Abstinence from alcohol and avoiding hectic activities are some of the precautionary measures that should be followed during pregnancy. The following HerHaleness article elaborates more on diet for pregnant women.
Hearing the news of pregnancy is one of the most precious moments in every woman’s life. Being pregnant is a happy feeling and demands more attention to one’s health. This is because, whatever a woman eats or adopts a certain lifestyle has a direct impact on the baby’s health. During the nine months of gestation, certain dos and don’ts have to be religiously followed to protect the fetus from potential damage. They are discussed below:
It is no secret that a well-balanced diet is the key to give birth to a healthy baby. Here are some dietary tips to follow to ensure safe pregnancy and birth:
Although fish provides proteins in ample amounts, one should avoid eating certain types of fish as they are high in mercury. Fish like shark, lobsters, swordfish, tuna, tile fish, and mackerel have unacceptable levels of mercury and so should be avoided. On the other hand, salmon and sardines are the species of fish that contain the lowest amount of mercury but still their intake has to be limited to avoid mercury poisoning. It is recommended that servings of salmon have to be restricted up to 12 ounces per week.
Alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking can harm the developing fetus and so one should abstain from following these habits. Caffeine beverages like coffee are notorious for causing sleep disturbances which need to be avoided during pregnancy, as it can lead to longer labor. Till date, doctors have not been able to find any link between caffeine intake and birth defects but to be on the safer side, one should avoid or considerably minimize consumption of beverages like coffee, tea and soft drinks.
Whether it is about eating poultry products like chicken or seafood such as fish, it has to be properly cooked. One should not commit the mistake of eating it raw as it can cause food poisoning. Toxoplasmosis and listeriosis are some of the infections reported during pregnancy that mainly occur from consuming poorly cooked meat. Cooking destroys the harmful bacteria present in raw food, thus making it fit for consumption. Food poisoning during this period may get cured but the baby is likely to develop health problems after birth. Also, one has to properly wash all vegetables and fruits before making any salad. Healthy cooking habits involve steaming, boiling, baking or grilling the meat. Avoid deep frying and prefer to cook in olive oil.
Certain medications like painkillers, antibiotics or decongestants for common cold can harm the fetus. So, prior consent of a qualified doctor is necessary before taking over the counter medications during pregnancy.
Many couples ask ‘can sexual activity have a negative impact on the developing baby?’ To be honest, sex should take a backseat during pregnancy as it can be uncomfortable for the ‘would be mother’. Sexual intercourse when the woman is pregnant may cause complications in the fetus. Pregnant women are also advised to stay away from strenuous activities like running that cause physical exertion.
On the whole, complications during this period can lead to miscarriage or even birth defects. Eating healthy well-cooked food complemented with a light exercise such as walking is all that is needed to ensure healthy delivery.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.