Expecting a child soon? You already must have heard and read all about the foods that you can eat and the foods that you cannot eat. After all, you want to consume what’s best for your baby’s health. However, keeping a track of the foods that you should and shouldn’t consume can be confusing at times. You may crave your favorite seafood but can you have it? I don’t think so. To make the process easier, we have carefully curated all foods that are highly nutritious during pregnancy along with foods that should be avoided at all costs. Follow this list to have a happy, stress-free, and healthy pregnancy.
Here’s a hand-picked list of pregnancy-related nutrient facts that you should be aware of:
The quantity of food consumed has lasting effects on your child, throughout his/her life. This is why it is important to remember that the concept of “eating for two” is wrong.
The consumption of food does not double just because you are pregnant. During pregnancy, it is healthy to gain a maximum of 10-12 kgs(which varies slightly depending on your weight). By the second and third trimesters, you should be eating only 300-400 extra calories a day. Your doctor will give you an exact figure on how much to eat according to your height and weight.
IMPORTANT MINERALS AND VITAMINS TO BE INCLUDED IN YOUR DAILY DIET:
Magnesium: Your body needs magnesium and calcium for your baby’s bone growth and other related development. Although most pregnant women include a lot of calcium in their diets they tend to overlook magnesium. Magnesium is needed for the muscle tissue and regulates blood pressure so eat a lot of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, bran cereals, dry roasted almonds, baked potato with skin, and yogurt.
Iron: Another mineral that is important for your baby during pregnancy, iron makes more blood in your body to supply oxygen to your baby. However, it is hard to incorporate into a diet, especially for vegetarians, so taking supplements is advisable. However, you can include iron-fortified cereals and oats into your diet as well as spinach. The liver is also a rich source of iron as are other red meats.
Folic acid: Get enough folate or folic acid (a form of Vitamin B9) as it helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects including spina bifida. It is present in dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, hard-boiled eggs, brown rice, and black-eyed beans.
Foods that you should avoid or limit during pregnancy
Raw Eggs: Raw eggs can often get contaminated with Salmonella bacteria which can cause several infections that can result in projectile vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, fever, and stomach cramps. Consumption of eggs with Salmonella can lead to stillbirth or premature birth and cause numerous other complications during pregnancy. So it’s better to avoid foods that contain raw eggs such as homemade mayonnaise, poached eggs, or homemade ice cream.
High-sodium foods: Although many pregnant women crave salty foods, it is best to stay away from chips and other high-sodium foods as they can aggravate swelling and water retention as well as cause dehydration.
Green Papaya: This fruit contains a latex substance that triggers the early onset of labor. It’s best to stay away from dishes that contain papaya as it can be harmful to your baby. However, a fully ripened papaya poses no risk to the mother or the fetus.
Caffeine: Caffeine can be consumed but in moderation. Although there is a lot of debate regarding how much is the daily acceptable amount of caffeine, one cup a day should not harm you or the baby. This also includes caffeine that exists in colas and energy drinks. This is why it is important to read the labels.
Soft Cheeses: Always check the label on soft cheeses (including paneer) before you consume as many use unpasteurized milk to make the cheese, which may contain harmful bacteria such as E.Coli or Listeria. Other foods that contain them are uncooked or semi-cooked eggs and meat (including cold cuts and deli meat such as those you might find in a submarine sandwich).
Keep your diet clean: Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The more colors the more nutrients! However make sure they are all properly washed (especially fruits such as grapes, apples, and pears that are eaten directly with the peel) as they may contain harmful pesticides and chemicals. If you have access to organic fruits it is advisable to buy those. Eating seasonal and local fruits will ensure that you get your daily required intake of Vitamin C which not only helps in the absorption of Iron but also has ant-oxidants that help fight infections.