Once you are given the amazing news that you are expecting, you will begin your journey of learning as much as you can about what awaits you in the next few months. You might turn to your parents to get some valuable lessons or opt for reading books, talking to other parents online, and attending childbirth classes. Whichever method you choose, you will surely realize how important your nutrition is. What you eat in your pregnancy will help you handle all the obstacles your body is faced with during this period. You want both you and your baby to remain healthy, so keep on reading for some dos and don’ts.
Which foods are necessary in pregnancy?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women need more protein, calcium, iron, and folic acid than people who are not expecting. While protein builds the baby’s organs, calcium is responsible for their bones and teeth. Doubling the intake of iron is recommended as it supplies the baby with oxygen. Finally, folic acid is vital for preventing birth defects that affect the brain and spinal cord.
Fortunately, the sources of these nutrients are plenty, and you will have no issue when it comes to preparing delicious recipes. For instance, fruits and veggies go without saying as they are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Then, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, various dairy products, beans, and nuts and seeds are all solid sources in terms of protein. For folic acid, turn to leafy greens and citrus fruits as well as bread and pasta. Cheese, milk, and yogurt will provide you with all the calcium you need, while iron can be found in many previously mentioned foods like fish and meat.
As you can see, many of the foods you would normally eat are still available to you, meaning that you don’t have to tweak your recipes that much. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy cooking, you’ll be glad to hear that there are companies that specialize in pregnancy meals that you can have delivered to your doorstep and simply reheat when you’re hungry.
Which foods should be limited?
However, it is important to note that, while some foods are good for you, they are good only in limited amounts. For instance, some fish like salmon are good for the heart as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, but others like white tuna can be harmful. Also known as albacore tuna, it is very high in mercury, and you should not eat more than 6 ounces a week. If you are looking for tuna, canned light tuna is a much safer alternative.
Something else you should be limiting is your caffeine intake. Even though there is no need to completely stop drinking tea and coffee, you should not have more than 200 mg of caffeine a day.
Which foods should be avoided?
Although white tuna is acceptable in limited amounts, other types of fish such as shark, marlin, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish are all high in mercury and should be avoided. Mercury is detrimental to the baby’s development and can affect their brain, kidneys, and nervous system.
Moreover, raw meat is something else to avoid. Don’t eat raw, rare, or undercooked meats and poultry, shellfish, or fish as they can all lead to toxoplasmosis. In addition, eggs that are raw, runny, soft-cooked, and poached, can also pose a threat, as well as anything that contains them, such as tiramisu or Hollandaise sauce.
Then, unpasteurized foods such as milk and products containing it, juices as well as deli meats and salads should all be avoided as they can lead to listeriosis. This can cause preterm labor, miscarriage, and stillbirth.
Lastly, you should avoid alcohol, seeing as how it can go from your blood to the baby’s and cause various physical problems as well as learning and behavioral difficulties.
In conclusion, you can see how certain foods can harm your baby, and avoiding them is for the best. On the other hand, if you have any allergies or specific dietary restrictions, consult with your physician and nutritionist to make a plan.