Diet in pregnancy: what to eat, weekly schedule and foods to avoid

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Elia Tabuenca García
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During pregnancy it is more important than ever to follow a healthy and balanced diet that allows the unborn child to grow and develop at its best but also the mother to avoid excessive weight gain. But what should the diet be like during pregnancy? Which foods are recommended and which ones to avoid?



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In pregnancy it is more important than ever to follow a healthy and balanced diet that allows the unborn child to grow and develop at its best but also the mother to avoid excessive weight gain. But what should the diet be like during pregnancy? Which i recommended foods and those to avoid?



Mothers-to-be must take care to guarantee themselves and their baby all the necessary nutrients to ensure that the little one grows healthy and strong and that they feel fit and full of energy. It should already be the midwife or gynecologist who follows the pregnancy to give some useful information to the mother about recommended foods when pregnant and those that it would be better to avoid.

However, we specify that there is no universally suitable diet for all pregnant women given that each, also based on their own blood tests or the presence of certain pathologies, has specific needs. It would therefore be important to always calibrate your diet with the help of an expert who will assess the overall situation of the pregnant woman.

However, let's see some general information on a correct diet during pregnancy.

Index

Pregnancy, what to eat

First of all, we need to dispel the myth that during pregnancy you have to eat for two. This is not at all true given that, especially in the first months, the extra calorie intake needed is very low (in the whole period of pregnancy it oscillates between 200 and 450 kcal). Important instead best calibrate all useful nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, good fats, vitamins, mineral salts and ensure the right amount of fiber, essential for avoiding the classic problem of constipation in pregnancy.

As regards the cereals it would be better to prefer those integrals varying as much as possible. Not always wheat therefore, but rice, barley, spelled and pseudo cereals such as buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet. Proteins are also important and consumption should be increased a little, but not necessarily those of animal origin should always be chosen.



Also fundamental eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, to ensure greater hydration and a quantity of fiber but also vitamins and mineral salts in abundance.

As far as mineral salts are concerned, particular attention should be paid to the consumption of foods rich in iron and calcium, two essential substances for the development of the newborn. While for vitamins it is good to increase the consumption of foods rich in folic acid (B9), a substance that helps prevent serious malformations of the fetus (this is why we recommend a daily intake in the form of a supplement of 400 mg of folic acid for throughout the period of pregnancy or at least in the first months).

A correct diet during pregnancy also includes the intake of good fats, fIt is essential to take Omega 6 and Omega 3 in the right proportions. In fact, our diet is often unbalanced in favor of the former, during pregnancy it is more important than ever to also take foods that contain Omega 3 (they can be found not only in fish but also in foods of vegetable origin such as flax seeds, dried fruit and more. ). Also recommended consumption of extra virgin olive oil possibly of biological origin, rich in oleic acid useful for the healthy and strong growth of the fetus. Among other things, this type of oil has been associated in terms of properties with breast milk.

To recap during pregnancy it is good to eat:

• Whole grains
• Fruits and vegetables
• Proteins
• Foods rich in iron
• Foods rich in calcium
• Foods rich in Omega 3
• Foods rich in folic acid (particularly if you do not take the supplement for a period)
• Extra virgin olive oil


To deepen the topic see also:

  • 10 SUPER CIBI PER GRAVIDANCE
    10 FOODS TO AVOID IN PREGNANCY

Finally, it is important drink enough, at least one and a half liters of water a day.


Foods to Avoid

There are foods that are best avoided when pregnant. The list is longer in case the expectant mother has not contracted it in the past toxoplasmosis, a disease that in the first months of pregnancy can be dangerous for the well-being of the future baby. This can be transmitted through raw foods of animal origin or through fruit and vegetables that are not well washed. This is why during pregnancy it is often advised to avoid raw meat and fish, uncooked eggs, raw ham, salami and other sausages.

Also to be avoided the consumption of fish with high mercury content, neurotoxic metal, such as canned and fresh tuna and swordfish. It is also better to avoid farmed salmon.

Always to avoid the risk of toxoplasmosis but also Salmonella o listeria, other potentially dangerous bacteria, it is not recommended to consume during pregnancy white rind cheeses such as brie, camembert or taleggio but also the so-called blue cheeses such as gorgonzola and roquefort, unless they are properly cooked. Fontina and all other unpasteurized cheeses and of course the raw milk.

For fruits and vegetables, instead, you can eat any type as long as wash it well using for example a solution of water and bicarbonate.

To be avoided altogether the alcohol and it passes entirely into the placenta and it goes straight to the fetus with possible consequences for its health. It would be good too do not overdo it with caffeine and the products that contain it as it is a stimulant of the nervous system associated with premature births and increased risk of miscarriage.

Also be careful to read the labels carefully avoid all products sweetened with aspartame, a substance associated with possible damage to the brain development of the unborn child.

Also useful limit the consumption of salt, sweets, foods that are too high in fat or fried that especially when the belly is large they can be difficult to digest. Finally, avoid all junk food.

To recap in expectation it is advisable to avoid:

• Raw meat
• Raw fish
• Raw ham, salami and other uncooked sausages
• Raw milk
• Brie
• Camembert
• Taleggio cheese
• Gorgonzola
• Roquefort
• Raw or uncooked eggs
• Fish such as tuna and swordfish
• Farmed salmon
• Overly fatty or fried foods and junk food in general
• Limit salt and sweets

Weekly schedule

We present a possible weekly schedule reminding you that this is just an example. As mentioned, it is good discuss your pregnancy diet with an expert who will evaluate your constitution and any special needs.

MONDAY'

Breakfast: yogurt or milk (including vegetables), whole grain muesli and fruit
Lunch: wholemeal pasta with courgettes and parmesan, seasonal vegetables in the oven
Price: grilled chicken breast with vegetables and wholemeal bread
Snacks: fresh or dried fruit

TUESDAY'

Breakfast: infusion, juice or extract of fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread with cold cuts or chickpea hummus
Lunch: saffron risotto and salad with a mix of oil seeds
Price: omelette and seasonal vegetables, wholemeal bread
Snacks: wholemeal rusks or yogurt

WEDNESDAY'

Breakfast: toast with wholemeal bread and cheese or with jam, tea, milk or fruit extract
Lunch: spaghetti with tomato sauce with parmesan cheese and a side dish of vegetables
Price: vegetable soup with wholemeal bread croutons
Snacks: fruit smoothie, yogurt or dried fruit

THURSDAY'

Breakfast: yogurt or milk (including vegetables), whole grain muesli and fruit
Lunch: pasta and beans or pasta and chickpeas with vegetables
Price: baked sea bream with potatoes or pea flan or other legumes
Snacks: biscuits and fruit

FRIDAY'

Breakfast: fruit and vegetable juice or extract, tea or infusion with wholemeal bread with cold cuts or chickpea hummus
Lunch: rustic pie with vegetable garnish
Price: escalopes with courgettes and a wholemeal sandwich
Snacks: fresh or dried fruit

Saturday

Breakfast: toast with wholemeal bread with ricotta or with jam, tea, milk or fruit extract
Lunch: spelled or barley salad and seasonal vegetables
Price: veal slices with tomatoes and wholemeal bread
Snacks: biscuits and fruit

Sunday

Breakfast: yogurt or milk (including vegetables), whole grain muesli and fruit
Lunch: brown rice salad with cheeses and mixed vegetables
Price: baked fish with potatoes or legume meatballs with a vegetable side dish
Snacks: wholemeal rusks or yogurt

Vegetarian or vegan diet in pregnancy

More and more experts agree in considering the vegetarian diet but also the vegan one safe in pregnancy as long as you have some precautions. For example, she expressed herself on this question l’American Dietetic Association (ADA), one of the most authoritative sources in the field of nutrition, arguing that: "the lacto-ovo-vegetarian and vegan diets meet the nutrient and energy needs of pregnant women".

Like the omnivorous diet in pregnancy, however, also those based on plants they need to be well balanced, for this reason it is always good to contact an expert nutritionist to get the best advice, avoiding possible deficiencies for mother and child. In the case of a vegan diet, but often also when following a vegetarian diet, it is necessary for example a supplement of B12, a vitamin that is usually taken through proteins of animal origin. Attention should also be paid to levels of iron, calcium, iodine and folic acid, the latter of fundamental importance as it is able to prevent even very serious fetal diseases such as spina bifida.

To deepen the topic see also:

  • VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN DIET IN PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING
  • PREGNANCY: VEGETARIAN OR NOT THE IMPORTANT IS TO EAT WELL
  • VEGAN DIET: PROVEN BENEFITS, EXAMPLES, WHAT TO EAT AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
  • VEGETARIAN DIET: PROVEN BENEFITS, EXAMPLES, WHAT TO EAT AND CONTRAINDICATIONS

The opinion of the nutritionist

We asked Iolanda Frangella, a nutrition biologist, to give us some advice on the diet to follow during pregnancy. Here's what she told us:

“The diet during pregnancy is often considered a topic only due to the increase in kg and weight limits. Actually in this delicate phase of a woman's life, nutrition plays a fundamental role in the correct growth of the child in health and to avoid gestational complications. This doesn't mean that weight gain doesn't matter, but that, alongside weight gain, it matters a correct and balanced intake of macro and micronutrients. In first quarterdespite the fact that the energy requirement remains almost unchanged and the weight gain is minimal, the mother feels the typical discomfort such as nausea, constipation, digestive difficulties, vomiting that can affect her eating properly. To cope with these physiological annoyances you can eat small frequent meals, which I would define as snacks, avoiding strong flavors and preferring dry and dry foods such as parmesan, toast, potatoes, crackers. Also avoid packaged and particularly acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, which could exacerbate gastric disorders ".

E in subsequent quarters?

"In second quarter mother needs an increase in calories equal to 350kcal, which becomes 400kcal in the third quarter. The needs obviously change depending on whether or not you do some activity, which in pregnancy is almost always overestimated due to fatigue. The increased need of pregnancy should be correctly distributed among the various nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Carbohydrates are often a sore point for some women, for fear of developing diabetes gravidarum they reduce them almost to a minimum. By reducing carbohydrates without criteria, in addition to feeling without energy and perpetually tired, we will induce a consequence in the fetus that in reality is in great need of carbohydrates. The baby will become greedy for carbohydrates, getting few, and will get used to absorbing them like a sponge. This, for a baby who comes to light, results in increased accumulation of fatty tissue. Obviously when I talk about carbohydrates I am referring to the complex ones and not to various sweets. By choosing complex carbohydrates and accompanying them in the meal with proteins, good fats and fibers it allows to contain the post-meal glycemic response. Proteins must absolutely not be deficient as they are involved in the synthesis of maternal and fetal tissues; however, meat and fish from intensive farming should be avoided. Speaking of fish, an adequate intake of is essential during pregnancy Omega-3 essential fatty acids, for the formation of the baby's cerebral nervous system. In addition to fish, we find them in dried fruit, eggs (not from intensive farming), extra virgin olive oil, linseed oil to be bought only if you find it in the refrigerated counter, as it must follow the cold chain). For some women some DHA, iron, or vitamin D supplements may be required, always on medical advice ".

What else would you recommend to expectant mothers?

“It is very important approaching pregnancy as little as possible overweight and maintaining a balanced diet, which does not mean eliminating but rather not exasperating certain conditions, such as the physiological insulin resistance of pregnant women. Obese women with metabolic dysregulations have an alteration of the intestinal microbiota that can significantly affect the microbiota of the newborn causing the onset of pathologies (allergies, diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance). With delivery and breastfeeding, the mother's microbiota and / or its metabolites can be transferred to the baby. We understand then that attention to one's diet during pregnancy should go beyond the simple elimination of alcohol, caffeine and raw proteins. As often repeated during the courses dedicated to nutrition in pregnancy that we hold at our center, what the mother eats will affect the health of her baby, in the belly and as an adult".

This an example of daily nutrition for pregnant women by Dr. Frangella:

Breakfast: 1 whole white yogurt + 2 walnuts + 40g of rolled oats

Snacks: 50g of bread with 2 teaspoons of jam or dried fruit cream or 2 spelled crackers with a piece of Parmesan cheese

Lunch: Risotto with anchovies and cherry tomatoes + vegetables and extra virgin olive oil for seasoning

Price: Baked fish with herbs + boiled potatoes + vegetables and extra virgin olive oil for seasoning

You guys what diet did you follow during pregnancy?

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