Food guide during pregnancy

Foods to avoid

There are certain foods you need to avoid during pregnancy, to avoid harm to you and the new life. There are many people, and many pieces of advice from each of them will only confuse you more. Some of the foods that you should avoid during pregnancy are:

Uncooked meat: Undercooked meat should be avoided by pregnant women as there is a risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella.

Caffeine: Caffeine, mainly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and cocoa is generally restricted to one or two cups for pregnant women. Caffeine is quickly absorbed and travels to the placenta and fetus and can restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery, which in turn is associated with complexities later in life like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

Fish with Mercury: Fish that contains high levels of mercury should be avoided as mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage.

Raw eggs: raw eggs which might be present in lightly scrambled eggs, mayonnaise, cake icings, etc. should be avoided as it can be contaminated with Salmonella. The symptoms of Salmonella include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Unwashed Vegetables: Vegetables are great for you in pregnancy, however, take care to wash them properly to avoid potential exposure to toxoplasmosis, which may have contaminated the soil where the vegetables were grown.

Raw Sprouts: Raw sprouts like alfalfa, radish, and mung bean sprouts may be contaminated with Salmonella. They can't get through most vegetables but can get into the sprout seeds and cannot be washed off. If you are having sprouts, make sure they have been cooked properly before. 

Unpasteurized Milk and Cheese: Unpasteurized milk or cheese may contain Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. The bacteria can occur naturally or can be caused by contamination during collection or storage and can affect the baby adversely leading to life-threatening consequences.

Alcohol: Pregnant women should refrain from drinking alcohol, as it escalates the risk of miscarriage; stillbirth and can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, causing facial deformities, heart defects and mental retardation in the baby. There is no safe amount of alcohol for pregnancy and it is best to steer clear from it altogether.

Foods that are important

Maintaining a balanced diet with all the nutrients is crucial at this time than it was ever before. There are some foods that you should not avoid during pregnancy, as they will provide adequate nutrition for you and your growing baby. Some of the things you need to keep in mind while you are pregnant are as follows:

Your daily food intake should ideally be 6-11 servings of bread and grains, 2-4 servings of fruit, 4+servings of vegetables, 4 servings of dairy products, and 3 servings of protein sources. Fats and sweets should be taken sparingly.

Food like whole-grain bread, beans, pasta, rice (brown) and fruits (with skin) and vegetables are high in fiber. Increase in fibre in one’s diet should be done slowly and gradually and should be followed by drinking enough fluids. 

Take food with enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet while you are expecting. Your doctor might also prescribe a prenatal vitamin supplement if your dietary intake is not able to meet your body’s requirement. 

Four servings of dairy products can lend you the calcium requirement of 1000-1300 mg in your daily diet during pregnancy.

Iron-rich food like lean meats, spinach, beans, and lentils makes sure that you get 27 mg of iron daily.

A pregnant woman needs around 220 micrograms of iodine a day which can be acquired from dairy products like milk, cheese, paneer, curd, and certain seafood. However, make sure that you communicate with your doctor before having seafood.

Choose an abundant source of vitamin C every day, as an expecting woman needs 80 - 85 mg of vitamin C a day. You can have oranges, strawberries, honeydew, broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens.

Ensure that you get your daily supply of folate every day (0.64 mg), like dark green leafy vegetables, black beans, black-eyed peas, and chickpeas. This can be helpful in preventing neural tube defects and you can have man-made supplements of folate 

Maintain the daily intake of at least one source of vitamin A every other day. Some of the sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, turnip greens, beet greens, apricots, and melons.

Pregnancy diet should be taken into consideration on a serious note because a minor mistake can lead to a disastrous outcome. Consult your doctor about any dietary restrictions, as every pregnancy is different. It is important to be extra careful about every morsel of food that you choose to put in your body as maintaining a proper diet is crucial for the overall health of the mother and the future baby.