Pregnancy Diet: What an expecting Mom Should Eat and What To Avoid


Everybody knows that an expecting mom has special dietary needs. If you are an expecting mom, you need to follow a pregnancy diet. not only for your body, but more importantly for the development of your unborn baby. The expression "eating for two" plainly describes this need for greater nutrient intake during pregnancy, but not gorging on as much food as you can stomach.

Several studies have shown that the nutrition of an expecting mother will have an effect on the child, up to the risk of carrying certain diseases throughout life. An inadequate or excessive amount of some nutrients may cause medical problems or malfunctions in the fetus. Neurological disorders, handicaps and lower birth weight are the common conditions that are caused by malnourished mothers. Also, for the most ideal infant development, a monitored rate of weight gain is needed.

Following a pregnancy diet is more than simply increasing how much you eat. You need to consider what to eat, what to not eat and what to eat in moderation, though your body needs increased amounts of all the nutrients.


Providing Adequate Nutrition in the Early Stage is Critical

During the early stages of pregnancy, consumption of an adequate amount of nutrient rich and energy providing food is critical. This is because, during the early stages, when the placenta is not yet formed, there is no mechanism to protect the embryo from nutritional deficiencies, which may be inherent in the mother's blood.


Key Nutrients Needed in an Expecting Mom’s Diet

Pregnancy diet should be nutrient rich and must include a healthy combination of food items from all the main food groups called carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. In addition there are also some specifications about a pregnant woman’s nutritional intake. The key nutrients needed during pregnancy are folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, protein and iron. Also, consumption of micro nutrients, either in the form of diet or supplements is very important.

Studies show micro nutrients taken with iron and folic acid can improve birth outcomes and help to overcome situations like giving birth to low birth weight babies, gestational age babies and prevent stillbirths. Supplementation of micro nutrients as per the recommendations of health practitioners is especially beneficial in women who may not have enough micro nutrients in their usual diet.


 Role of Folic acid and Water as Key Nutrients

Folic acid and water plays key roles in a pregnancy diet. Deficiencies in folic acid may cause neural tube defects. This is because, the development of every human cell is dependent on an adequate supply of folic acid. Folic acid governs the synthesis of the precursors of DNA, which is nucleic acid that gives each cell life and character.

The average increase of one’s mass during pregnancy is about 12 kg. Most of the added weight is in the form of water. The plasma volume increases and 85% of placenta is water. The fetus itself is 70-90% water. So, proper hydration is an important aspect of nutrition throughout pregnancy


Careful and Cautious Eating is Needed During Pregnancy

Pregnant women are advised to pay attention to the foods they eat during pregnancy, to reduce the risk of exposure to substances or bacteria that may be harmful to the developing fetus. This includes alcohol, dietary supplements like vitamin A, toxic food components and potentially harmful food pathogens such as  toxoplasmosis, listeria and salmonella.

Daily consumption of liver and liver products such as fish liver oil are not recommended by experts. This is because, they contain a form of vitamin A called retinol which is harmful.

Though seafood  is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for both mom and  baby, pregnant women are advised to eat it only in moderation. This is because some seafood may contain pesticides, PCBs, dioxins and  mercury, Fish that are known to have high amounts of mercury are shark, sword fish, tilefish mackerel and other large predatory fish. The mercury accumulation in the blood stream of a pregnant  mother is linked to poor child development and may be damaging to the baby’s nervous system and could affect the child’s brain.

It has been a proven fact that excessive amounts of alcohol, cause fetal alcohol syndrome. The entire exclusion of alcohol during pregnancy is recommended by the World Health Organization.

Motherhood is one of the most wonderful experience in a woman's life. The continuance of living beings is ensured in nature through their progeny, human beings being no exception to this universal rule. This role is taken by mothers all over the world and if some care is taken about the food habits during pregnancy, it can be carried out exceptionally well.

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