It is essential to follow a good diet for pregnant women for the health of both the mother and the baby. Always consult your doctor about the nutrition that you are going to require during the duration of pregnancy and lactation. A good diet for pregnant women should be balanced and nutritious and should supply enough calories to sustain both the mother and the child. It is recommended that you should consume 300 calories more every day during pregnancy.
The Characteristics of a Good Diet for Pregnant Women
A good diet for pregnant women should have the following characteristics:
- The diet should include plenty of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Fats should constitute 30% or less of your total daily calorie intake. Amount of cholesterol should be less than 300 mg per day.
- A good diet for pregnant women should contain plenty of calcium for proper development of fetus as well as preventing post pregnancy complications. You should have 1000 mg of calcium per day during this period. So, you need to drink plenty of milk. If you are lactose intolerant, you can try other low fat dairy products or talk to your doctor about a calcium supplement.
- Iron is another important element of a good diet for pregnant women. You should eat 27 mg of iron per day.
- Folic acid is essential during the days of pregnancy. You should have 0.4 mg of folic acid every day. This can be obtained from dark green leafy vegetables and legumes like black beans, chick peas etc.
- 70 mg of vitamin C is needed every day by pregnant women. You should include such sources of this nutrient like citrus fruits or broccoli, Brussels sprout, tomatoes, cauliflower and green pepper.
- A good diet for pregnant women should include little vitamin A, but not in excess. This can be found in carrot, turnip greens, apricots, cantaloupe etc.
- You need to drink plenty of water during pregnancy. If you get food cravings – which are common – you can indulge in them occasionally.
- Eat a fiber rich diet. It will cleanse your body and help to relieve the constipation caused by increased intake of iron.
What Should a Good Diet for Pregnant Women Not Include?
There are quite a few things which you should not eat during the period of your pregnancy. These include the following:
- All alcohol and caffeine should be excluded from a good diet for pregnant women although you can very occasionally enjoy a sip of coffee. Caffeine inhibits the absorption of iron in the body and causes other ill effects.
- Artificial sweeteners, notably saccharine should never be included in a good diet for pregnant women. Find out from your doctor what sweetener you can use safely.
- Eliminate unpasteurized dairy products like soft cheeses as they can cause infection.
- Fishes like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and white snapper may contain mercury and should be avoided. You should not eat any raw fishes during pregnancy like oysters or clams.
Finally, most women need to take multivitamin supplements. Consult your doctor to confirm that you are actually eating a good diet for pregnant women.