There are many myths surrounding the diet for pregnant mothers. We often hear the elders of the family advising young mothers to eat enough for two individuals. Today, we know that this is not true. In fact, unbridled eating during pregnancy can make you put on a lot of weight and can make your child unnecessarily overweight. What then could be the best diet for pregnant women?
The growing fetus derives all its nourishment from its mother through the umbilical cord. Therefore, while the mother does not have to eat enough food for two individuals, it is important that she take in enough nutrients for two individuals. If the mother suffers from nutrient deficiency, this will be passed on to the child. Early nutrient deficiency can lead to a number of developmental problems in young children.
The pregnancy diet must be rich in all the vital nutrients that the body needs. Doctors recommend the intake of six to seven servings of bread and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four to six servings of vegetables, two to four servings of dairy and approximately three servings of protein every day. It is always advisable to choose food that is rich in fiber. Excellent examples include whole-grain cereals, rice, fruits and fresh green veggies.
Calcium is vital to the growth of bones and teeth. Remember to take in at least four servings of calcium rich dairy products. This will ensure that you get approximately 1200 mg of calcium every day. The diet of pregnant women should be rich in iron.
Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system of the mother and child. Important sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, papaya, green peppers and tomatoes. Vitamin A is equally important. Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, turnip, apricots and water squash contain lots of vitamin A.
An expectant mother must always take all her prescribed prenatal vitamins. These are specially devised multivitamins that compensate for any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies in the mother’s diet. Generally, these contain iron, minerals, vitamins, folic acid and calcium. The deficiency of folic acid can lead to serious birth defect in babies. Green leafy vegetables, nuts, citrus fruits and beans are rich in natural folic acid, vitamins and iron.
Just as there are things that must be included in the diet for pregnant women, there are certain items that must be avoided during pregnancy. These include alcohol, caffeine, surplus sugar, surplus fat and raw meat. It is advisable to avoid soft cheese, and to abstain from eating shark, swordfish and mackerel which high levels of mercury in them.
Most pregnant mothers feel nausea and a depressing lack of appetite during their first trimester. At this stage, they may eat small meals throughout the day.
Many women put on a lot of weight due to the high fat, salt and sugar content in their pregnancy diet. It is true that pregnant women often go through strong cravings and sharp hunger pangs. But if you desire to keep your weight under control and shed extra pounds quickly after delivery, then, it is important to eat foods low in calories and high in nutritive value.