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Pregnancy is a remarkable milestone in a woman’s life. It feels surreal to host a budding life in your womb and before you know it, you have fostered an intimate relationship with the growing fetus inside you.
However, the nutritional needs during pregnancy are different compared to pre-pregnancy and not many mothers are aware of this, which leads them to make some common mistakes with their prenatal diet. What are the mistakes, you might ask? Well, we have got you covered! Below is the list of mistakes to help you avoid them!
1. Not Establishing a Proper Diet
Perhaps the biggest culprit of them all, mums tend to neglect a properly balanced diet in preferences for certain nutrient-heavy meals. Some mums have an emphasis on proteins or carbs in their diet to compensate for the energy loss.
While a focused meal plan would do wonders, neglecting other nutrients would do just as much harm as overconsuming on one. Thus, you need to have a variety in your meal plans.
Have a balanced meal plan that consists of foods that are rich in carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamin C, antioxidants and iron. Not only these wide varieties of food ensure sufficient nutrients in your prenatal diet, but they keep your meals delicious and interesting too!
2. Neglecting Fruits and Veggies in Your Diet
You are what you eat! These wise words hold true to this age because ultimately, the meals you consume would determine how your body functions in the long run. Therefore, neglecting vegetables and fruits in your diet is not a wise decision.
There are actually a lot of ways to boost the intake of veggies and fruits in your diet. For instance, you can always try to add fruits in your cereal in the morning or complete your meals with a fruit at the end as a healthy dessert with minimal preparation.
Besides that, do you know that a simple vegetable salad can contain two to three servings of vegetables in one go? So even if you have not even had any vegetables for the whole day, a big hearty bowl of salad (do make sure to wash your vegetables thoroughly) at night would do the trick! Plus, they are generally low in calories too, so long you choose healthier salad dressings like lemon dressing, balsamic dressing or vinaigrette instead of creamy dressings!
So instead of getting fast food or a main course, you can opt for this simple yet healthy alternative instead! Furthermore, being pregnant would require you to consume food rich in fibre, potassium, vitamin A and C, folic acid, and various other nutrients to prepare the body before delivery. Lucky for you, fruits and veggies contain all of these nutrients in abundance! A great way to establish a healthy diet meal for breastfeeding mom indeed!
During pregnancy, some mothers tend to overeat on the basis of “eating for two”. Hence, instead of adding only 300 to 400 calories to their meals only during the 2nd to 3rd trimester recommended by experts, they literally doubled up on their calorie intakes. 300 to 400 is only equivalent to one to two additional healthy snacks in a day such as a cup of yoghurt with a serving of fruit, an egg sandwich, a bun or a steamed ‘pao’.
While it is tempting to consume more of those sweet delicacies and indulge yourself after a long tiring day, overeating is simply not the way to go. Plus, it is wise to keep tabs on your calorie intakes during pregnancy since overeating would increase your risk of being obese and decrease your chance of weight loss after birth. Hence, making you more prone to Type 2 Diabetes.
4. Taking Too Many Health Supplements
Sometimes, too much of a good thing can be harmful. While health supplements can be very beneficial in promoting health, consuming them excessively over a long period of time could be detrimental to your health.
While we do understand the need to be properly nourished and stay healthy, we would recommend taking health supplements only when you need it or as prescribed by your doctor. After all, the prescriptions are there for a reason. They are meant to guide you on a proper intake, not be dependent on it. This is essential in promoting a safer pregnancy and delivery.
5. Not Cutting Down on Sugar Intake
Carbohydrates are one of the most important nutrients for mothers in pregnancy. They are essential in providing the energy for your body to function and last through the whole day. However, carbohydrates is not exactly an ideal weight loss diet for breastfeeding moms.
Foods high in simple sugar should be limited! Studies have shown that if mothers frequently take sweet foods or even sugar-free drinks with non-nutritive sweeteners, their offspring tend to grow up with a higher preference for sweet drinks and food too!
Sweet foods and drinks tend to be higher in calories and thus leads to excess calories and increases your risk of obesity and subsequently type 2 diabetes in both mother and child when in adulthood. Limiting such indulgence to a sweet dessert or drink to only once every week or two is healthier and better for mummy and baby. Therefore, it is important to monitor your sugar intake.
Some mothers tend to neglect the need to curb their sugar intakes because they feel that excess glucose is necessary for their daily routine. These mothers tend to overindulge on their sweet cravings and delicacies too! This would not bode well for the long run as it would increase your risk of contracting gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy). Thus, making you more prone to being a Type 2 Diabetic.
6. Not Prioritising Good Hygiene with Their Food
Your food hygiene is a very important factor to count in especially when you are pregnant. Your newborn would benefit from gaining nutrients obtained from clean and well-prepared foods.
When eating out, be sure to have meals at a hygienic food outlet and have a fully cooked meal. This is important because consuming raw meats or fishes during pregnancy would expose you to high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), which is extremely unhealthy for both mother and child. PCB is harmful to your baby as it would significantly harm your baby’s immune system.
Do avoid deli meats, smoked seafood, pre-prepared salads, pre-cut fruits and unpasteurized fruit juice sold at the supermarket, shops or hawker centres. Food poisoning from Listeria, toxoplasma gondii that may be contained in some of these foods can be passed to the fetus or newborn and cause miscarriage or stillbirth. Speaking of hygiene, you might find MumChecked a great outlet for your hygienic and baby-related products!
In conclusion, practising a proper pregnancy diet would be beneficial for you as it ensures a healthier pregnancy and smoother delivery. Thus, having a better understanding of the do’s and don’ts would be your first step to achieve it!