It’s natural that you are overjoyed as well as extremely stressed at the prospect of a new baby arriving in your family! The physical and mental stress of a pregnancy is quite a tall task to handle and the situation is definitely not improved with all kinds of conflicting information sloshed in you especially about what to eat during pregnancy! With all agony aunt’s advices and wives tales reaching your ears, it’s understandable that you are completely messed up about what can pregnant women eat! To relieve you of this unnecessary stress, we go about busting some myths and help you gain some clear insight on food for pregnant women. Stay hooked!
1. Do Not Fall Prey To ‘Eat For Two’
The diet chart for pregnant lady prescribed by all the doting relatives and friends is to eat for two! With just about everyone stating the fact, it is no wonder that you too would start believing in it! However, it is just not true! Your nutrition requirement just increases to an average of 500 calories per day initially to little more as the pregnancy advances. In fact, overeating actually leads to an unnecessary weight gain which is not only tough to shed later but it also creates a huge health risk and complication during childbirth! Based on your medical condition, most doctors would advise you on what to eat during pregnancy and what proportions to stick to!
2. Overload Your Plate With ‘Big 5’ Nutrients
You might have seen that most food items tend to spike up the fat content during pregnancy while failing to look into other nutrients. However, one needs to follow a healthy pregnancy diet with an increased amount of nutrients which are essential during pregnancy. Though a balanced diet with food from all food groups is required; the Big 5 i.e. folate, calcium, iron, zinc and fiber is a must include nutrition for pregnancy. During the first six weeks of pregnancy, folate is the supreme nutrient required by the body with about 70 percent increased demand. The requirement for the other four nutrients also increases by over 50 percent. Hence, foods rich in these five nutrients are some of the best foods to eat when pregnant. Whole grains, beans, legumes, green vegetables, fruits – especially citrus fruits, poultry, fish, lean meat, etc., are few of the highly recommended food for the expecting mother!
[Also Read: Saffron Benefits During Pregnancy]
3. Ensure Variety In Your Diet
It always pays to ensure a variety in your plate at all times! Not only will you enjoy your meals better but your tiny bundle also gets exposed to varieties and new tastes through the amniotic fluid! Healthy food for pregnant women need not be boring! However, do not try to force things down your gullet. Stick to food which seem appetizing and enjoyable to you!
4. Try To Go With Organic And Locally Grown Foods
None of us are ignorant to the harmful effects of chemicals and pesticides used in food. However, the developing immune system of the fetus is extra sensitive to it and often succumbs to some birth defects or premature delivery because of it! Thus, you should be extra cautious about it and stick to organic foods as far as possible. It will go a long way in keeping both of you healthy.
5. Do Not Miss On Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 is extremely important for the baby’s brain and neurological development, especially in your womb! Thus, it’s imperative that you consciously include food rich in this fatty acid in your diet! Flaxseed and walnuts are god sources of it but nothing beats the fatty fish. However, fish can also have a high level of mercury which is detrimental to the developing nervous system. Thus, only fishes low in mercury like the wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, etc., are highly recommended. Fishes like shark, swordfish, mackerel and even tuna should be avoided. Fish oil supplements are also safe to consume.
6. Food Item To Be Avoided
You are now well aware of what to eat during pregnancy. Now, we have listed down few food items which should be steered clear of during pregnancy! We have already talked about not overeating and eating just fats. It is also highly recommended to avoid refined carbs like sodas, white rice, white bread, sweets, etc. These foods not only spike up your blood glucose levels but also tend to make the newborn obese and an obese individual later in life! Be a smart mom and start nurturing healthy habits in the baby from day one! Apart from this; alcohol, raw meat, unpasteurized food like raw milk, some meat varieties like cold cuts, unpasteurized refrigerated meat spreads, store bought deli salads like chicken, tuna, ham, etc., should also be avoided. Papaya, garlic and watermelon are some fruits and vegetables which are advised against eating during pregnancy.
Your diet during pregnancy affects the health and well being of you and your child and ensures a hassle free child birth. A healthy and well nourished pregnancy will help you enjoy those days stress free! What do you think about it?
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