Pregnancy is a time renowned for weird cravings and the freedom to eat whatever you you guilt free. Whilst it is true that you are eating for two you do need to me making the right food choices for both yourself and your baby. Generally a well balanced diet full of nutrients and minerals that your developing foetus needs to grow should be followed. You are going to need to replenish many vitamins and minerals yourself as your usual levels will deplete at a much higher rate. It is therefore a good idea to know what nutrients you are going to need throughout your pregnancy.It is a good idea to plan your diet ahead of time as your body’s needs will change over the course of the pregnancy. Cravings and morning sickness will affect the plan at times so it is a good idea to have a bank of meal ideas that you will be able to switch between should your body reject the mere thought of any of them. The last thing you want is to be eating something that will exacerbate your sickness and cause vomiting. The most important thing is that you can eat foods that not only give your body what it needs but foods that you enjoy and make your happy, lifting your spirit at the times when you are exhausted and down.
Foods to avoid
First of all there are foods to avoid. Avoid at all costs. You might not have thought it but there are some foods that could lead to serious complications such as dehydration and even miscarriage! There are foods that can affect the development of your baby in a good way. Omega-3 which is found in fish is a fatty acid that is great for your baby’s brain development. In this way however, there are also foods that are harmful to your baby’s development. The following list should be avoided at all costs if you at all concerned about your baby’s development or your health in preparation for an uncomplicated labour.
Uncooked Eggs – Bacteria found in raw or cooked eggs can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. In severe cases a risk of salmonella poisoning. If you are not preparing the meals yourself then refrain from ordering foods in which the eggs might escape thorough cooking.
Raw Fish – Some varieties of raw fish may contain parasites that will poison you. As much as you may love sashimi and sushi, it might be wise to stay clear from eating them during your pregnancy.
Other fish – Some fish, swordfish being the most common, contain high amounts of mercury in their meat. Stick to salmon, pollack and tuna. These contain omega-3 and very low traces of mercury.
Caffeine – (in high doses) - Whilst for many mums to be, cutting out coffee from their life would be catastrophic. Lucky then that there is no need to do so. In fact recently studies suggest that coffee is much more healthy that was once thought. That being said, too much caffeine is not healthy for the heart. Studies on the effects on the foetus are not all in agreement however it is strongly advised to keep coffee consumption to less that 3 cups a day.
Foods high in sugar / HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)- With the high risk of diabetes and obesity resulting from diets high in fructose and glucose it is advisable to reduce consumption of junk foods and the like during pregnancy as much as possible.
What to eat?
With the harmful foods out of the way the good news is that you can freely eat anything else that you fancy. Of course with your dependent baby the richer that your diet is in nutrients and minerals the better.
Eating organic fruits, vegetables and grains well cut out any chemicals that could be passed to your foetus. This might be the time for you to rethink your lifestyle. Going organic from pregnancy and through breastfeeding is a choice that more and more mothers-to-be are making.
Whether you choose to fully embrace the organic lifestyle or not a balance of foods is the most important factor. Your pregnancy diet should include all food groups including natural fats. In fact fats are often avoided by dieters trying to lose weight or by pregnant women concerned about their weight. A certain amount of natural animal fats are fine to eat as your body needs some. Foods with fat content are generally tasty and leave you feeling satisfied and happy and most importantly, less likely to go in search of sugary snacks and junk foods. You are going to need iron, vitamins, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids. Your diet needs to provide adequate levels of all of these.