It is important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet during pregnancy because it affects your baby’s growth and development. When you are pregnant, there are several foods you have to eat more of, and also several foods that you have to avoid. To keep track of these things, it is important for you to create a pregnancy diet plan.
Healthy eating goals
When preparing your pregnancy diet plan, aim for the following:
- Eat different foods so you’ll get all the important nutrients you need. According to WebMD, the recommended daily serving includes: 6-11 servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs or nuts). Consume fats and sweets sparingly.
- Go for foods that are high in fiber such as whole-grain breads, rice, cereals, fruits, rice, pasta, and vegetables.
- Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals. Take prenatal vitamin supplements to ensure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals everyday. Your doctor can prescribe a prenatal vitamin supplement for you.
- Consume at least 4 servings of calcium-rich foods to make sure you are getting the 1000-1300 mg of calcium you [and your baby] need to stay healthy.
- Eat at least three servings or iron-rich foods to get 27 mg of iron daily.
- Eat at least one good source of vitamin C everyday. You can get your daily fill of 70 mg of vitamin C from fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and strawberries, or vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens.
- Pregnant women need 0.4 mg of folic acid per day to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Eat at least one good source of folic acid everyday. Go for green leafy vegetables, veal, and legumes.
- Eat at least one good source of vitamin A everyday. Some good sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, water squash, and apricots. Do not consume too much of this nutrient though. Excessive vitamin A intake [more than 10,000 IU per day] may be linked to fetal malformations.
Foods to avoid
- There are a number of foods and beverages that you should consume in moderation when you are not pregnant. But when you are an expecting, consuming these foods is a definite ‘No’. Below are some of the foods that you should avoid when you are pregnant:
- Avoid alcohol when you are pregnant. Alcohol has been associated with conditions such as premature delivery, mental retardation, birth defects,
- Drink no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. Caffeine content in different drinks depends on the beans used and how they were prepared. For instance, black tea has about 80 mg of caffeine, while a 12-ounce glass of caffeinated soda has anywhere between 30-60 mg, and an 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 150 mg of caffeine on average. Don’t forget that chocolate also contains caffeine. The amount of caffeine in a chocolate bar is equal to ¼ cup of coffee.
- Doctors strongly advise against the use of saccharine during pregnancy. Saccharine can cross the placenta and remain in the fetal tissues. However, consumption of other artificial sweeteners that are approved by the FDA during pregnancy is all right.
- Reduce the total amount of your fat intake to 30 percent or less of your total daily calories. If you’re on a 200 0 calorie-a-day diet, 30 percent would be 65 grams of fat or less, per day.
- Restrict your cholesterol intake to 300 mg or less per day.
- Do no eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
- Do not eat soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese. These kinds of cheeses are often unpasteurized and may cause Listeria infection.