Healthy Eating for Pregnant Mothers

A pregnant lady should always take care of her food and drink. In this topic, we talk about Healthy Eating for Pregnant Mothers. your nutritional needs increase as your baby grows. 

You should consume a balanced diet with a variety of nutritious foods and avoid overeating as it may lead to excessive weight gain. It is also important to pay attention to food safety. 

What should Healthy Eating for Pregnant Mothers during the first trimester?

You do not need to eat much more than you usually do in the first trimester but you should make the right food choices. Your daily diet should include the five main food groups.

  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Egg
  • Dry Beans
  • Milk and their alternatives 

Your baby’s organs develop during the first trimester. This means you will need more folate and iodine in your diet. Getting adequate folate can prevent your baby from developing neural tube defects. You are recommended to take a folic acid supplement of at least 400 micrograms daily during the first trimester and eat more dark green vegetables, fruit and beans, which are all rich in folate. 

Adequate iodine is essential for your baby’s growth and brain development. But relying on diet alone may not be enough to meet your iodine needs Healthy Eating for Pregnant Mothers. You are recommended to take an iodine-containing prenatal multivitamin and mineral supplement daily, and replace table salt with iodised salt when you cook.

You should also eat foods that contain iodine such as:

  • Seafood
  • Marine fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Seaweed 

What are the foods to avoid during pregnancy? 

Excessive caffeine can be harmful to your baby. You should avoid energy drinks and limit coffee and strong tea to no more than one cup a day. During pregnancy avoid unpasteurised milk and milk products, and chilled ready-to-eat foods. such as sashimi and cold meats. These foods have a higher risk of being contaminated by Listeria. 

Listeria infection increases the risk of a miscarriage or causes serious health problems in your baby. Be sure to cook all seafood, fish, meat eggs and fresh vegetables thoroughly before eating. You should not drink alcohol or smoke. Other family members should also quit smoking to create a smoke-free environment for the health of your baby. 

What should Healthy Eating for Pregnant Mothers after the first trimester? 

Adequate iron helps foetal development and prevents anaemia during pregnancy. You should include iron-rich foods such as dark green vegetables dry beans, meat and fish in your diet. Dry beans, meat and fish are also sources of energy and protein that you and your baby need. 

What should Pregnant Mothers pay attention to when choosing fish? 

Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for your baby’s brain and eye development. Oily fish generally contain more omega-3 fatty acids. You should pay attention to food safety. Alternate your choices and choose from various types of fish. Avoid consuming just one kind of fish. Do not eat large predatory fish due to their high levels of methylmercury which can damage your baby’s nervous system. 

Some pregnant mothers feel hungry all the time, what should you do?

It is easy to feel hungry during pregnancy. To make you feel fuller it is good to eat smaller meals more frequently and eat slowly. Choose nutritious snacks that are low in fat and sugar.

  • Serving of fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit without added sugar
  • A carton of low-fat milk or calcium-fortified soy milk 

As for main meals to choose whole grains like:

  • Brown rice
  • Whole-meal bread
  • Plenty of vegetables 

They are all rich in dietary fibre which increases satiety and prevents constipation. You should consume fewer foods and drinks that are high in fat or sugar. 

How can pregnant mothers meet their calcium needs if they don’t drink milk? 

As part of a balanced diet, you should consume two servings of dairy a day. But if you don’t drink milk you can choose cheese, yoghurt or calcium-fortified soy milk in place of milk. Choose more calcium-rich foods  in your daily diet  such as

  • Firm Tofu
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Fish eaten with bones 

Vitamin D helps calcium absorption. It is essential for the bone health of both you and your baby. So, get outdoors into the sunlight to get more vitamin D in your body. As for diet, you can eat oily fish, eggs, milk products and soy milk with added vitamin D.

Choosing nutritious foods and getting adequate exercise can help pregnant mothers to stay healthy and well prepared for the birth of their babies. If you have doubts about your dietary needs you should consult your health professional.

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