Proper nutrition during pregnancy is essential in order to deliver a healthy baby.
For many women, prenatal nutrition is as much a matter of what not to eat as what foods to choose; some foods and vitamin supplements can be harmful to the developing baby and should be used in moderation or avoided altogether. Expectant mothers can help protect their unborn babies by monitoring and considering the foods, beverages and medications they consume during pregnancy and eliminating those that can be potentially dangerous to fetal development.
While many women enjoy a glass or two of wine in the evening, many medical authorities including the World Health Organization recommend that pregnant women avoid alcohol entirely. The effects of alcohol on the baby’s developing systems are still not fully understood; as a result, it’s advisable to wait until after the delivery to celebrate with a glass of champagne.
Critical for proper development of the retina, high quantities of Vitamin A can be hazardous to unborn babies. Because the vitamin builds up in the system, pregnant women should avoid eating foods rich in Vitamin A too often; beef, chicken and pork livers are exceptionally high in Vitamin A and can contain seven times the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin. While an occasional plate of liver and onions is not harmful, a steady diet of these foods should be avoided until after the delivery.
While hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano are considered safe during pregnancy, soft cheeses can sometimes contain bacteria that can cause difficulties for developing babies. Swiss, American and other pasteurized cheeses have been treated with heat in order to kill these bacteria, but some farmer and organic cheeses should be avoided by pregnant women due to the potential for bacterial contamination.
Raw eggs, shellfish and rare meat
Salmonella is a risk with uncooked eggs, seafood and meats of all kinds. While shellfish and undercooked chicken are the most common sources of this enterobacteria, any undercooked meat, seafood or egg dish can potentially be contaminated with salmonella. Pregnant women should stay clear of raw eggs and seafood as well as rare meat in order to avoid this dangerous illness.
While women should gain about twenty-five pounds during pregnancy, this should not be achieved by adding empty calories and fatty foods to their diets. Healthy, well-balanced meals provide the nutritional value and calories needed to build strong bones and nourish the baby’s developing physical systems. By eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains women can ensure that their unborn babies get a healthy start on life.
Most obstetricians prescribe prenatal vitamins for their patients; these vitamins are formulated to provide calcium, iron, and vitamins needed by both mother and baby during pregnancy. Taking a specially formulated prenatal vitamin daily can ensure that babies and mothers get the right dosages of these essential nutrients to stay healthy.
By eating a variety of wholesome foods and avoiding items that can be dangerous to their baby’s health, expectant mothers can improve their chances of a trouble-free pregnancy and a healthy delivery.