What Should You Actually Eat While Pregnant?

By Jane Sandwood, freelance writer

Is There An Ideal Diet Plan For Pregnant Women?

When you’re pregnant, everyone has an opinion on what you should be eating. It’s no wonder then that 42% of expectant moms report that figuring out what is safe to eat during pregnancy is stressful. More worryingly, a massive 80% admit to eating ‘risky’ foods, such as undercooked eggs, meat, and fish, many believing that “a little can’t hurt” or being unaware that they shouldn’t have been eating them. Trying to have the ideal diet during pregnancy is a fight between cravings, trying to eat a balanced diet, conflicting information, and simply feeling too nauseous to even care. Knowing what to avoid and cut down on can help, as well as doing gentle exercises for a smooth and healthy pregnancy.

Losing weight during pregnancy

Ideally, doctors think a woman should lose any excess weight before trying to conceive and get herself into the best health possible, but losing weight can be a difficult battle and many pregnancies are unplanned. Being overweight when pregnant, particularly for people who fall into the obese category, increases the chance of miscarriage, stillbirth, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia, plus they’re more likely to need a C-section and have problems healing from it. A lazy keto diet is a good option for pregnancy as it provides all the nutrients needed and isn’t too limiting, so women can see to some of those pregnancy cravings while helping to quickly drop some pounds by eating low-carb.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

The idea of what a healthy diet looks like will vary from one woman to another based on their upbringing, location, and countless other factors, but there are some foods and essential nutrients that every woman should limit, if not completely avoid during pregnancy. High mercury fish is an example of this, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tuna. Pregnant women should eat no more than 1-2 portions of it a month but ideally, avoid it altogether. Raw fish should also be avoided, along with raw or undercooked meat and eggs due to the increased risk of infection they pose. Unwashed produce, unpasteurized dairy and fruit juices, and alcohol should all be avoided too, and caffeine should be consumed in moderation, if at all.

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Safe exercises for mother and baby

Exercising can help to improve posture, backaches, and fatigue, which are common problems during pregnancy. It can also help to prevent gestational diabetes, relieve stress, and build stamina that will be needed for labor and delivery. Most exercises are safe to do during pregnancy, but it’s important not to overdo it. Exercises that are generally considered the safest are swimming, walking, stationary cycling, low-impact aerobics, and using elliptical and step machines. Racquet sports are usually safe, but women should be aware that pregnancy can alter their balance, affecting rapid movements. Use common sense when deciding which exercises to avoid, but things like contact sports, trampolining, skiing and horseback riding are generally thought to be unsafe.

Combining exercise with a healthy, balanced diet is ideal for pregnancy, but this diet will vary from person to person. As long as women get all the nutrients they need and lose weight if necessary, they’re setting themselves up for a healthy pregnancy, labor, and birth.

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