A healthy diet during pregnancy is essential for both the mother and the baby
Eating well should start even before you plan for a baby and this should be maintained throughout your pregnancy. Good nutrition safeguards your health during pregnancy and ensures that the foetus grows and develops well in the womb.
It is best to get nutrients from the food you eat. If you are concerned about your diet, speak to your doctor or dietitian who will be able to guide you on the types and portions of foods to eat and the areas you can work on. Do not take any form of supplement without consulting your doctor.
There are more than 30 different types of nutrients needed daily to sustain good health and promote foetal growth. These include both macronutrients (e.g. carbohydrate, protein and fat) and micronutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals), all of which have different functions for the body.
Foods can affect you and your baby's health more than you realise. Certain foods if not cooked or prepared properly can be associated with illnesses such as listeriosis.
For a safe pregnancy, it would be advisable to avoid the following food and beverages:
Once a woman becomes pregnant, she will receive a lot of well-meaning advice, particularly in the area of food.
If you are concerned about the best nutrition for the baby and yourself, talk to your doctor or dietitian.
Meanwhile, here are some common myths to take note of.
Myth: I am skinny, so I can eat whatever I like during pregnancy.
Fact: Do not adopt the “eating-for-two” approach. To ensure that baby gets optimal nourishment, focus on the quality of your diet. Cut back on fat, salt and sugar but increase your intake of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products
Myth: Eating bird's nest will give baby fair skin.
Fact: There is no clinical evidence to show that eating bird's nest can lighten skin pigmentation.
Myth: If I eat more tofu and soya bean products and avoid dark-coloured foods or beverages, I will have fair babies.
Fact: Skin colour is genetic. No food can change a child's genetic make-up. Avoiding certain foods or food groups may mean missing out on necessary nutrients that these foods provide.
Myth: Eating papaya, pineapple and “cooling foods” such as grass jelly and green bananas may lead to miscarriages.
Fact: There is no documented case of miscarriage from eating these fruits and food. Miscarriages could be due to abnormally formed foetuses, or infections, or certain medical conditions. Eat a healthy and well balanced meal with foods from all four food groups. Fruits are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Eating a variety of coloured fruit is encouraged. If you are worried, eat other fruits to make up the required two servings per day.
Myth: Eating herbs and tonics will make my baby more intelligent.
Fact: There is no evidence to show that consuming herbs and tonics during pregnancy will help the baby become more intelligent.
Myth: Full-cream milk is more nutritious.
Fact: Low-fat and skim milk products have all the valuable nutrients that full-cream milk has, but come with less fat, especially saturated fat. Low-fat milk or dairy product is the preferred choice for expectant and breastfeeding mothers as it is lower in calories too.
Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides for a healthy pregnancy.
This article was last reviewed on
15 Sep 2023
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