Women are required to be extra cautious about their diet plan for pregnancy. There are some food items that are strongly recommended for the proper nourishment of both mother and baby while certain foods are not advisable for intake at this time. Read on to find out about the diet plan usually recommended during pregnancy. Also discussed here are a few diet related myths for pregnancy.
Must Have Foods During Pregnancy
1. Dairy Products
Milk and other dairy products including curd, buttermilk and cottage cheese must form a part of your daily diet during this period. These are rich in calcium and also contain high amount of vitamin B-12 and protein which are essential during this time.
2. Whole Grains and Cereals
Cereals and whole grains such as barley, corn, oat, millet, rye, rice and wheat are rich sources of protein as they are loaded with fiber, folic acid and iron. You must also include pulses and nuts in your diet as these too have good proteins. These must especially form a part of your diet if you do not consume meat, fish or poultry.
3. Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, fenugreek leaves, swiss chard and various other green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin A, C and K. These vegetables also contain a good amount of folate and are thus a must have during this time.
Eggs are high in protein and also include essential minerals and vitamins that are needed for your unborn child’s development. Make sure that you consume properly cooked eggs.
Beans are a rich source of iron, folate, protein, calcium, zinc and fiber and available in different varieties to beat your pregnancy diet blues.
Foods to be Avoided During Pregnancy
Caffeine must be avoided as it tends to affect your baby’s heart rate and may lead to miscarriage. If you cannot avoid it completely then make sure you consume less than 200 mg a day during this phase.
2. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea, which is otherwise considered as a healthful drink, must not be had during pregnancy as it may contain some plant chemicals. If you have to drink it, then ensure to consult your doctor in choosing the right variety of tea.
You must completely refrain from consuming alcohol in any form as it has adverse effect on the baby’s health.
4. Raw /Undercooked Eggs and Poultry
Eggs and poultry are a rich source of nutrition however you must ensure that these are properly cooked. Raw or undercooked eggs and poultry may contain bacteria. Same goes for raw seafood, meat as well as canned and processed fish.
5. Unpasteurized Milk and Dairy Products
While milk and dairy products are a must have during pregnancy, make sure you do not consume these in their unpasteurized form as they may contain disease causing microbes.
Pregnancy Diet Related Myths
1. Eat for Two
It is commonly believed that since you require nourishment for yourself as well as the baby, it is essential to eat for two during this time. However, the notion is wrong. You must eat as per your capacity; usually restrict yourself to short frequent meals.
2. Salt Incurs Swelling
Unlike the common myth that salt is responsible for swelling in the feet, it is rather advisable to consume salt as it has essential nutrients required by the body. However, moderation is the key.
3. Fish – To Have or Not to Have
While including certain varieties of fishes such as tilefish, king mackerel, shark and sword fish may have a bad impact on your baby, other species like salmon, catfish, tuna shrimp and other fishes are good for pregnancy health. These types of fishes provide adequate amount of proteins and omega 3 fatty acids and must be had for the proper nourishment of your baby.
Above are the general diet guidelines for the pregnancy. However, your health practitioner is the best person to recommend a suitable diet chart, depending on your body type and pregnancy complications.