Pregnancy and Diet: Eating Well during Pregnancy

By:Ariba Khaliq, Onlymyhealth Editorial Team,Date:Aug 01, 2011

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Pregnancy is a time when the mother has to be extra careful about what to eat, what not to eat and how much to eat. After all, the baby's health is at stake. Here are some principles of eating during pregnancy that ensure the health of both the mother and the unborn child.
  • 1

    Eating during Pregnancy

    Sure you have to eat better while you are pregnant but it doesn’t mean eating much more than you already are. If you are at a healthy weight when you have conceived, you don’t need any extra calories during the first trimester. The second trimester calls for 300 extra calories a day, and about 450 of them in the third and final trimester. But, if you are overweight or underweight when you start, you’ll need more or less, depending on the weight gain goal.

    Image: Getty

  • 2

    Fine Tune Your Diet

    More protein is a common requisite for most pregnant women. They also need more of certain vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and iron, and more calories. If your diet isn’t balanced, you should be working with your doctor to make a transition towards eating nutritious meals. This is crucial for your own and your baby’s health.

    Image: Getty

  • 3

    Skip These Foods

    You have to stay away from raw or undercooked foods such as raw seafood including oysters and sushi. Also unpasteurised milk and cheese made from it such as soft cheese, such as Brie or Camembert, and Mexican cheeses like queso blanco and panela are not forsuitable for pregnant women. All of these foods are a source of bacteria that can harm your baby’s health. Also steer clear of caffeine found in coffee, teas, soft drinks, cocoa and chocolate.

    Image: Getty

  • 4

    Prenatal Supplements are Important

    Only a balanced diet is not enough for an expectant mother to fulfil her nutritional needs, she also requires vitamin-mineral supplements. Your doctor will most likely prescribe you vitamins with folic acid (600 mcg), a lack of which may cause neural birth defects in the unborn child. Iron and calcium are some key minerals that you should be taking through supplements during pregnancy because food may not provide the adequate amount.

    Image: Getty

  • 5

    Dieting is a Strict No during Pregnancy

    Weight gain is a positive sign of a healthy pregnancy and dieting to stop it can prove to be hazardous for you and your baby. Many weight-loss regimes are likely to leave you low not only on calories, but on iron, folic acid, and other important vitamins and minerals and you should completely avoid them.

    Image: Getty

  • 6

    Gain Weight Slowly

    Weight gain during pregnancy is healthy but it should not happen all at once. You should gain the least weight during the first trimester (roughly 1 to 5 pounds) and then gain roughly a pound a week in the second and third trimesters. The weight gain might be different for women carrying twins or who’re underweight or overweight at the start of pregnancy.

    Image: Getty

  • 7

    Eat Frequent Meals

    A full-size meal may feel unpleasant to the pregnant woman who is experiencing nausea, food aversions, heart burn, or indigestion, which are all symptoms of pregnancy. You could scatter your meal throughout the day, eating small but frequent portions. As your pregnancy progresses and your baby increasingly pushes your stomach and other digestive organs, you’ll have less space in your body for big meals anyway.

    Image: Getty

  • 8

    Treat Yourself Every Once in a While

    Just because you are pregnant, you don’t have to give up all your favourite foods like packaged snacks, and sugar-loaded desserts. They however, should be the mainstay of your diet. You can have them every once in awhile or on some occasion.

    Image: Getty

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