Good nutrition during pregnancy is very important to a baby’s health and development.

Doctors will tell you that the first steps are to eat more and eat healthy.

Here are some food choices to help you as you travel down that road:

 Choose foods high in fibre such as whole-grain bread, cereals, pasta and rice, as well as fruits and vegetables.

 Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet while pregnant. You could take prenatal vitamin supplement prescribed by a doctor if you’re falling short.

 Calcium is good for your bones, and women with a diet deficient in calcium may have more pregnancy complications, including high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Yogurt, hard cheese and low-fat milk are some of the best sources of calcium.

 Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods, such as lean meats, spinach, beans and boiled plantains so that you can get enough iron in your daily diet.

 Choose at least one good source of vitamin C every day, such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew, papaya, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens. Pregnant women need 70 mg of vitamin C a day.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Caffeine

Taking in high doses of caffeine daily during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. Pregnant women should switch to decaffeinated beverages, especially during the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage is highest.

Soft cheese

Cheese may be unpasteurised and contaminated with wisteria, a bacteria that can trigger food poisoning, and because pregnant women have a weakened immune system, they are more prone to certain food-borne illnesses which, if contracted in the first trimester, can lead to miscarriage or preterm birth.

Meat

Meat can become contaminated with bacteria if they’re not handled properly. As a precaution, heat meat until it is hot enough to kill the bacteria.

Alcohol

The overwhelming advice is that all pregnant women should avoid any alcohol consumption. Women who drink frequently or heavily put their unborn baby at risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which has effects ranging from mild to severe learning disabilities, physical abnormalities, and disorders of the central nervous system.



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