A pregnant woman needs to choose foods high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients for the foetus to have the crucial nutrients needed for developing, writes HANNAH CHIRA
Even as you ate nutritious foods preparing your body for pregnancy, this habits needs to carry on into pregnancy. In fact, this is a time to be prudent on the choice of foods you eat because a pregnant woman needs more of many important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than she did before pregnancy.
Making healthy food choices every day will help you give your baby what he or she needs to develop. In each food group, choose foods that have the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy. However, how much you need to eat from each food group is dependent on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and activity level.
Ensure you avoid choices high in empty calories. These are calories from added sugars and solid fats found in foods like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, cheese, whole milk, and fatty meats. Look for choices that are low fat, fat-free, unsweetened, or with no added sugars. They have fewer or no “empty calories”.
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If you are sure you will supply your body with the needed nutrients from the right foods, you may not require pre-natal vitamins and mineral supplements. However, these supplements ensure that you and your baby get enough important nutrients like folic acid and iron. But don’t overdo it. Taking extra can be harmful for you and your baby. Then again, these supplements cannot replace a healthy supplement.
Here are some foods to choose often:
• Grains: Go for fortified, cooked or ready-to-eat cereals such as wheat germ and oat meal.
• Vegetables: Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, cooked greens, tomatoes and red pepper.
• Fruits: Melon, mangoes, bananas, peaches, oranges or orange juice, grapefruit and avocado.
• Dairy: Non-fat or low-fat yogurt, non-fat milk (skim milk), low-fat milk (1 per cent milk).
• Meat and beans: Cooked beans and peas, nuts and seeds, lean beef, lamb, pork, shrimp, oysters, crab, cod and salmon.
Even as you endeavour to eat healthy, remember that women who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy and who fail to lose this weight within six months after giving birth are at much higher risk of being obese nearly ten years later.
Findings from a several studies suggest that gaining more weight than the recommended amount during pregnancy may raise your child’s odds of being overweight in the future. If you find that you are gaining weight too quickly, try to cut back on foods with added sugars and solid fats.
If you are not gaining enough weight, you can eat a little more from each food group.