Pregnancy can be an exciting and joyful period for many women, but there is no denying that a lot of women also find it confusing, overwhelming, and often frightening. Expectant mothers want to do everything they can to keep their unborn baby safe and give them the healthiest start in life, and that means making changes to the way they live. One of the most important changes a pregnant woman can make is to her diet, and eating well can help both mother and baby to thrive and prevent complications. Here are seven healthy eating tips for pregnant women to keep in mind.
- Always eat breakfast
Breakfast is an important meal because it gets your metabolism started and your body functioning at its best from the start of the day. Choose a breakfast that is rich in nutrients and balanced. If you feel sick in the mornings, start the day with some plain whole wheat toast and then eat more when you feel able to.
- Eat plenty of fiber
Fiber is hugely important during pregnancy and can be found in a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole-grain bread, pasta, and rice. Click here for a list of fiber-rich foods to include in your diet.
- Take vitamin supplements
A wide range of vitamins, folic acid, iron, and other minerals are important during pregnancy, so much so that doctors often recommend that pregnant women take supplements to support their baby’s development. Some vitamins also include ginger, which can help to alleviate nausea and can be taken before and during pregnancy as well as while breastfeeding. There are lots of options on the market, but Noor Vitamins offers some of the best tasting vitamins for women.
- Eat some fish, but not too much
You should avoid raw fish, shellfish, shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and marlin, as they contain high levels of mercury. Pregnant women can eat tuna but should limit themselves to two steaks or four cans per week. Oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and trout are generally safe but should be limited to around two portions a week.
- Avoid soft cheese and cured meats
There are some foods such as soft cheese (feta, goat’s cheese, and brie), uncooked meats or fish (sushi), cured meats, and lunch meats, which contain bacteria that can be harmful to the baby.
- Reduce caffeine
While some caffeine should not be a problem, too much can be a problem for pregnant women. Caffeine, as a stimulant, increases blood pressure and heart rate and can lead to more frequent urination and increase the risk of dehydration. Caffeine can also cross the placenta to reach your baby and can cause congenital disabilities, preterm delivery, and low birth weight. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women should not exceed 150-300 mg of caffeine per day.
- Do not drink alcohol
Hopefully, you have already heard this piece of advice, but you should avoid drinking alcohol, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. Alcohol can seriously affect the baby’s development, increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and having a baby with low birth weight.