Keeping healthy during pregnancy depends on both the amount and the type of food you eat while planning pregnancy and during your pregnancy. Some foods are best avoided as they may contain substances that may affect the baby’s development.
To eat healthily, you should aim to do the following:
Most women do not need any extra calories during the first six months of pregnancy. It is only in the last 12 weeks that they need to eat a little more, and then only an extra 200 calories a day, which is roughly the same as two slices of bread.
You can find out your healthy weight from your BMI (body mass index). This is a measure of your weight in relation to your height. A healthy BMI is above 18.5 but below 25. Being overweight or underweight carries risks for you and your baby. Trying to lose weight by dieting during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm your baby. For women with a normal BMI, the ideal weight gain in pregnancy should be between 11.5-16 Kgs. Underweight women should gain 12.5-18 Kg and overweight women may need to gain only 7- 11.5 Kg.
Vitamins and minerals:
Vitamins and minerals play an important role in the baby’s development. During pregnancy, there is an increased requirement of folic acid, iron and calcium. Taking prenatal supplements can ensure that you are getting adequate amounts.
Is it safe to eat fish in pregnancy?
In general, eating fish is a healthy option during pregnancy, but eat no more than two portions of oily fish, such as mackerel or salmon, a week. This is because too much of a substance found in oily fish (mercury) can be harmful to an unborn baby’s development. Also, pregnant women should not eat more than two fresh tuna steaks or four medium-sized cans of tuna a week and should avoid eating shark and swordfish.
Decreasing the risk of infection from food:
Contaminated food can cause infection which can harm your unborn baby. The following can help to reduce the risk: