A baby`s main source of nourishment is what the mother drinks or eats. Therefore, it`s expected for a pregnant mother to choose a variety of healthy foods, drinks, and beverages to provide the important nutrients a baby needs for development and growth. The body system of pregnant women will need nutrients such as calcium, folic acid, protein, and iron than a woman who is not expecting.
If you`re pregnant, your goal is to be eating nutritious foods most of the time so as to maximize prenatal nutrition especially these five food groups: vegetables, fruits, dairy products, lean protein, and whole grains.
According to research done by professional doctors, here is why these nutrients are so important
Every doctor will recommend pregnant women fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of it with whole grains and a quarter of it with a source of lean protein, and to also have a dairy product at every meal.
Fruits and vegetables
Pregnant women should focus on eating vegetables & fruits, particularly during the second and third trimesters. Get between 5 (five) and 10 (ten) tennis ball-size servings of produce every day because these colorful foods are filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals and also low in calories.
It`s advisable that pregnant women should include good protein sources to their meal to support the baby`s growth. Protein-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, cheese, beans, milk, seeds and nuts.
These foods are an important source of energy in the diet, and they provide fiber, iron and B-vitamins. At least pregnant women’s carbohydrate choices each day comes from whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta or bread and brown rice.
Pregnant women should always aim for 3 (three) to 4 (four) servings of dairy foods every day. These dairy foods can be milk, yogurt, and cheese because they are good dietary sources of calcium, vitamin D and protein. In addition to a healthy diet, pregnant women should also take a daily prenatal vitamin to obtain some of the nutrients that are difficult to get from foods alone, such as iron and folic acid.
For pregnant women that take chewable prenatal vitamins, it`s advisable to always check the product labels, because chewable s might not have sufficient iron levels in them.
Examples of food pregnant women should limit
Rare, raw or under cooked meats and poultry.
Raw fish, such as sushi, sashimi, ceviches, and carpaccio.
Raw and under cooked shellfish, such as clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops.
Avoid under cooked meat, especially sausages or minced meat. Be careful to boil or cook them thoroughly so there will be no trace of blood. Even though the risk is low, you may also prefer to avoid raw cured meat, such as Parma ham, chorizo, pepperoni, and salami. It`s safest to eat well-cooked meat when you`re pregnant.
These types of meat can pass a Toxoplasma infection on to a baby in the womb, which can cause problems such as blindness or mental disability later in life. Some foods may increase a pregnant woman`s risk for other types of food poisoning and illness.
It can be considered safe during pregnancy to consume fewer than 200 mg of caffeine in a day, which is the amount found in one 12-ounce cup of coffee. A recent report found that moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy does not appear to contribute to miscarriage or premature birth. A pregnant woman drinking a lot of caffeine in pregnancy can easily have a miscarriage and low birth weight. You can find caffeine in tea or coffee, cola, and some other soft drinks, chocolate, etc. During your pregnancy, you should limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day.
Unpasteurized milk or dairy products
Please avoid unpasteurized milk and products made from it. This also applies to sheep`s milk and goat`s milk. If you only have access to unpasteurized milk, you should boil it before taking it. Other kinds of milk sold in supermarkets and shops mostly are pasteurized and fine to drink.
Liver and other foods containing vitamin A
Avoid liver and liver products such as liver sausage or liver pie. It`s not safe to take multivitamins containing vitamin A or fish liver oils, like cod liver oil. Always steer clear of any foods containing vitamin A added.
Avoid mold-ripened soft cheeses, such as Camembert, brie, and others with a similar rind, including goats` cheese. Also avoid soft blue-veined cheeses, such as Gorgonzola, Danish blue, and Roquefort.
Under cooked ready meals
It is important to follow the cooking instructions on the pack of any ready meals you eat but also check that the meal is piping hot all the way through before eating it. Especially if the meal is containing poultry stuff, such as turkey or chicken because there`s a risk that these could contain listeria.
Raw or under cooked eggs
Pregnant women should eat cooked eggs. That is, cooked until the yolks and whites are solid all the way through. Using eggs in cooked recipes is OK and safe but avoid taking foods that includes raw egg in them, such as mousse or homemade mayonnaise. This is because there is a risk of salmonella; which is a common cause of food poisoning and can harm the baby.
Certain kinds of fish
For pregnant women, fish is OK but you should aim to eat at least 2 (two) portions a week, including one portion of oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, or fresh tuna. Also, you should avoid eating swordfish, shark, and marlin because they contain high levels of mercury, which could affect your baby`s nervous system. Finally, avoid eating raw shellfish, such as oysters because they may give you food poisoning.
Alcohol can harm a pregnant woman and her baby, and experts cannot be sure that any amount of it is safe. Therefore, the best thing to avoid completely during pregnancy is alcohol, especially in the first 3 (three) months. If you decide to drink after that, keep it to a maximum of one or two units, no more than once or twice a week.
Conclusion for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women should avoid eating from a toddler`s plate or with their spoons, fork, or knife because it can put them at risk of a viral infection called Cytomegalovirus (CMV). This is often contracted by young children at nurseries. This virus can be harmless to children but could have harmful effects on an unborn baby.
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