FOOD FOR HEALTHY PREGNANCY
mother's nourishment during pregnancy is vitally important
for her and for her baby at all stages of foetal development.
Research has shown that diet and healthy lifestyle is directly
related to the baby's weight at birth, his health in childhood
and even after he has grown up. Therefore eating well and
being aware of any deficiencies in your diet can have long-term
effects. You don't have to go on a special diet. All you have
to do is to make sure that you eat a variety of different
foods in order to get the right balance of nutrients that
you and your baby require. You should also avoid certain foods
to be on the safer side.
Your diet should include the following
four basic food groups:
A] Starchy Foods
Starchy foods like bread, potatoes,
rice, chapatis, pasta, oatmeal, and breakfast cereals are
an important part of any diet and should, with vegetables,
form the main part of your meal. They are satisfying without
containing too many calories and are an important source of
vitamins, protein, minerals and fibre. Try eating wholemeal
bread and wholegrain cereals when you can.
B] Dairy Product
Dairy foods like milk, cheese, yoghurt
are important as they contain calcium and other nutrients
essential for your baby's development. Choose low-fat varieties
whenever possible. They also provide other minerals such as
zinc, iodine and magnesium (essential for growth), as well
as protein and fat-soluble vitamins A and D.
C] Meat, fish and alternatives
Meat, fish, eggs, beans, peas, lentils,
nuts, pulses and other vegetarian products are all good source
of nutrients. These protein rich food combined with protein
from starchy foods and dairy products provide the building
blocks for baby's growth and tissue repair. They also contain
iron, zinc, vitamin A and B. Vitamin B12 which is essential
for healthy blood, occurs naturally in meat products but can
also be found in fortified vegetarian foods.
D] Fruits and vegetables
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
as these provide the vitamins and a mineral, as well as fibre
which helps digestion and prevents constipation. Eat them
lightly cooked in a little water or raw to get the most out
of them. Frozen, tinned and dried food and vegetables are
good too. These provide vitamin A in vegetable form, vitamin
C and D including folic acid, minerals such as iron and potassium
Following foods you should avoid
Try to avoid
as far as possible on sugar and sugary foods like sweets,
biscuits and cakes and sugary drinks like cola. Sugar contains
calories without providing any other nutrients the body
needs. It also adds to the risk of tooth decay.
and fatty foods as well. Fat is very high in calories and
too much can cause excess weight gain and increase the risk
of heart disease. Avoid fatty foods, trim the fat off meat,
use spreads sparingly and go easy on foods like pastry,
chocolate and chips.
liver or liver products as they contain a lot of vitamin
A. Too much vitamin A can harm your baby.
peanuts and foods containing peanut products (e.g., peanut
butter, unrefined groundnut oil etc) if you and your baby's
father have a previous history of asthma, eczema or other
Foods that need special
care while eating:
Besides eating a wide variety of
foods, there are certain precautions you should take in order
to safeguard your baby's well-being as well as your own.
meat and poultry thoroughly so that there is no trace of
pink or blood and wash all surfaces and utensils after preparing
raw meat. This will help to avoid infection with Toxoplasma,
which may cause toxoplasmosis and can harm your baby.
and vegetables and salads to remove all traces of soil which
may contain Toxoplasma.
eggs are throurouhly cooked untill the whites and yolks
are solid to prevent the risk of food poisoning and avoid
foods containing raw and undercooked eggs like home-made
mayonnaise, ice-cream, cheesecake etc.