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It is important that during pregnancy the woman has a balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients for both the mother's he alth and the baby's development. The diet should be rich in proteins, fruits and vegetables, and should include foods rich in folic acid, iron, calcium, zinc, omega-2, vitamin A and vitamin B12.
Therefore, good nutrition is essential to meet the nutritional needs of the woman herself and the developing fetus, as well as being important to help prepare the maternal organism for childbirth and to stimulate milk production.
Furthermore, during pregnancy the woman should not go on any diet to lose weight and the diet does not need to have great restrictions, but she should keep he althy and with regular schedules so that the baby receives nutrients regularly and maintains the their development properly.
What to eat
The diet during pregnancy must be rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy products, legumes, fish and lean meat, such as turkey and chicken. It is important that foods are prepared grilled or steamed, avoiding fried foods, processed foods, frozen foods and ready meals.
In addition, it is important to include foods rich in vitamins and minerals in the daily diet that are important for the he alth of mother and baby, such as:
- Vitamin A: carrot, pumpkin, milk, yogurt, eggs, mango, broccoli and yellow pepper;
- Vitamin B12: dairy products, eggs and fortified foods;
- Omega 3: linseed oil, flaxseeds, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, chia and nuts;
- Calcium: dairy products, dark vegetables, sesame and nuts, such as walnuts;
- Zinc: beans and nuts such as Brazil nuts, peanuts, cashews and walnuts;
- Iron: beans, peas, chickpeas, egg, cereal, whole grain bread, and green leafy vegetables;
- Folic acid: spinach, broccoli, kale, asparagus, brussels sprouts, beans and tomatoes.
In addition, protein consumption is important for the formation of both maternal and baby tissues, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy. All these nutrients are essential to avoid problems such as premature birth, anemia, low birth weight, growth retardation and malformations, for example.
Foods to avoid
Some foods to avoid during pregnancy are:
- Fish with a high mercury content: It is important that women eat fish at least 2 times a week, however, they should avoid those that contain mercury, such as tuna and fish sword, as mercury crosses the placental barrier and can harm the baby's neurological development;
- Raw meat, fish, eggs and shellfish: it is important that these foods are well cooked, as when consumed raw they could cause food poisoning, in addition to increasing the risk of toxoplasmosis;
- Barely washed fruits and vegetables, to avoid food poisoning;
- Alcoholic beverages: alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with delayed growth and development of the baby;
- Artificial sweeteners that are often found in diet or light products, as some are unsafe or not known to interfere with fetal development.
In the case of coffee and foods that contain caffeine, there is no consensus on the matter, however it is recommended to consume 150 to 300 mg of caffeine per day, with 1 cup of espresso coffee of 30 mL having about of 64 mg of caffeine approximately. However, it is recommended that it be avoided, as caffeine can cross the placenta and cause changes in the development of the fetus.
Also, there are some teas that are not recommended during pregnancy because the effects during pregnancy are not known or because they are related to abortion. See which teas are not recommended during pregnancy.
Pregnancy menu option
The following table indicates an example 3-day menu for a pregnant woman who has no he alth problems:
|Main Meals||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Breakfast||Whole wheat wrap + white cheese + 1 freshly squeezed orange juice||Whole grain cereal with skimmed milk + 1/2 cup fruit pieces||Spinach omelet + 2 wholemeal toast + 1 unsweetened papaya juice|
|Morning snack||Avocado vitamin with 1 tablespoon of flaxseed||1 yogurt with cut fruit + 1 teaspoon chia seeds||1 banana with 1 tablespoon peanut butter|
|Lunch||100 grams of grilled chicken breast + rice with lentils + lettuce and tomato salad seasoned with 1 tablespoon of linseed oil + 1 tangerine||100 grams of grilled salmon with roasted potatoes + beetroot and carrot salad dressed with 1 tablespoon of olive oil + 1 slice of melon||100 grams of ground beef with wholemeal pasta + green bean salad with carrots seasoned with 1 tablespoon of olive oil + 1 slice of watermelon|
|Afternoon snack||1 handful of walnuts + 1 glass of unsweetened natural juice||1 slice of papaya||Wholemeal toast with white cheese + 1 pear|
|Dinner||Oatmeal pancake with natural jam and cheese or with peanut butter + 1 glass of unsweetened natural juice||Wholegrain sandwich with grilled chicken breast accompanied by lettuce, tomato and onion + 1 teaspoon of olive oil||Turkey Salad with Pineapple and 1 tsp olive oil|
|Evening Snack||1 low-fat yogurt||1 cup of gelatin||1 apple|
This menu does not specify the amount of food because it depends on the woman's weight, however it combines several foods that have the necessary nutrients for a he althy pregnancy. In addition, it is important that during the day the pregnant woman consumes 2 to 2.5L of water per day.
How to prevent weight gain
It is normal for a woman to gain weight during pregnancy due to the increased amount of food consumed during the day to meet her and the baby's nutritional needs, and due to the baby's development.
However, it is important to be careful with food so that weight gain does not happen in excess, as it can increase the risk of diabetes and preeclampsia, for example. So, some tips to avoid excess weight gain in pregnancy are:
- Eat small meals throughout the day, preferably every 3 hours, so it is possible to reduce the volume of food at meals;
- Eat salad before lunch and dinner, as it helps to reduce the amount of food ingested and prevents excessive blood glucose increases after a meal;
- Avoid excess s alt, as this will prevent increased risk of hypertension and preeclampsia;
- Drink lots of fluids throughout the day, as it helps to reduce fluid retention, prevent constipation and favor the elimination of products from the baby's metabolism;
- Make he althy snacks when the meal cannot be made, it is interesting to consume low-fat yogurt, crackers or biscuits without filling, white cheese and wholemeal toast, for example.