The importance of Good Diet During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant what you consume is very important.  Remember, you are eating for two, but you do not want to overeat.  You do not want to run the risk of obesity, or developing high blood pressure or becoming diabetic while pregnant.

Your health care professional will be the person who determines what kind of diet you should follow during your pregnancy.  You need to follow his advice.  Your health care professional will instruct you in the proper way you should be eating.

When a woman is pregnant she needs to consume sufficient quantities of protein, vitamins and minerals.  The mother is the only source of these essential elements for the unborn baby.

The pregnant woman wants to include fruits, dairy, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, lean meat and fish in her daily eating plan.

For most pregnant women it is usually recommended that she consume 2-4 servings of fruit daily and  4 or more servings of vegetables.    Grains are the main source of energy for pregnant women and it is recommended that she eat 6-11 servings daily (6 to 11 ounces) if she is of normal weight.  It is recommended that 3 servings of protein such as nuts, lean meat or fish be included daily as well as 4 servings of dairy.  Note that fish with high levels of mercury should be avoided.

If you are following a lower carbohydrate diet you may want to eliminate white rice and white bread and instead use the whole grain products.  It may be better to indulge in more small meals instead of three large meals each day.

A non-carbohydrate diet is not usually recommended for pregnant women since the non-carbohydrate diet may lead to the presence of ketones in the blood stream.  Ketones can occur in the absence of carbohydrates and this may increase the risk of brain damage for the baby.  Since many pregnant women take additional doses of iron for the baby, following a non-carbohydrate diet may lead to constipation.

When you are pregnant you want to avoid processed foods which have less nutrients and more calories.  Avoid large amounts of salt, sweets and sauces which provide lots of calories and not much nutritional value. Some other foods that should be avoided when pregnant include soft cheese which can harbor bacteria that is harmful to the baby.  Avoid undercooked meats, fresh juice that is not pasteurized, raw seafood in sushi, raw cookie dough all of which may harbor harmful parasites that will hurt the baby. The pregnant woman may want to avoid potluck meals  since the food has been out in the open for some time and may have developed some bacteria which is hurtful to the baby.  Most health care professionals advise pregnant woman to eliminate alcoholic beverages and to limit or avoid caffeine.

Eating a healthy diet when pregnant will help the expectant mother feel better and it will help the unborn child’s healthy development.

In addition to eating a healthy diet, the pregnant woman is wise to include some daily exercise in her lifestyle.

As always, consult with your health care professional and follow his or her advice on what to do when you are pregnant.