For a super strong and healthy baby, the need for highly nutritious meals can never be over emphasized. Your unborn cutie gets nutrients from the food choices you make. Also, your body starts preparing for breastfeeding by storing nutrients from the food you eat. Because pregnancy symptoms vary for every woman, it’s important for you to strike a balance between eating healthy and eating too much. Some pregnant women develop a heightened craving for food during pregnancy, if this is your case,then, you have to be careful to eat right so you can have a healthy baby even as you satisfy your cravings. Give that baby some dose of bubbly cuteness by choosing to eat healthily.
Healthy eating in pregnancy comes with a lot of unsubstantiated myth. I remember waking up one morning during my first pregnancy and guess what?, I had peppered snail on my mind. So, I dressed up and went in search of peppered snail but I was told it would make my baby drool..Eeek! what a myth!. Snails have been scientifically proven to have fantastic nutritional benefits for pregnant women. It is an excellent source of calcium,minerals,magnesium and vitamin A. This kind of food is obviously good for my baby.
Getting the right Nutrient:
Nutrients are those substances that provide nourishment essential for the maintenance of life and for growth. They Include Proteins, carbohydrates,fats,vitamins,minerals, and water. You can get these nutrients from food, pills,and food supplements , but eating food is actually the best way for you to get them. To get these nutrients, it’s important you eat a well-balanced meal,take daily prenatal vitamin pills that include folic acid and iron and very important, drink plenty of liquids.
When choosing fruits and vegetables especially the green veggies, select fruits and vegetables that have fresh and bright colours, for instance, don’t buy tomatoes that are yellowish to greenish in colour ‘Awara Awa”.Always choose a plum bright red tomato, a fresh pumpkin. You are obviously a Bubbly Mama,So, Go fresh Mama!
There are some recommended daily servings of the right portion of nutrient for your pregnancy
Protein Rich food – sources: meat, poultry, fish,nuts,eggs ,dry fish , beans ( 3 servings),Kunu aya(Nigerian drink made from aki hausa)
Liquids – drink lots of water ( 8 glasses)
Use a small amount of fat for your cooking –olive oil, canola,vegetable or butter
Fibre – whole grain, cereal,bread,rice,pasta (9 servings) fruits ( 3 servings),fresh vegetables( 4 servings). Vegetables might not be your ideal fun meal but there are lots of ways you can spice it up and get that delish taste. There are lots of creative ways to go about your veggies. Find the vegetable or fruit that appeals to you and get a twist delish to it. Don’t forgot to take lots of water with your veggies.I like ugu (pumpkin a lot). I also enjoy water leaf but in my Afang. Instead of cooking your veggies till the nutrients are dead, steam them. You can try different veggies, Eforiro and the local Ugba is pumped with great taste.
Calcium Rich foods – milk,cheese,yogurt (3 servings) these help you and your Bubbly cutie develop strong and healthy bones and also helps prevent pregnancy-induced hypertension .
Iron rich food – red meat – beef,pork,egg yolk,turkey,chicken,egg yolk, green vegetables.
Green vegetables, citrus,okro,avocado,breakfast cereals,white beans,kidney beans,beef liver,brown rice,water leaf,anara(garden egg leaves:you should try this!) leaves are good sources of folic acid. Folic acid(0.4mg per day) helps in the development of your baby’s nervous system. Not having enough folate in the diet during pregnancy can play a significant role in a birth defect called ‘Spina bifida”( also called “Split spine” which is the incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord. This condition can be prevented if the mother gets enough folate before and during pregnancy.
World Health Organisation recommendation for folic acid for all pregnant women is a standard dose of 30 to 60 mg iron and 400-μg folic acid.Vitamin C- Oranges,strawberry,paw paw,green pepper,tomatoes,broccoli, you need 80-85mg of
Vitamin C- Oranges,strawberry,paw paw,green pepper,tomatoes,broccoli, you need 80-85mg of Vit C a day
Vitamin A – carrots, spinach,beets,pumpkin,sweet potato
Can I get more nutrients from caffeine during pregnancy
Apart from getting your caffeine from coffee, tea, and some carbonated drinks, some of your cold and flu tablets contain caffeine. Limit your intake of caffeine to the barest minimum less than 200mg per day which is about 12oz cup of coffee. Your baby’s body is not developed to process the caffeine that has crossed from the placenta into the amniotic fluid. Caffeine can raise your heart rate which can also affect your baby’s heart rate. According to babycenter.com, a study showed that mothers who consumed more than 300mg of caffeine a day were more likely to give birth to babies who were small for their gestational age.
Are all Herbal products safe for me
Not all natural products are safe for you because you are pregnant and cannot tell how much or how less is dangerous or safe for your health. Consult your O&G if you have such concerns.
Craving non-food substances-
At some point during my pregnancy I wanted clay but that was because a friend suggested it would stop me from salivating. Most pregnant women crave dirt,iceblock,burnt food,cigarette ashes,charcoal. Craving non-food substances(pica) can be dangerous for you and your baby. It’s very ok to crave for a peppered snail, grilled chicken,whatever that is safe and not harmful, you should always think of your unborn baby and how dangerous substances can affect your baby’s development.
Avoid foods like cheese. If you must buy cheese, buy only cheese that has the word “pasteurized” on it.
Avoid raw fish, shellfish,undercooked meat,shark,swordfish,albacore tuna fish. They contain large amounts of mercury which is dangerous to your baby’s health.
Alcohol of any form- the dangerous effects are enormous. Alcohol can contribute to your baby’s distinctive facial features leaving your baby with a small head,flat face,narrow eye openings,which gets more obvious by age 2 or 3. Am sure you don’t want to give birth to a ‘doll baby”. You obviously want a bubbly cutie right?it can also affect your child’s learning and behaviour pattern.There is no other better word to use than the word “danger zone, keep off!”
Healthier options for snacking
Gradually replace your soft drinks,cookies,cake,pies with healthier options like cucumber,low-fat yoghurt,carrot,moi moi,watermelon. Find a great way to enjoy it. Instead of just munching your carrots,you can make carrot juice or carrot salad.
How much weight and How much food is too much for me
Once you maintain a healthy eating habit, you will gain just the right amount of weight. Eating too much does not mean eating less. Your baby doesn’t get enough when you eat too much rather your baby gets enough when you eat the right amount of nutrient. When you eat right, it is normal for you to gain 2-4pounds(1pound-0.45kg) in the first 3months. By the end, you should have gained between 20-35 pounds(9-16kg approximately) which are ideal for a normal and healthy baby.You will eventually loose these weights as you breastfeed.
Enjoy Healthy living for a healthier bubbly cutie…