Your diet during pregnancy is very crucial for both you and your baby. You may have taken all the prenatal tests necessary and also not had a single drink of alcohol nor smoked a single cigarette in your whole pregnancy. However, your pregnancy diet may well lead to many health complications, which would affect both you and your baby. A good pregnancy diet is essential to giving birth to a healthy baby. Here is how your diet during pregnancy affects both you and your baby’s health…
- Eating for two can lead to preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is when you have high blood pressure during your pregnancy. It has been said that many women try to eat more during their pregnancy so that their baby can also gain a sufficient amount of nutrition. This is not true as you should increase your calorie intake based on your doctor’s recommendations, otherwise you may gain weight and increase your chances of getting preeclampsia.
- Having fish is good for your baby’s brain development
It is crucial for you to have some amount of fish and flaxseed oil in your body for your baby’s brain development before birth. Fish and flaxseed oil can lead to better memory, vision, motor skills and language comprehension in the early childhood of your baby. The reason why fish and flaxseed oil are so crucial for you is that they contain DHA (a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is a crucial component of your brain). However, do take low-mercury fish as mercury is toxic and having too much of it can cause illnesses for both you and your baby. Salmon is one such low mercury fish that you can have up to 2 servings a week of.
- Increase your iron intake to support the increase in your blood volume
When you are pregnant, your blood volume will increase by 50% so that you can support your baby. To cope with this increase in blood, you will need more iron because iron is the element responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. It has been said that your daily intake of iron should be double what it was before. So be sure to eat a lot of lentils, green leafy vegetables, tofu and bananas to name a few.
- Too much caffeine can cause miscarriage
Caffeine is not recommended but the occasional cup of coffee is fine. More than 300 milligrammes of caffeine every day can be detrimental to your pregnancy. Remember that cola drinks also contain caffeine.
- Stay away from raw and undercooked eggs and other foods that cause bacterial infection
During pregnancy, it is pivotal that you steer clear of foods which may cause a bacterial infection. These include raw and undercooked eggs and soft cheeses or anything made with unpasteurized milk.
- Increase your calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis
Both you and your baby need calcium. Your baby needs it so that his/her bone and teeth development go as expected while you need it so that your chances of developing osteoporosis later in your life are reduced. This is because when you are pregnant, your baby takes the calcium which you have, considerably depleting the calcium reserve in your body.
- Try to eat organic foods
It is crucial that you have some organic foods in your diet. This is because organic foods have no exposure to pesticides. Exposure to pesticides may cause problems including preterm delivery, birth defects and growth restriction. It can even cause miscarriage. Wash and peel fruits as well before eating them.
- Include lots of fibre in your diet to prevent constipation
Fibre should be a staple of your pregnancy diet. Not only does a high fibre diet prevent constipation and haemorrhoids, they also make you feel full and stop you from overeating. High-fiber foods (such as whole wheat bread, lentils, beans, etc.) also contain a lot of vitamins and minerals crucial for your baby’s development.
However, your body and its requirements during pregnancy can be different from those of others. Hence, it’s important to consult your doctor before a chalking out a diet plan and to follow it religiously during pregnancy.