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How to choose the best diet for pregnant women

Posted Oct 21 2012 5:40am

The saying “you should eat for two”, which our grandmothers used to say to pregnant women is not the best advice for expectant ladies as it turns out. Rather so, it is very important to follow a healthy diet for pregnant women, not only for you but for the developing new life in you.

The calories sufficient for your baby’s proper development while in the womb is an extra 200 to 300 calories to your normal daily calorie intake – and this in the last trimester.

  More importantly, to ensure that you are following the best diet for pregnant women, you should make sure you are consuming all the necessary nutrients for yourself and the growing baby. A recommended daily meal template will include three meals and two to three snacks, including: 6 to 10 servings of grains or bread, about 4 servings of fresh fruits, also try to eat vegetables and dairy products 4 times a day.  The meat, fish, nuts and all other proteins should be consumed three times a day. Try restraining from eating an excessive amount of sweets and fats.

Vitamins and minerals crucial for the diet for pregnant women

Although the vegetables and fruits as well as the other healthy foods you consume will provide for the necessary vitamins for the proper development of your baby, the Doctor will prescribe the necessary vitamin and mineral supplements. Of course, to stay on the safe side, you can get the necessary Vitamin C from fruits such as citrus fruits, and vegetables, such as brussel sprouts and fresh parsley. Rich sources of Vitamin A are foods such as: apricots, spinach, carrots, pumpkins or sweet potatoes.

Folic acid is essential for the prevention of neural tube development deformities in the developing baby. Folic acid should be taken as a supplement, but can also be ingested through foods, such as: legumes, dark leafy veggies and veal.

The appropriate amount of iron intake is also crucial for the diet for pregnant women.  Iron rich foods include: red meat, egg yolks, poultry giblets, oysters and scallops, liver, artichokes, spinach, beans and lentils or soybeans. Make sure you add these foods or some of them to your diet when you are expecting.

Your daily fiber intake should include foods, such as whole grain bread and pastas, rice and a lot of veggies and fruits.

Calcium – essential for the bones and proper development and growth of the baby can be taken as a supplement, but is also included in the dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) you should consume at least 3 times a day.

Sufficient iodine intake will be ensured by the consumption of dairy products and sea fish, as well as sea salt.

Of course, the doctors will always recommend to take special over-the-counter pregnancy supplements, such as folic acid, Vitamins C and D, iron, zinc, iodine and others especially during the first trimester of the pregnancy, or later on depending on your doctor’s advice. Remember, to use the specialized pregnancy multivitamins and supplements, because for example excessive intake of retinol (animal form of Vitamin A) during pregnancy can be harmful and even fatal for the unborn baby.

Diet for pregnant women – foods and beverages to avoid

Foods and beverages which should be excluded from your diet during pregnancy are: coffee and any caffeine drinks, alcohol, saccharin (other artificial sweeteners should be used in moderation)

To be on the safe side, you should abstain from eating raw fish, sushi, sashimi, and also any soft cheeses, which are an unpasteurized – brie, camembert, feta, or blue-veined, such as Roquefort.

Do not eat any raw or undercooked meat, pate or eggs, and stay away from too much canned tuna and shark or swordfish, which may have an excessive content of mercury.

Limit the consumption of fat, and decrease the cholesterol you eat. This is crucial not only for the baby, but for avoiding hypertension and gestational diabetes, which are common pregnancy complications.

Of course, there are moments during the pregnancy when you feel that you can’t eat or drink anything, such as the morning sickness in the first trimester. It is important to remember that you need to eat, so try having small snacks even before getting up of bed – like crackers, pretzels, or other small and light snacks. However nauseous you may feel, remember to eat small meals frequently, so that the stomach isn’t empty which, contrary to common belief, will actually make things worse.

Eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables to resolve the common problem with constipation during pregnancy, and drink a lot of water to trigger the bowel movement.

If you are of those women who experience the opposite problem during pregnancy – you can help alleviate diarrhea by eating boiled white rice, oatmeal, bananas or white bread.

To help heartburn which commonly occurs during pregnancy, have some milk before meals and stay away from spicy and hot foods.

Remember, even if you don’t feel like eating anything, you should consume the nutrients necessary for the normal development of your future child. Small meals and snacks are perfect for these moments in pregnancy. Also, if you have an extreme increase in your appetite, try to stick to the healthy foods recommended, and abstain from overindulging with sweets, fast food and unhealthy snacks.

The recommended and healthy weight gain during a pregnancy is 10 to 12.5 kg (22-27.5 pounds).

But please remember the basic rule of each diet for pregnant women – do not try to lose weight through a diet during the pregnancy – this can be damaging and even fatal for your baby.  If you are overweight or would like to minimize the number of pounds you gain during the pregnancy, the bet idea is to stick to the healthy but nutritious meals, avoid the unhealthy snacks, and limit the fat and sugar intake.

Also, there are exercises especially developed for pregnant women. Always consult your doctor before engaging in such exercises, and also inform them if you are vegetarian, vegan, have diabetes or another general health condition.

Remember, that this is the most exciting time in any woman’s life, and you are responsible for the best development, growth, gestation and birth of your baby, so what you eat and drink is crucial for it too.  Of course, you shouldn’t totally cross out a favorite meal or snack if it’s not on the list of recommended foods. Rather, you could enjoy it from time to time, but don’t overdo it with fatty, salty or sugary meals and snacks, because it may have a negative effect both on your baby and you, and may cause complications for you during the pregnancy, the birth and after the birth as well.

When choosing the best diet for pregnant women, it is important to think about the future – yours and your baby’s, but don’t get too psyched, and enjoy this joyous time of your life.



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