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7 Healthy Eating Tips for Pregnant Women

Healthy Pregnancy TipsPregnancy is a very exciting time, but it can also be a scary one. You are growing a baby inside you, and that physical change alone may make you feel insecure about eating the right foods. As if that weren't enough, your body is going through some pretty dramatic changes, so much so that it's essential to pay attention to what you're eating and how much of it. 

Here are some tips for how to eat well when you're expecting:

1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Eating more fruits and vegetables is the first tip to help you stay healthy during pregnancy. These foods are usually rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. In addition, they provide vital vitamins and nutrients for pregnant women, such as folate (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium. Fruits and vegetables are also low in calories and fat.

Fiber helps prevent constipation or diarrhea during pregnancy which can cause dehydration or even miscarriage if left untreated. Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals that damage cells by fighting off free radicals before they have time to do any harm.

2. Include Seafood in Your Diet

According to the Business Research Company, the worldwide seafood market increased by USD 261.15 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 10.3% from USD 236.78 billion in 2021. It shows that seafood is very popular around the world. 

Furthermore, seafood is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, it's essential to include seafood in your diet while you're pregnant because it can help you grow a healthy baby.

While some types of fish are safe to eat when you're pregnant, others may contain toxins. To ensure you get the nutrients you need from seafood, check with your doctor before eating any type of fish or shellfish during pregnancy.

How much seafood should you eat? It's recommended that pregnant women eat the following:

  • At least 8 ounces, about two servings per week, such as salmon, cod, catfish, or tilapia.
  • Up to 12 ounces, about three servings per week for fish such as orange roughy, grouper, and Chilean seabass.
  • Up to 18 ounces, about four servings per month, such as swordfish or tilefish.

Apart from the fish, can you eat prawns when you're pregnant? Yes, seafood, including prawns, is typically safe to eat while pregnant as long as it is properly prepared and eaten before the baby is due. Most microorganisms that might result in food poisoning will be eliminated by proper cooking.

You will find various blogs with helpful information about the necessary precautions you should take while eating seafood during your pregnancy. For instance, if you're picking food from a buffet at an event, you may need to exercise caution. Prawns shouldn't be consumed if they have been kept at room temperature for an extended time. 

While expecting, avoid eating any raw shrimp or prawns. You'll have to order something different off the menu until after your kid's delivery.

3. Eat Lean Proteins

Another thing to remember is that protein is essential for developing your baby's organs. Protein also helps build strong muscles and bones, which is especially important if you've been exercising during pregnancy. It's also a good energy source and is essential when carrying around an extra load. It also helps you feel full longer, so you won't have those crazy cravings that make it hard to stick with a healthy diet plan.

Lean proteins are low in saturated fat, so they're healthier than red meat or pork products, which are higher in saturated fat. Examples of lean proteins include eggs, poultry such as chicken breast or turkey breast, and fish like salmon and tuna steaks cooked without oil or butter on top. Also, kidney beans and chickpeas provide plenty of protein without adding too many calories to the mix.

4. Limit Sodium and Sugar Intake

You might be surprised to hear that you should limit your sugar intake while pregnant. But limiting sugar is one of the best things you can do for your baby's health. Sugar is not good for your teeth and can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

When you eat sugars or carbohydrates like bread, they are broken down into glucose, a sugar in the bloodstream. The pancreas releases insulin to help process this glucose into energy. However, if too much sugar enters the bloodstream at one time, it can overwhelm the body's ability to use it all at once, so some get stored as fat instead.

This process is called insulin resistance. The cells lose their sensitivity to insulin because so much has been released in response to eating too much food over time. It means that even though there may be plenty of glucose left in circulation from that cookie or candy bar just eaten half an hour ago, those extra carbs will go straight toward making additional fat rather than being used up by muscles for fuel.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine are both off-limits for pregnant women. A little bit of alcohol is fine in the first three months of pregnancy, but after that, you should avoid it completely.

According to Statista, in 2022, the UK market for alcoholic beverages will bring in USD 57.74 billion. Furthermore, 15.97% yearly growth in the market is anticipated (CAGR 2022-2025). These stats suggest the revenue is pretty high. Thus, alcohol consumption is also higher. If you're having trouble with alcohol cravings, try switching to non-alcoholic beer or wine.

As for caffeine, limit yourself to a cup or two per day after that point. When it comes to avoiding caffeine during pregnancy, this one is easier said than done. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, and soda leading many women to wonder how they'll survive without their daily fix.

Luckily there are plenty of options available if you're looking for an alternative way forward:

  • Black tea contains half as much caffeine as green or oolong teas.
  • Decaf cappuccinos tend to taste better than regular ones.
  • Herbal teas usually contain less caffeine than their caffeinated counterparts.
  • Sparkling waters like Perrier have no calories whatsoever while still giving off that bubbly feeling we all crave sometimes.

6. Eat the Right Fats

When you're pregnant, it's easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding healthy eating. But don't forget that fats are an essential part of a healthy diet and are needed for brain development and function. You can find healthy fats in meat and dairy products.

Limit your consumption of saturated fats by choosing lean meats without skin or visible fat, for example, chicken breast over chicken wings or ground beef over steak. Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, peanut butter, and avocado can provide energy while improving heart health. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are good sources of polyunsaturated fat and can be found in salmon, tuna, and other fish that aren't fried or breaded with batter before cooking.

7. Drink Plenty of Fluids

It's easy to get dehydrated when pregnant, especially in hot weather. Drinking plenty of fluid will keep you hydrated and help prevent bloating, constipation, headaches, and leg cramps. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 8 cups, about 2 liters per day. It includes water, milk, and juice. You can also drink coffee or tea in moderation, no more than 1-2 cups.

You can avoid alcohol during pregnancy because it passes through the placenta into the fetus' bloodstream, where it can cause abnormalities or damage to the child's developing brain or organs. Good news: Caffeine doesn't appear to harm your baby when consumed in moderation.

However, we advise avoiding all sources if you're sensitive to caffeine. They may trigger side effects such as heart palpitations that could endanger both mother and child.

You Must Eat a Healthy Diet to Have a Healthy Pregnancy

As per Food Foundation, if things continue as they are, more than 80% of children born in 2022 in Britain who live to reach 65 years old will be overweight or obese. Thus, you must eat a healthy diet that correlates to a healthy pregnancy. 

Eating well during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. In addition, a healthy diet can help you feel more energetic and do more when it is time to exercise or play with your child.

It also helps reduce the risk of birth-related issues, such as heart problems or neural defects. In addition, eating well can reduce the risk of some complications during labor and delivery. Lastly, eating well helps prevent excessive weight gain after giving birth.