Top Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy can be a daunting time because there are so many changes going on inside your body and there’s so much you need to try and remember when it comes to your diet. Having a healthy pregnancy diet is vital to the wellbeing of your unborn baby and it ensures that you’re feeling the best you can be while your body grows this tiny human being.

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So here are some top tips for a healthy pregnancy diet:

  • Wash your fruit and vegetables before consuming to remove any trace of soil that may contain a potentially fatal parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis.
  • Never eat meats that have been left out of the fridge for long periods of time i.e. chicken, deli hams and salamis, to reduce the risk of you developing listeria.
  • When you are reheating food ensure that it is piping hot before you consume it, taking special care with chicken.
  • Before you even try to fall pregnant you should be ensuring that your folate intake is sufficient. During the first month of pregnancy folate helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your baby such as spina bifida. Spinach, broccoli, fortified cereals, lentils, citrus fruits and avocadoes are all great sources of folate or folic acid.
  • Throughout your pregnancy make sure you’re eating foods with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids which support brain and eye development in babies. Fatty fish, tofu, walnuts and leafy green vegetables are all rich sources of omega-3 fats.
  • If you get hungry between meals, try to snack on foods full of protein and carbohydrates which will keep your full for longer and keep your blood sugar levels on a plateau. Sandwiches, pita bread, salads, vegetables and fresh fruit are best.  Avoid eating high sugar sweets and treats when possible because they will only give you an energy boost for a short period of time.
  • Aim to eat 2-3 portions of dairy each day, important for calcium intake and keeping you and your baby’s bones healthy.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables have important vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the growth and development of your unborn baby. Ensure that you include plenty in your diet when you’re pregnant.
  • There are some foods that you need to steer clear of when you’re pregnant. These include undercooked meat and eggs, soft cheeses such as brie and camembert, pate, raw seafood such as oysters or sushi and shark, marlin and swordfish which all have high levels of mercury.
  • Try not to exceed 200mg of caffeine each day and avoid all alcohol when pregnant.  Water is your best option.

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October 2, 2014

Seafood During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

One of the first thoughts that came into my head when I found out I was pregnant was, ‘Oh, no, no sushi!’ Then for a moment I considered pretending that I hadn’t done the pregnancy test yet and going out for one last sushi feast before I embraced the blandness of the next 8 months or so. Of course, it was just a thought. Once you’ve seen the lines on that stick, it can’t be undone and if you’re seafood lover, it means that you’ll need to make some adjustments to your diet.

Raw fish and seafood are now off the menu. They can carry the listeria bacteria which can be very harmful for the baby. Smoked salmon and other ready-to-eat cold fish are also considered high risk for listeria.

The bacteria and viruses are killed by cooking, so if you choose to have shellfish and fish, only do it as part of a cooked meal. Eat your meal hot, not lukewarm! Another concern when it comes to fish is its high mercury content, which may harm an unborn baby’s developing nervous system. Fish with high mercury levels include Shark (Flake), Swordfish, Broadbill or Marlin. You can only have one serve (150g) of those fish per fortnight and no other fish that week.

Orange Roughy (Sea Perch) and Catfish also have relatively high mercury levels and you should have no more than one serve per week (and no other fish that week).  Fish with lower mercury levels that you can enjoy more regularly (2-3 times a week) are Snapper, Salmon, Trout, Whiting, Mullet, Garfish and Bream.

Don’t give up seafood altogether for fear of getting it wrong. Fish is rich in protein and minerals, and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for the baby’s developing brain.
You can return to your normal diet as soon as you’ve given birth. In fact, guess what the first meal was that I asked my husband to bring for me to celebrate the birth. Sushi!

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By Tatiana Apostolova

September 22, 2014