Eating the right food is perhaps the greatest concern for a pregnant woman. There may be doubts about whether you are eating the right food, what should be avoided, how much is right etc.
While you can pretty much continue the same diet as before, if you have been eating healthy, there are certain precautions and awareness to take care during pregnancy. It is important to have a well balanced diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables, protein, grains and hydrating fluids. You should make sure to consume around 300 calories more per day than you did before becoming pregnant.
Food to include in pregnancy diet
Fruits and Vegetables
You should eat at least four to five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This should include good sources of folic acid like dark green leafy vegetables, beans etc. At least 0.4 mg of folic acid per day is needed to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in the baby. Fruits and Vegetables are also rich sources of vitamins and iron.
Milk and dairy products
Dairy products are very good sources of calcium and protein. You should eat and drink at least four servings of dairy products in a day to ensure that you are getting 1000-1300 mg of calcium daily.
Bread and grains
Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice for your daily servings of bread and grain. These contain more fiber and are more nutritious than the white variety.
Fish, eggs, nuts, Poultry, Meat
Your daily diet should ideally have three to four servings of any of these rich protein sources.
Foods to avoid
Vitamin A rich food
like liver should best be avoided as excessive vitamin A intake is associated with fetal malformations.
Caffeine and Alcohol
They prevent absorption of folic acid and iron and their excessive intake can lead to problems like premature delivery, birth defects, mental retardation and low birth weight babies.
Saccharin and food additives
Avoid saccharin during pregnancy as it can cross the placenta and remain in fetal tissues. Additives like MSG – Monosodium glutamate, artificial food colorings, should also be avoided.
These cheeses are often unpasteurized and can cause infection.
Avoid fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish as they contain high levels of mercury.