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Foods to Eat while Pregnant

Suketu Mehta Apr 20, 2019
A pregnant woman requires some foods in abundance while some are not needed at all. This write-up provides information regarding best foods to eat while pregnant and the ones to be avoided.
Normally, any healthy diet should include foods that are rich in all the essential nutrients; however, it gains utmost importance for women who are pregnant.
The consumption of healthy food during pregnancy ensures proper growth of the baby, and it also keeps the mother-to-be physically and mentally fit. Ideally, a mother-to-be should consume about 300 more calories per day than she did before conceiving.
Therefore, foods that comprise essential vitamins and minerals should be included in a healthy pregnancy diet, while there are a few foods that should be strictly avoided.

Healthy Foods

Women should maintain a balanced diet all throughout their pregnancy. This ensures good health of both the mother and baby. Folic acid is an essential mineral for pregnant women as it minimizes the chances of any defects of the neural tube.
Cereals, green vegetables, bread, and brown rice are a few foods, which provide the body with the required quantities of folic acid . Folic acid supplements are also an option for women who cannot meet the dietary requirements through natural foods.
They will also require adequate amounts of different types of vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D. Apricots, pumpkins, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and beet greens have a good amount of vitamin A in them.
Vitamin C can be obtained by consuming broccoli, tomatoes, mustard green, grapes, oranges, or papayas, whereas Vitamin D can be produced by the body when exposed to sunlight.
Apart from assisting in bone and muscle formation, calcium also facilitates blood clotting and proper heartbeat. Inadequate calcium consumption could weaken the bones of the baby.
Therefore, calcium is extremely essential during pregnancy, and it can easily be obtained from dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, and cottage cheese. Some of these foods should be included in the daily diet.
The primary function of iron is the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to all the cells. A mother-to-be requires more than normal quantities of iron since the baby requires constant oxygen supply.
Meat, fish, green leafy vegetables, whole grain products, and poultry products are the foods rich in iron. Most women need to take iron supplements to help meet their daily requirements.
Fiber-rich foods like pasta, rice, fruits, whole grain cereals, breads, and vegetables also need to be consumed.

Foods to Avoid

  • Caffeine consumption must be reduced. This means coffee, chocolates, and tea should be consumed only in moderation.
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy should be completely avoided since it may lead to various birth defects such as low birth weight, prematurity, or mental retardation.
  • Certain kinds of cheeses like camembert, brie, blue veined, and a few Mexican types of cheese must be avoided since they may contain bacteria called listeria, which may be harmful for the fetus.
  • Raw meat, eggs, and undercooked food also should not be consumed.
  • Fish can be consumed during pregnancy; however, not all fish are safe for consumption. Fish with high mercury content like tilefish, swordfish, and shark should not be eaten at all. Also, raw oysters and clams should be avoided.
It is very normal for mothers-to-be to crave for certain foods, including those which are not healthy to eat during pregnancy. However, they must choose the best available option to ensure proper health for themselves and their babies. It is always a good idea to consult a doctor or a dietitian before making any lifestyle or diet changes during pregnancy.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.