Pregnancy diet

Pregnancy Diet: Foods To Eat And To Avoid When You're Pregnant

What should I eat? What should I avoid? Find out the healthy foods to eat during pregnancy

The importance of a healthy pregnancy diet

Having a healthy and balanced diet is important at all stages of our lives, but especially when we are pregnant. Our pregnancy diet not only affects us but also the proper development and growth of the baby.

During the nine months of gestation, the fetus feeds and nourishes through the umbilical cord that connects it to the mother. Substances and essential nutrients, such as water, minerals, glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, etc., are exchanged through the umbilical cord. For this reason, it is very important to make sure that we eat healthy and safe food during pregnancy, free of bacteria and parasites.

Through a proper pregnancy diet, we make sure that we cover all the nutritional needs of the mother. Also, we meet the demands of the fetus and make sure that the baby is born with the right weight.

With a pregnancy diet, we prevent possible infections such as toxoplasmosis and listeriosis, which if contracted would cause serious problems to the fetus. We also reduce the risk of contracting different diseases, such as gestational diabetes, reflux, lipid alterations, obesity, hypertension, and pre-eclampsia.

By carrying out a specific diet for pregnant women, we also prevent the embryo from developing neuronal problems, as well as growth alterations, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and malformations.

With a healthy diet, we avoid suffering nutritional deficiencies such as iron, iodine, folic acid, and vitamin B12. It also helps us prepare our body for childbirth, avoiding premature births or cesarean sections and promoting future breastfeeding. It also increases the chances of succeeding in a new pregnancy.

What should I eat during the first trimester?

When we become pregnant, one of the changes we undergo is that the digestion process becomes slower. This happens because it is necessary for the food to remain longer in the intestine and thus be able to absorb more nutrients.

During the first 3 months, the usual thing to happen is that you gain weight between 0.5 kg and 1.5 kg. This increase is very small due to the fact that the size of the fetus is only 16 cm. For this reason, it is important to take into account what nutrients we can consume in the early stage of pregnancy with an adequate pregnancy diet.

During the first months of gestation we recommend the consumption of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, but in amounts equal to those of a balanced diet without being pregnant. Therefore, there must be a source of protein in every meal, such as meat, fish, legumes, eggs, cheese, tofu or seitan.

Complex carbohydrates must be consumed every day, such as pasta, bread, rice or potato. We have to take care when it comes to eating fats, and preferably consume olive oil, oily fish, and nuts.

A proper pregnancy diet must meet the iron, iodine, and calcium requirements. However, the amounts of these minerals cannot be greater until the 4th month of pregnancy. With vitamins it is important to increase the intake from the beginning of pregnancy, consuming vitamins A, B, C, D and E. To meet these needs we can consume raw fruits and vegetables, crude olive oil, whole grains, and dairy products.

Finally, one of the foods allowed during the first trimester of pregnancy is fiber, as it is necessary to have a healthy bowel and thus avoid constipation. Fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

It should be borne in mind that  a pregnant woman should not consume more than 30 g of fiber per day, as it can lead to decreased intestinal absorption of nutrients important to her and the fetus.

Pregnancy diet

During the first trimester, it is recommended to eat protein and healthy fats in our pregnancy diet.  

What should I eat during the second and third trimester?

From the 4th month of gestation,  the energy and caloric requirement of the pregnant woman begins to increase. It is recommended to gain between 3.5 kg and 4 kg during the second trimester of pregnancy and for the last trimester increase between 5 kg and 5.5 kg.

In order to maintain a healthy and balanced pregnancy diet during the second and third trimesters, it is recommended to increase the number of foods that provide us with complex carbohydrates, such as bread.

It is important to increase the amount of protein daily, for example by eating larger pieces of fish or meat. However, it is necessary to reduce saturated fats and increase healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts, oily fish or by drinking one more glass of milk than we used to consume until now.

From the 4th month of pregnancy, it is important to include in our pregnancy diet the intake of calcium. The best way to do this is to ingest more dairy products or dairy substitutes enriched in calcium, as we can find in soy drinks, rice, oats, etc..

t is quite common for anemia to appear in the later stages of pregnancy caused by the increased size of the baby. For this reason, it is very important to consume iron. It can be found in foods such as red meat, eggs, mussels, fish and legumes. If we suffer from anemia, the supply of iron through food is not enough and we have to take food supplements.

Moreover,  if we have iron-deficiency anemia we have to ingest enough B12, which can be found in meat, fish, dairy products and eggs and folic acid, present in asparagus, spinach, peas, cabbage, nuts, eggs, and meat. If we take vitamin C daily will help us to better assimilate the iron consumed in the diet.

Finally, it is important that our pregnancy diet increases the intake of iodine, as it is a very important mineral for pregnant women. We will find it in foods that come from the sea, such as fish, seafood and seaweed.  In a pregnancy diet, it is recommended to eat fish 4 times a week.

Pregnancy diet
Every pregnancy diet forbids the consumption of alcohol.

Foods to avoid in pregnancy

The following is a series of foods that we cannot consume during pregnancy, in any of the trimesters of gestation, as they can cause illnesses or the baby to absorb harmful substances.

The most famous of the bans is alcohol. We cannot consume any type of alcohol, such as wine, beer, cider or cocktails. It is also not recommended to consume infusions of medicinal plants. We do not have much data on the safety of the substances they may contain.

It is also recommended not to consume caffeine like  coffee, tea, energy drinks, mate, soft drinks and chocolate. Although there are divergences, there are experts who say that consumption equal to or less than 200 mg is safe.

It is recommended not to consume Brazil nuts because of their selenium content. Large fish such as bluefin tuna, swordfish and pike cannot be eaten because of their high mercury content.

Nor can we consume when we are pregnant raw milk or dairy products that are not made with pasteurized milk. Meat, fish, seafood, and eggs cannot be eaten raw either, as well as sushi or mayonnaise, as we can catch salmonella.

It is forbidden to eat raw, cured meat products such as sausages, cured ham, cured pork loin, sausage, etc.

Animals that have been hunted, such as quails and rabbits, aren't recommended either as they may contain heavy metals due to pellets.

Check out the original article: Dieta para embarazadas: qué comer y qué alimentos evitar durante el embarazo at