Pregnant women need to take in extra vitamins and nutrients during their pregnancy. These nutrients support both the health of the mother and that of her unborn child.

Nutritionistsrecommend that pregnant women should eat more nutritious foods and supplement their diets. That way their diet is well rounded and wholesome. However there are some food that expecting mothers should avoid. Below are some top foods pregnant women should eat and as well as those that they should avoid.

Top Foods to Eat

According to nutritionists and the American Pregnancy Center, pregnant women should eat foods rich in minerals such as calcium and phosphorous to promote fetal development. Here are five foods that provide these benefits.

Lean Meats

Eating beef, pork, chicken and lean protein sources like eggs is a top choice. These are some of the best ways for pregnant women to get the recommended amount of protein, fats, iron and the vitamin choline. Protein promotes blood development, iron adds to the woman’s blood volume and choline aids the fetus in brain development.

Leafy Greens

Green vegetables such as kale and spinach, as well as fruits are very important for pregnant women during the 4 to 9-month period. These strengthen the mother’s immunity with their natural vitamins. The fiber is also beneficial. Then antioxidants in the veggies promote proper development of the fetus.

Whole Grains

Oatmeal, bran, and other whole grains provide fiber in a pregnant woman’s diet. They also supply her with enough energy, in addition to iron and B-vitamins. Iron helps increase blood volume and the vitamins strengthen immunity.

Dairy

A pregnant woman should eat about 3 to 4 servings of dairy like milk, cheeses, and yogurt. These are high in calcium. The casein and whey (proteins), as well as the calcium in dairy, promote the proper growth of the fetus.

Probiotic yogurt, which comes in lactose-intolerant varieties is also a good choice. Then, the zinc, magnesium and phosphorous in other kinds of dairy help the mother’s body to process nutrients efficiently. Lactose-intolerant women should find a nutritionist before taking any dairy though.

Legumes

Beans and nuts are rich in lean protein which helps in the fetal body-building process. Additionally, the folate in these plant-based proteins regulate the weight of the fetus and prevent birth defects.

Top Foods To Avoid

Caffeine

Excess caffeine is bad for people who are not pregnant, but it is even worse for women who are. Taking about 12 ounces of caffeine a day is okay according to nutritionists, but more that can mean the baby will become underweight so if you do decide to drink caffeine, strict moderation is absolutely crucial.

Raw Eggs

Eating cooked eggs is good, even recommended, for pregnant women. However, raw eggs have bacteria in them. This can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and so should be avoided.

Unpasteurized Juice or Milk

These products could have bacteria in them too. This can be detrimental to both the mother and child. So it is best to avoid these products.

Fish With Mercury

Fish varieties like white tuna, sharks, swordfish, and tilefish have high mercury levels. Pregnant women should avoid such fish varieties because the mercury could affect the nervous systems of their unborn children.

This article is only intended as a rough guide. It is recommended that if you have specific questions about your diet while expecting or if you are experiencing any digestive discomfort, that you consult your GP or a qualified nutritionist for peace of mind. However, if you follow our guide, it should set you on the right general course.

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