The simplest way to remember what to eat in order to attain a healthy pregnancy is C I F( Calcium, Iron and Folic Acid) which can be remembered as Cool It Flora. There tends to be a deficiency in these three nutrients during pregnancy thus the focus on them. During pregnancy the body undergoes a lot of changes and it is therefore imperative that you are keen with your diet.
The foetus derives its calcium from the mother and if the mother is not taking in enough calcium then she is prone to suffer from osteoporosis (weakening of the bones). Hence the reason she should indulge in foods rich in calcium such as kale, soy products, yoghurt and oranges to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Iron is required to carry oxygen within the body and since you now need oxygen for two then you should increase your iron intake accordingly. A deficiency may result in anaemia which can cause fatigue and dizziness (like being pregnant is not already hard enough!). The best sources of iron are beetroot, beans, red meat, nuts, eggs, and poultry.
Folic acid is necessary for the regeneration of cells so you can kill two birds with one stone when eating greens such as kale. It can also be found in green peas, turnip, broccoli and asparagus. Fortified breakfast cereals can provide a break from vegetables as a source of folic acid.
Additional Eating Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
A healthy pregnancy cannot do without drinking lots of water and eating lots of vegetables which are rich in fiber. Fiber is good for digestion and vegetables are also a great source for minerals and vitamins. A lot of pregnant women are put on supplements but this does not mean that they should skimp on eating healthy. Supplements mean exactly what they are called, they are just supposed to enhance your diet not replace it.
Foods to Avoid so That You have a Healthy Pregnancy
Indulge in your cravings moderately. At times, cravings are the body’s way of telling you that there’s an insufficiency. To ensure that you don’t cater to unhealthy cravings, following are the types of foods you should avoid in order to have a healthy pregnancy:
- Alcohol– just avoid it altogether
- Raw foods and undercooked foods-this includes unpasteurized milk, soft cooked eggs and cookie dough, soft cheese, reason being they make pregnant mothers susceptible to bacterial infection
- Processed meats such as: Cold cuts, ham, frankfurters, etc
Snacking Your Way Towards a Healthy Pregnancy
Three meals a day won’t cover all the necessary nutritional requirements which is where snacking comes in. At times you may not even have the appetite for a whole meal but healthy snacking will ensure that you still enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Avoid junk food and instead buy nutritional snacks which can be packed in small bags in advance to munch on in-between meals.
- Raisins and other dried fruit
- Pieces of carrots
- Fruit salad
At the end of the day your obstetrician knows best so consult them and they will help you come up with a meal plan that will ensure a healthy pregnancy.