I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. It was one of my happiest days, but also the day I knew a lot was about to change, including my feeding habits.

I learned pretty fast that pregnancy demands an increase of most nutrients because my unborn baby was nourishing himself at my expense. I had to undergo a couple of physiological changes during pregnancy. For this reason, my nutritional status during pregnancy was crucial. I also came to learn that I should have made specific changes to my diet before getting pregnant.

Maternal malnutrition has been associated with a higher risk of infant mortality and sickness. From the research I did at the time, I gathered that an obese mother was at a higher risk of developing pregnancy-related diseases like hypertension, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.

I now like to advise people that the best time to cut off the extra weight is before getting pregnant, and not while pregnant. It is normal to gain weight during pregnancy, and trying to lose weight at this stage should highly be avoided.

The amount of weight you will gain in the cause of these nine months will vary based on your nutritional status and medical conditions if you are affected by any.

Nutritional Changes During Pregnancy

I recommend that you prioritize eating elements that are rich in folic acid, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and essential fatty acids during pregnancy.

Also, to ensure you are following the right dosage, make sure to consult your doctor before taking folic acid and iron supplements. Such supplements are crucial because there are certain nutrients that you may not be able to get with food alone during pregnancy to cover the required micronutrients during pregnancy.

My energy needs to be increased, especially in the second trimester, where I needed like 300 calories daily. However, pregnant women shouldn’t use this to justify their reasons for overfeeding.

Make sure to eat from the essential food groups. For instance, whether it’s yogurt, milk, or cheese, opt for low-fat and  limit your intake to 3 portions a day. Do this for all dairy products.

I recommend eating about 100 g of meat per day during pregnancy, whether beef, lamb, pork, or chicken. However, with chicken, it is best to avoid chicken skin, and when it comes to meat, go for the leanest cuts.

Limit your fish intake to at least 200 g or consume not more than twice a week. I learned very early in my pregnancy that when it comes to fish, pregnant women should be cautious about the type of fish they consume as well as the amount.

Make sure you eat more vegetables and fruits. Consume at least five portions daily in accordance with whatever is in season at the time. This is crucial, especially when ensuring that you only consume colorful yet fresh produce. It also helps to use raw vegetable oil when making your food. Hence, include whether olive oil or any other type as part of your cooking regimen every day.

During pregnancy, it is crucial to eat carbohydrates every day due to your energy needs. Hence, include tubers like potatoes and yams, cereals like rice, semolina, cornmeal, pasta, or oatmeal, or any other foods rich in carbohydrates.

It is also very vital that you include legumes in your diet because of their fiber, protein, and iron contents. Good options include kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and green beans. Make sure to consume at least one portion at least twice weekly.

It also goes without saying that hydrating is very fundamental during pregnancy. In fact, for the sake of your unborn baby, you can’t afford to risk dehydration. Make sure to walk around with a bottle of water everywhere you go.

To further avoid dehydration, avoid adding salt to your food. Cook your food with substantial salt in order to moderate your consumption of salty foods.

foods to avoid during pregnancy

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