I believe eating healthy during pregnancy is a must regardless of the mother’s age, medical history and background. Some would say that since they don’t have a history of diabetes or heart problem in their family, it is acceptable to binge on ice cream or burgers during this time. But let it be known that it is during pregnancy that all those that were harmless prior to pregnancy are exacerbated just because the mother is pregnant. This simply means that if a mother is not diabetic before she became pregnant, there is a risk of her being diabetic during pregnancy only (gestational diabetes) or diabetic for the rest of her life after pregnancy. And not only is there concern for the mother’s safety and well-being, it is mostly also for the precious life inside her.
So what is a good pregnancy eating habit? And how much should I eat if I’m pregnant? Different sites recommend different caloric requirement for pregnancy and there are a number of factors that would affect the number like age, lifestyle, activities. To make it simple, my take on it is that you DO NOT really need that much more calories during the 1st trimester (and with morning sickness, pressuring yourself to make up for lose due to vomitting won’t help) . The saying “eating for double” is a misnomer and a pregnant woman should only eat (healthy) until she is satisfied. For the 2nd and 3rd trimester, my research (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy-weight-gain/PR00111/NSECTIONGROUP=2) tells me that you need 300 more calories a day and that should be about a sandwich. As for the weight gain, my doctor recommends 2-4 lbs a month.
Below is a list of healthy foods and eating practices:
- Brown rice instead of white rice; wheat bread instead of white bread
- Skim or non-fat milk instead of full cream milk
- Snacks such as nuts or whole-grain cereals (sans the sugar) is good to munch on in between meals so you don’t starve yourself to death and binge during mealtimes.
- Increase fluid intake especially during summer months. Mineral water is good to deter cramps. Fresh fruit juices or shakes without the sugar is healthy.
- Substituting more vegetables for another half cup or a 2nd cup of rice to satisfy your hunger is good
- Fresh fruit or non-fat yogurt instead of cookies or cake 🙂 I found this very hard to do since I’m a chocoholic! but fruits are very nutritious and easy to come by in the Philippines so remember to eat your pineapples (they say for baby’s good skin), not too much mangoes and bananas (as they are jam-packed with sugar and calories), watermelons (for the extra fluids)
- Eat your vegetables – broccoli, kangkong (watercress), beans, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, okra and eggplant
- Take your prenatal vitamins – multivitamins with folic acid, iron supplement, calcium supplement. Some naturalists would say that vitamins are not essential if you eat a healthy balanced diet – TRUE. But busy working mothers do not always have the time to search out a balanced diet and may have to rely on supplements to avoid the risks of lacking one or two nutrients
- Frequent small feedings is a good practice whether pregnant or not.
- This is a chart I often referred to while pregnant and I actually found it fun to make sure I eat the foods listed on. http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/pregnancy/pregnancynutrition/4540.html
Here is a list of foods to avoid:
- Raw fish or meat. This means any type of sushi or medium-rare steaks.
- Salty foods – french fries, canned goods, instant noodles, chips, bagoong, chicharon
- Unpasteurized milk or cheeses. It is healthier but you run the risk of getting bacteria.
- Exotic foods – dinuguan, frogs legs. It’s just better to be safe than sorry.
- Foods prepared in unsanitary places. I personally have a more sensitive tummy while pregnant and cannot take vegetables that are not washed properly so I always take my vegetables cooked during this time.
- If you have the luxury of preparing your food yourself or at home, do so. You can never be too sure what other’ ingredients restaurants put in the food (like MSG).
So hope this helps and if I missed out anything, please do tell me.