Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant/ Foods to Avoid

Diet for Pregnant Women

Some of the best foods to eat while pregnant are enlisted here. These foods may help you avoid unnecessary medical interventions during pregnancy.

To proceed with an uncomplicated pregnancy, the foods listed here should be taken in adequate amounts.

Some harmful food items are also mentioned at the end. Contrary to common myths, those food items should be avoided.

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Diet plays a crucial role in every situation. During pregnancy, the demands for energy are higher than in typical situations.

Take for example a pregnant woman who requires an additional 340 calories in the 1st trimester and 450 calories in the 2nd trimester.

The entire female body makes changes to adapt to the new circumstances. Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common problems encountered during pregnancy, which is why menstruation ceases and so does iron loss.

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Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant

Dairy Food Items:

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milkshake with nuts

An essential food group that must be a part of every pregnant woman’s diet is dairy. Dairy products are an excellent source of vitamins (especially vitamin D) and minerals like calcium and phosphorus.

So, it only makes sense why pregnant women should include these foods in their diets. A pregnant woman requires almost 1000 mg of calcium in a single day and for that, approximately 3 to 4 servings of calcium-rich items will be enough.

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Make sure that you avoid any fat in these dairy products as fat can affect your weight status by making you gain some extra pounds. Such dairy products include fat-free versions of yogurt, milk, cheese, etc

For a mix of things, you can try to add fruits to a cup of yogurt.

Apart from calcium and vitamin D they also provide magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, etc. they also contain whey protein and casein both of which are high-quality proteins.

Women who are lactose intolerant can possibly tolerate yogurt according to a systematic review.

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Nuts and Seeds:

Nuts are a nutrient-dense option which makes them a good option for women who face early satiety and for women who suffer from nausea, as a small quantity will provide all of the good stuff. Nuts contain fiber, protein, healthy fats, minerals, etc.

Even though all types of nuts can be healthy, walnuts take the crown for being rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

High Protein Fish (Fish With Most Protein): Tuna, Cod, and Salmon

This fatty acid is known for its effect on the development of your baby’s brain. Walnuts can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids for women who are vegetarians and do not eat fish.

Seeds also contain several health benefits including easing morning sickness. Such seeds include chia seeds, fenugreek seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.

Like walnuts, chia seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. One can add chia seeds to yogurt or a pudding for a sweet taste.

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Lean Meat and Protein:

The importance of lean meat also comes from the necessity to avoid any extra fat since fat will only disturb your weight status.

Lean meat like poultry and fish provides the essential amount of protein along with other necessary nutrients like iron, choline, and B vitamins.

Iron is required for the functioning of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The importance of iron is stressed during the third trimester.

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The absence or deficiency of iron stores during pregnancy will result in anemia which enhances the chances of low-birthweight infants.

Combining vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich foods enhances absorption.

Whole Grains:

Whole grains are a decent source of B vitamins which are demanded for the growth of the fetus and placenta.

Vitamin B-6 can ease nausea as well. Whole grains include whole wheat and whole bread which are packed with the most quantity of minerals and vitamins.

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Fiber also makes up a great portion of whole grains and it helps with curing hemorrhoids and constipation. Almost 28 grams/day of fiber is required for pregnant women.

Keep Yourself Hydrated:

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The blood volume increases by 45% during pregnancy because of the increased demands of the body.

The water status shifts towards the growing fetus as the body prefers the needs of the fetus over that of the mother.

In this case, if the mother does not keep a close look at her hydration status she will easily be a victim of dehydration.

An approximate 2.3 liters of water is recommended, however, it can vary and one must consult her doctor prior to making a decision.

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Eggs are a supreme source to fulfill your protein requirement while also receiving other important nutrients while giving 80 calories in a single egg. Eggs must be pasteurized prior to eating.

Choline helps with the prevention of developmental disabilities in the growing fetus and it is required for its brain as well.

Eggs are rich in choline as a single egg has 147 mg/day of choline.

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Foods to Avoid While Pregnant:

Pregnancy is a critical state and any disturbance in the diet can pose serious threats to the body of the mother and to the growing fetus.

Red Meat:

Red meat is not a healthy source of protein as it is a great source of saturated fatty acids which are anything but good for the health state of pregnant women.

Increasing red meat consumption will directly increase the intake of saturated fats. To consume protein, one must opt for plant-based protein sources or lean meat.

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Processed Foods:

Processed foods like junk foods need to be avoided at any cost. Indeed the demands for energy increase during pregnancy but opting for foods that are rich in fats will only fulfill your energy needs while providing no nutrients. Processed foods only provide empty calories most of the time.

Uncooked eggs:

Salmonella is commonly found in raw eggs and it can lead to conditions including fever, nausea, vomiting, etc. these infections can be harmful to the baby.

Foods that include raw eggs are given below:

  • Homemade ice creams
  • Homemade cakes
  • Mayonnaise
  • Scrambled eggs

To avoid this situation, you can cook eggs in any form e.g., eat a hard-boiled egg or an omelet.

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Sesame Seeds:

Although seeds are a good source of nutrition, however, dried sesame seeds are strictly forbidden during the early months of pregnancy as people used to take dried sesame seeds as a medicine to induce abortion by stimulating the uterine muscles resulting in the expulsion of the fertilized ovum.

What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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