HEALTHY PREGNANCY DIET - NEVER GO WRONG WITH THESE
Since you're pregant now, it is important to eat well to receive enough nutrients for you and your little life inside you needs.
It is very important to start having nutritious, well-balanced meals. Your daily meals should include a variety of foods from the 4 main food groups:
• Fruits and vegetables. Get them fresh. Target to eat five portions each day.
• Carbohydrate. These include bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. Pick wholegrain options instead of common white.
• Protein-rich meals. These include lean meat and chicken, fish, eggs and pulses (such as beans and lentils). Try to aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including oily fish.
• Dairy foods. These include milk, cheese and yoghurt, which contain calcium.
During pregnancy period, you might notice your body becoming more efficient, extra calories from food maybe required to fulfill this sudden need, especially in the first 6 months of your pregnancy period. After that, you only require estimately 200 extra calories per day for the last three months.
Your appetite is your best guide of how much food you need to eat. You may find your appetite fluctuates throughout your pregnancy:
• In the first few weeks your appetite may fall away dramatically and you may not feel like eating proper meals, especially if you have nausea or sickness.
• During the middle part of your pregnancy your appetite may be the same as before you were pregnant or slightly increased.
• Towards the end of your pregnancy your appetite will probably increase. If you suffer from heartburn or a full feeling after eating you may find it helpful to have small, frequent meals.
The best rule to remember is to eat when you are hungry. Have a good balance of foods every day and you will gain weight steadily as your baby grows.
Supplements During Pregnancy
During pregnancy period, you may encounter morning sickness, feeling to vomit, fluctuations of mood, etc. Antenatal multivitamin plus mineral supplement may be good insurance to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients.
The two most important supplements you should take during your pregnancy are :
1 ) Folic Acid - 400mg per day for the first 12 weeks.
2 ) Vitamin D - 10mcg per day throughout your pregnancy.
Later on in your pregnancy you may need to take an iron supplement (NICE 2008). Your iron levels will be checked during your pregnancy, and your doctor will advise you about your needs. Calcium is also important while you’re pregnant, as you'll now need twice as much each day.
Multivitamin pills also should do well in maintaining your healthy pregnancy stint. It should contain folic acid, vitamin D, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, B vitamins such as B6 and B12, potassium, zinc and vitamin E.
What Foods You Should Avoid?
Any supplements which contain retinol may be toxic to unborn babies. Instead, you should opt for Beta Carotene, the plant-based Vitamin A. Excessive vitamin A intake (more than 10,000 IU/day) may be associated with fetal malformations. Too much of vitamins and minerals also may be harmful to your baby.
Extra precaution should be considered if you're are diabetic or have gestational diabetes, have anaemia & have had a baby with a low birth weight before.
Some foods you’ll have to steer clear of during pregnancy, because they could be unsafe for your baby:
- The raw cockles which not thoroughly boiled or cooked.
- Steamboat ingredients that are not cooked through - make sure the broth is brought to boil every time new ingredients are added, especially shellfish, meats and eggs.
- Cheeses with a white, mouldy rind, such as brie and camembert, and blue-veined cheeses such as stilton (FSA n.d.b). All these cheeses could contain listeria, a bacteria that could harm your baby.
- Steer away from raw or undercooked meat and eggs. All are possible sources of bacteria that can harm your unborn baby. When cooking meat and eggs, make sure they are cooked properly (FSA n.d.b).
- Raw seafood, such as oysters or sushi that has not been frozen before making (FSA n.d.a).
- Avoid shark, swordfish or marlin meats. These fish contain unsafe levels of naturally occurring mercury (FSA 2004a, FSA 2004b). Tuna contains some mercury too, so it's best you don't eat more than four medium-sized cans, or two fresh tuna steaks per week (COT 2003, FSA 2004a).
- Don't eat liver and liver products (such as pate or liver sausage), because they may contain large amounts of the retinol form of vitamin A. Too much of this could be harmful to your developing baby (FSA n.d.b).
- You should stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy, too (BMA 2007, DH 2007). If you want to drink during your pregnancy, don’t drink more than one or two units of alcohol, once or twice a week, and don't get drunk (DH 2007, FSA n.d.b, RCOG 2006).
- Limit caffeine to no more than 200 mg per day. That’s two mugs of instant coffee or four cups of tea or five cans of cola a day. Switch to decaffeinated hot drinks and colas, instead. . The caffeine content in various drinks depends on the beans or leaves used and how it was prepared. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 150 mg of caffeine on average while black tea has typically about 80 mg. A 12-ounce glass of caffeinated soda contains anywhere from 30-60 mg of caffeine. Remember, chocolate contains caffeine - the amount of caffeine in a chocolate bar is equal to 1/4 cup of coffee.
Dieting During Pregnancy
Some poor-managed diets can leave you low on iron, folic acid, and other important vitamins and minerals. Signs that you're having a healthy pregnancy is to gain some. Forget dieting during pregnancy, it may harm you and your developing baby more than to keep your body in shape.
Naturally you're supposed to be getting bigger if you eat healthy and wholesome nutritious foods. Gradually, you should able to gain between 10 to 25kg of weight throughout your pregnancy period.
Bear in mind that weight gain varies among women, and how much weight you put on during your pregnancy depends on many factors. Put that aside, concentrate on eating a healthy diet of plenty of carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, protein, and dairy foods, and reduce intake of fats and sweet foods. When you put on weight may be as important as the amount you put on. You may gain the least weight during the first trimester. Your weight should then steadily increase throughout the second trimester, and you may put on the most weight over the third trimester, when your baby is growing the most.
If you are overweight or obese, you can improve your diet by avoiding foods high in fat, salt and sugar and starting some exercise regimes, suitable for your body. However, Please consult your doctor first involve in these routines.
Try to eat regularly, frequent small meals such as three meals and two to three healthy snacks in between. Eating five or six small meals is easier on your body. This should free you from morning sickness, food aversions, heartburn, or indigestion. Eating high-fibre and wholegrain foods will help to keep you feeling full, and they're nutritious too.
You don't have to give up all your favourite foods just because you're pregnant. But foods and snacks high in fat, salt and sugar should only be savored occasionally and not your main course.
So as far as snacks are concerned, try a banana or yogurt rather than a packet of crisps or tinned fruit in juice rather than ice cream. Don't feel guilty about it. Your pregnancy period should be one of your enjoyous moment!
Healthy Eating Goals
- Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Recommended daily servings include 6-11 servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs or nuts).
- Use fats and sweets sparingly.
- Choose foods high in fiber that are enriched such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables.
- Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet while pregnant. You should take a prenatal vitamin supplement to make sure you are consistently getting enough vitamins and minerals every day. Your doctor can recommend an over-the-counter brand or prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you.
- Take calcium supplements. The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for calcium is 1000 mg per day for pregnant and breastfeeding women over age 18.
- Eat and drink at least four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day to help ensure that you are getting 1000-1300 mg of calcium in your daily diet during pregnancy.
Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.
- Choose at least one good source of vitamin C every day, such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens. Pregnant women need 70 mg of vitamin C a day. Take timed-released vitamin C supplement for better absorption, but don't overdo it.
- Choose at least one good source of folic acid every day, like dark green leafy vegetables, veal, and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas). Every pregnant woman needs at least 0.4 mg of folic acid per day to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
- Choose at least one source of vitamin A every other day. Sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, water squash, turnip greens, beet greens, apricots, and cantaloupe. Beta Carotene is the best form of vitamin A that is not toxic to the baby.
2. The National Women's Health Information Centre.
3. USDA "Inside The Pyramid" Reference Guide.
4. American Dietetic Association.
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