Home Nutrition Advice Healthy Eating During Pregnancy: What Should Be Considered? What to Avoid

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy: What Should Be Considered? What to Avoid

A healthy diet is vital during pregnancy. Optimal nutrition can help a person meet the increased energy needs of pregnancy and help the fetus develop. For a healthy pregnancy, The person’s diet should contain a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. With this, alcohol, high caffeine, and some undesirable foods can harm the health of the pregnant person and their baby. This article focused on a few points we can pay attention to and avoid in a healthy pregnancy.

Experts recommend a balanced diet rich in nutritious foods, including animal and plant-based proteins, fruits, grains, and vegetables during pregnancy.

Fruits and vegetables

Studies have found that people do not take the daily recommended serving of vegetables and fruits. A diet plan that includes at least five servings of vegetables and fruits per day is recommended for people on a healthy diet.

Complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates meet the person’s adequate energy and fiber needs. It includes legumes, whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruits. Including low glycemic index, foods are effective in regulating one’s blood sugar. The person can take a balanced and healthy nutrition program with the help of a gynecologist and dietitian.

Protein

Pregnancy is a period of rapid growth and development. Getting optimal protein is essential for both baby and mother. During pregnancy, it’s important to focus on various protein sources as part of a balanced diet. Eggs, fish, poultry, and legumes are good sources of protein.

Oils

Fats play an essential role in a healthy diet and during pregnancy. The type of fat taken is necessary; for example, omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy are of great importance for the pregnant individual and the baby. Also, a high intake of saturated fat can increase the risk of pregnancy complications. Oily fish such as salmon, flaxseed, olive oil, nuts, and oilseeds are good sources of oil.

Iron requirement during pregnancy

Anemia; It can cause premature birth, stillbirth, low weight in the baby, fatigue, irritability, and depression. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in the body almost increases. The body needs more iron to make the additional hemoglobin in the blood. If iron stores are insufficient, the pregnant person may develop anemia. Anemia during pregnancy is dangerous for both mother and baby. Lean red meat, poultry, dark green leafy vegetables, and some fish are good sources of iron.

Foods to avoid

To help prevent complications during pregnancy, the following can be avoided:

  • Seafood containing mercury
  • Uncooked or partially cooked meats
  • Uncooked shellfish
  • raw egg
  • Soft, moldy cheeses
  • Alcohol and tobacco products

Caffeine amount during pregnancy

The World Health Organization (2019) recommends reducing daily caffeine intake during pregnancy to reduce the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight newborns for pregnant women with a daily caffeine intake of more than 300mg. Many foods and beverages other than coffee contain caffeine. Examples include sodas, energy drinks, chocolate, and teas.

healthy weight gain

Healthy weight gain is determined by pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI).

BMI before pregnancy How much weight should she gain?
<18.5 BMI 12.5- 18 kg
18.5-24.9 BMI 11.5-16 kg
25.0-29.9 BMI 7-11.5 kg
>30 BMI 5- 9 kg

Supplements

Folic acid, B12, iron, magnesium, iodine, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D can be counted as the vitamins and minerals that the mother needs to increase the mother’s blood volume during pregnancy and for the baby to grow and develop healthily. The physician can give supplements to ensure adequate intake of these vitamins and minerals.

In addition, for adequate intake of these vitamins and minerals, the nutrition plan during pregnancy should include the following:

  • Optimal protein intake from plant and animal sources such as fish, chicken, eggs, and legumes
  • Fiber-rich carbohydrates from sources like oats, potatoes, and fruit
  • Healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and yogurt

During this period, a physician should be consulted for monthly follow-ups. It is also possible to work with a dietitian to prepare a healthy, balanced and varied nutrition program during pregnancy.