What Pregnant Women need to Know

A.J.Augustine By A.J.Augustine, 7th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

There is so much choice nowadays regarding the food we eat. So it is very essential for pregnant women to know what food is right to eat and what to avoid. This article gives some useful tips to help them make an informed decision on foods during pregnancy.

Common myths about eating and drinking during pregnancy

Myth 1: Pregnant women should eat for two.

The common belief that pregnant women should eat twice their usual portion has no scientific basis. During the first 6 months of pregnancy there is no need to increase the intake of food. And after that period, what a pregnant woman needs is food that provides an extra 200 Kcal a day. This is equivalent to an extra bowl of cereal or a pot of yougurt and an apple or a banana and a digestive biscuit or one scoop of premium ice cream.

Myth 2: Drinking beer is good for breastfeeding

The myth that the quality and quantity of mother's breastmilk can be improved by drinking beer has survived for centuries. Research has shown that though beer increased levels of prolactin (a hormone essential for breastfeeding), this effect occured only in men and non-breastfeeding women. Also it has been established that beer and other alcohol negatively affected the overall hormonal balance and actually reduced milk production.

Myth 3: Eating peanuts will cause allergy in the newborn

Most women can enjoy eating peanuts when they are pregnant or breastfeeding without causing any harm to the baby. Only those women with a family history of allergies (ie.If she or her other children or the baby's father had allergies including food allergies, eczema, asthma or hay fever) are advised to avoid them. On the other hand it was found that eating small amounts of peanuts, and exposing the baby to peanut proteins helped it become more tolerant and less likely to develop an allergy in the future.

Eating habits during pregnancy

- The nutrients required from conception to birth include about 925 g of protein, 20-30 g of calcium and 680 mg of iron. The requirement of other nutrients including zinc, thiamine, riboflavine, folate and vitamins A, C and D are higher during pregnancy.

- Low GI foods are part of a healthy diet and is good for pregnancy. It reduces the risk of having a baby with neural tube defect, particularly among overweight women.

- Fats shouldn't make up more than 35% of your calorie intake.

- Studies have shown that intake of fish oil helped in preventing allergic conditions. Pregnant women who took fish oil supplements had babies that were 3 times less likely to show signs of egg allergy at 1 year of age. Including Probiotics and Prebiotics in the mother's diet was found to have a positive effect in allergy-proofing the newborn.

- Low-carb diets such as Atkins diet would be dangerous during pregnancy. Such diets not only increase risks associated with weight loss but also adversely affect the balance of nutrients, inducing further problems.

- Eating little and often can be helpful towards the end of pregnancy if you are suffering from heartburn or if large meals leaves you feeling uncomfortable.

- Avoid eating a lot of junk food during pregnancy as your baby is likely to turn into a lover of unhealthy foods too.

- Make sure that the temperature of your fridge is below 5*C and your freezer is -18*C. Store raw meat at the bottom of the fridge, wrapped and seperate from food that is ready to eat.

- Cool and refrigerate any leftovers within an hour of cooking and eat them within 24 hours.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

- Avoid blue-veined cheese and soft-mould, ripened cheese as they contain Listeria.

- Raw or partially cooked eggs are best avoided. Any dishes containing eggs should be cooked until the egg yolk and white become solid.

- Avoid unpasteurized milk including goat's and sheep's milk and products such as yogurt and cream made from these.

- Raw or undercooked meat contain bacteria like toxoplasmosis leading to food poisoning.

- Avoid fish such as Shark, Swordfish and Marlin to prevent ingestion of mercury which could harm the unborn baby's developing nervous system. Tuna should be limited to no more than 2 fresh steaks or 4 cans per week as it contains traces of mercury.

- Avoid Pate, including vegetable pate to avoid risk of bacteria.

- Limit alcohol consumption as it increases the risk of miscarriage and birth defect.

- Caffeine intake should not exceed 300 mg per day, which is 2 to 3 mugs of instant coffee or 2 cups of real coffee.


Pregnancy, Pregnancy Foods, Pregnancy Related Myths, Pregnancy Tips

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author avatar A.J.Augustine
I also write at <a href="http://www.expertscolumn.com">Expertscolumn.com</a>

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