that are important for your baby’s early development. The main nutrient in fish is omega-3 fatty acids – DHA and EPA. Fish is also low in saturated fat and high in protein, vitamin D, and other nutrients that are crucial for a developing baby and a healthy pregnancy.
It is however important to note that fish contain contaminants such as mercury, which can harm a baby’s developing brain and nervous system.
Shark, swordfish, king mackerel and canned tuna contain some quantities of mercury so, if they can not be avoided, a lot of moderation should be applied while eating them.
The best choices of fish include salmon, trout, anchovies, herring, sardines and shad.
Milk and yoghurt
Milk is a vital source of dietary calcium for pregnant women. Having adequate quantities of milk will help you to meet your baby’s need for the mineral. Studies onclude that a pregnant woman requires 1,000 to 1300 mg of calcium per day.
Cow milk, goat milk, skimmed milk, soy milk are all good for the body. But raw or unpasteurized forms of any of the milk types mentioned are very dangerous.
Unpasteurized milk or foods that contain unpasteurized milk may contain the micro-organism, listeria. Listeriosis is an infection caused by microbes. Pregnant woman are more prone to it and this infection is deadly for babies.
In pasteurization process, microbes that contribute to several diseases are generally destroyed when heated on high temperature. Consumption of raw milk (which is not pasteurized and carries microbes) increases the risk of several diseases.
Any kind of yogurt is a great source of calcium, which is vital in a pregnancy diet.
Meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein, says dietitian Karin Hosenfeld of North Dallas Nutrition. She advises that “when buying red meat in particular, look for cuts that are around 95 to 98 percent fat free.”
Beef and pork stand out among meats because they contain choline in addition to protein.
WARNING! Don’t eat deli meats or hot dogs, though, unless they’re heated until steaming hot. There’s a small risk of passing bacteria and parasites, such as listeria, toxoplasma, or salmonella, from the meat to your baby, babycentre.com quotes Mayo Clinic obstetrician Mary Marnach.
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More foods pregnant women should avoid
Caffeine: Avoid caffeine during the first trimester to reduce the likelihood of a miscarriage. Caffeine should be limited to fewer than 200 mg per day during pregnancy. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it helps eliminate fluids from the body, which could result in water and calcium loss. It is very important that you are drinking plenty of water, juice, and milk rather than caffeinated beverages.
Alcohol: There is no amount of alcohol that is known to be safe during pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to alcohol can interfere with the healthy development of the baby. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or other developmental disorders.
Consume more of these foods
Beans contain the most fiber and protein of all the vegetables. Beans are good sources of iron, folate, calcium, and zinc. Navy beans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas … there are so many to choose from