A pregnant woman needs good food, a balanced diet to keep the baby in the womb healthy. The health of a baby and that of the mother are tied together, this is why your baby is exactly your diet while in the womb. A pregnant woman needs to be very careful with what she consumes while pregnant. Pregnant women especially first-timers need professional counseling from a dietician on what to eat if you really need a healthy baby after delivery. It also helps to reduce infant mortality.
When a woman is trying to get pregnant, some of her habits may seriously need to change. In this very edition, we shall be discussing some of that magical food a woman needs when pregnant and some fertility foes to stay clear of when you are actively trying to have a baby.
BEST FOODS FOR A PREGNANT WOMAN
Here are well-detailed pregnancy-friendly foods you need during pregnancy that can help the baby in the womb grow healthier and awesome:
Egg in addition to more than 12 vitamins and minerals, contains lots of quality protein which is essential for pregnancy especially at the early stage of a pregnant woman. The baby cell is growing at an exponential rate, and every cell is made of protein. Besides, as a pregnant woman, you have your own protein need too.
Eggs are also rich in choline which promotes your baby overall growth, and brain health. Some eggs even contain omega 3 fatty acid which helps in both brain and vision development. Healthy women with normal blood cholesterol can consume one to two eggs a day as part of a balanced diet low in saturated fat. But for a woman that has a cholesterol problem, she can substitute egg white for a whole egg.
Not only is salmon fish rich in high-quality protein, but it’s also exceptionally rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, and may help boost your mood. Unlike shark, mackerel, filefish, salmon has a low amount of methyl mercury, a compound that can be harmful to your baby’s developing nervous system. So, fish is seriously needed by a pregnant woman.
Beans contain the richest fiber and protein of all the vegetables. In as much as protein is very good during pregnancy, fiber is also another vital food a woman will need once she is pregnant. When you are pregnant, your gastrointestinal tract slows down, putting you at risk for constipation and hemorrhoids, [pile]. Fiber can help prevent and relieve these problems.
Sweet potatoes get their orange color from carotenoid plant pigments that are converted to Vitamin A in your body. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of Vitamin C, folate, and fiber.
POPCORN AND OTHER WHOLE GRAIN
Popcorn is a whole grain. Whole grains are important to a pregnant woman because they are rich in fiber and nutrients including Vitamin E, selenium, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant compound that protects the cell.
Walnut is one of the richest sources of plant-based Omega-3 fat. Walnuts are also good sources of protein and fiber.
Yogurt is a good source of calcium which is very vital for a pregnant woman. If you don’t take in enough, the limited amount you have will go to your baby which will now deplete the calcium in your bones. The essence of calcium during pregnancy is to make sure you provide everything your baby needs without sacrificing your own health. Calcium will help keep your own bone while laying down a healthy bone for your baby.
GREEN, LEAFY VEGETABLES
Spinach and other green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamins and nutrients including acid. They’re also found to promote eye health.
Meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Do you know that beef and pork meat contains choline in addition to protein? This makes them stand out amongst other meats. Don’t eat dead meat of hot dogs though they are heated until steam hot. They risk passing bacteria and parasites such as listeria and toxoplasma salmonella from the meat to your body.
COLORFUL FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Eating plenty of green, red, orange, yellow, purple, and white fruits, and vegetables ensure that you and your baby get a variety of nutrients. During the later stage of pregnancy, the baby tastes the food you eat through the amniotic fluid so if you expose your body to a variety of fruits and vegetables, in the womb, you will increase the chance for your baby to recognize and accept those flowers later on.
THINGS TO AVOID WHEN TRYING TO GET PREGNANT
Like I said from the start of this article, you may need to avoid habits if you are really serious about getting pregnant. These habits are called fertility foes. See them here:
Using a lubricant inhibits conception. Research has found that some vaginal lubricants are toxic to sperm and interfere with the role of the cervical mucus. Normally, the vagina’s own acidic secretion kills sperm but the alkalinity of the cervical mucus produced just before ovulation promotes the sperm.
Some artificial lubricants prevent the sperm from reaching the cervical mucus quickly, so, they die in the acidic environment of the vagina before getting inside the uterus. Though some lubricants in the market are designed not to kill sperm, however, prevention they say is better than cure. Pregnant women avoid a lot for the sake of the baby.
Most artificial lubricants whether store-bought or found at home such as egg white or mineral oil present a potential problem. The best lubricant to use when conception is your goal is foreplay.
SOME CERTAIN MEDICATIONS
If pregnant women cannot take any medication except by doctor’s prescription, I see no reason why a woman trying to conceive cannot do the same. You must stop all unnecessary medications before attempting pregnancy, but of course, that’s not always possible.
Some that you should definitely avoid because they can harm the fetus include isotretinoin better known as Accutane, [for acne], Coumadin [an anticoagulant used for preventing blood clotting], tetracycline [for acne or infections], valproic acid, [for epilepsy], ACE inhibitors [for hypertension].
Some medications like injectable or preventive drugs like Imitrex and propranolol [for migraines, anti-malaria drugs like Plaquenil are not recommended for intending mothers. However, the best advice is to check with your physician before taking any medication. Many medications have a safer alternative for pregnant women. Discus deeply with your obstetrician well before embarking on a pregnancy journey. That’s it.
A LARGE AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE
One may ask whether caffeine affects fertility? The national fertility association thinks that there’s a reason to be cautious with caffeine intake when trying to conceive. In fact, caffeine intake is not safe for a pregnant woman.
It says that animal studies suggest that caffeine can prevent an egg from maturing properly, and since a less mature egg may not fertiLIze, it may affect your chances of getting pregnant. Most experts agree that a moderate amount of caffeine less than 300mg a day may, or the amount in 16 0unces of brewed coffee don’t appear to affect a woman’s fertility.
But one study did find that 200mg or more of caffeine raises a pregnant woman’s risk of miscarriage, so this would be a good time to start cutting down.
FOODS AND BEVERAGES THAT CONTAINS CAFFEINE
Coffee is one beverage that contains caffeine. The amount of caffeine in a served coffee varies widely depending on the type of bean, how it’s roasted, how it’s brewed, and obviously, on the size of the coffee cup.
You can also find caffeine in teas, energy drinks, and chocolate, and coffee ice cream. Caffeine also shows up in herbal products, and over–the–counter drugs, including some headache, cold, and allergy remedies. Read labels carefully.
HOW YOU CAN CUT DOWN ON CAFFEINE
If you decide to give up caffeine, ease off slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue and headache. You might want to start by switching to half decaf, half caffeinated drinks, or reduce the homemade hot beverages by brewing them weaker, or for a shorter time. If you love to start your day with a cup of English breakfast, steeping your tea bag for one minute instead of five reduces the caffeine by as much as half.
MERCURY IN FISH
Many women who are planning to get pregnant do wonder whether they should be eating fish or not. Even if you don’t care for seafood, you’ve probably heard that food is a major source of omega-3 fatty acids [specifically DHA and EPA], which are important for a baby’s brain development. So, a pregnant woman needs lots of fish.
However, fish is also low in saturated fat and high in protein, vitamin D, and other nutrients that are crucial for a baby’s development and healthy pregnancy. Your body will store omega-3 fatty acids for several weeks. So, it is a good idea to make sure you’re getting enough now so you would have an adequate level when you become pregnant.
On the other hand, you’ve probably heard that some types of fish contain contaminants such as mercury. In high doses, this metal is harmful to a baby’s developing brain and nervous system. Mercury accumulates in the body and takes time to go away once you reduce your intake, so you are right to be concerned about your exposures before becoming pregnant.
According to WHO on reproductive health, reproductive health is basically a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity in all matters relating to the reproductive system and its functions and processes. What this means is that whether a woman is pregnant or desires to be pregnant there are health factors/tips that must be critically considered, and observed for complete, safe mother and child health. These health factors are:
- Healthy weight for mother and child during and before pregnancy
- Healthy food for mother and child during and before pregnancy
- Healthy physical activities for mother and child during and before pregnancy, and
- Consulting a health care professional on matters related to safe pregnancy and all gynecology.