Posted by: tanya | 2007/03/27

what can i eat during my pregnacy

Am i alowed to eat prawns and what other fish can't i eat

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Posted by: From a mom | 2007/03/27

There are lots of half-truths about what you can and can't eat during pregnancy. Whether you fancy eating coal or choc-ice and chips, try not to let worries about eating safely spoil your pregnancy.

Some of the potential hazards outlined here only rarely lead to anything that could affect your baby.

Nevertheless, eating well can help you stay fit and in good condition for the birth, and maintain your energy levels. If you're the sort of person who only feels comfortable when following the 'rules', you can find them here.

Eat regularly, depending on your hunger, and choose from a range of foods to ensure you get all the necessary nutrients.

Your daily diet should include:
Ffresh fruit and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and dark green vegetables, which contain folic acid carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, grains, potatoes and cereals
Lean meat or fish, especially oily fish which has high levels of essential fatty acids - however, be aware that some types of fish should be avoided and others limited.
Milk and other dairy produce such as yoghurt, fromage frais and cheese - choose lower fat options where possible
Eggs, beans, pulses and lentils are also part of a healthy diet, but you don't have to eat these every day.

Research indicates that mothers who eat fish once a week are less likely to give birth prematurely. Oily fish eaten in pregnancy also helps with children's eyesight. However, when you’re pregnant have no more than two portions of oily fish a week. Oily fish includes fresh tuna (not canned tuna, which does not count as oily fish), mackerel, sardines and trout.

Avoid eating shark, swordfish and marlin and limit the amount of tuna to no more than two tuna steaks a week (weighing about 140g cooked or 170g raw) or four medium-size cans of tuna a week (with a drained weight of about 140g per can). This is because of the levels of mercury in these fish. At high levels, mercury can harm a baby's developing nervous system.

Keep up fluid levels, with regular glasses of water or diluted fruit or vegetable juices through the day. This will help keep you well-hydrated, which can prevent tiredness and headaches, and helps bladder and kidney health by ensuring regular visits to the loo.

Can I follow a vegetarian or vegan diet during pregnancy?
If you eat a well balanced diet, all of the nutrients you need for good health during your pregnancy are available in foods other than meat. If, however, your diet isn't well balance you may need extra vitamins. For example, B12, that can be found in some manufactured goods, such as soya products, or in supplements. A vitamin D supplement may also be required. Make sure you get enough iron in your diet as well. We've included a list of iron-rich foods, below.

It's a good idea to discuss these issues with your doctor, midwife or a dietician.

Eating safely
Pregnancy can make you relatively 'immunosuppressed' which means minor infections can be more severe. To avoid such infections, follow these rules:

Cook meat thoroughly and wash all fruit and vegetables before eating, to avoid infection with toxoplasmosis, an organism that can affect your baby.
If you must change the cat litter tray or do any gardening, wear gloves as toxoplasmosis is also found in cat faeces. Keep cats away from food preparation areas.
Avoid mould-ripened soft cheeses such as brie or camembert, blue-veined cheeses such as stilton. All are associated with listeria, which can lead to premature birth and miscarriage. You should also avoid mould-ripened goats' and sheep's milk cheeses, such as chèvre, although hard cheese made from these, for example halloumi and feta, should be safe
Avoid pâté, for the same reason.
Make sure all ready-made foods are piping hot throughout before eating, as they are also a listeria risk.
Drink only pasteurised or UHT milk, which has had harmful germs destroyed.
Only eat eggs if they're hard-boiled or scrambled, to avoid salmonella infection.
Don't eat liver and liver products while pregnant, as they contain high levels of vitamin A, which can be harmful to your baby.
Avoid peanuts and peanut products when pregnant or breastfeeding if you, the baby’s father, or the baby’s brother or sister, have a history of allergic diseases or conditions such as eczema, asthma and hayfever.

Is caffeine harmful?
There's some research to show that high intakes of caffeine may be linked to miscarriage. The Food Standards Agency suggests pregnant women limit their intake of coffee to no more than four cups a day. Remember cola drinks also contain caffeine. Switch to non-caffeine alternatives where possible.

Drinking, smoking and other perils
The occasional glass of alcohol isn't considered harmful for your baby. Continuous, heavy drinking, however, can cause permanent brain and developmental damage in the foetus. If you think you have a drinking problem, see Support for you.

If you smoke, get help to give up. Smoking raises the carbon monoxide levels in your blood and reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your baby, affecting his growth and making him vulnerable to infection. It also puts him at higher risk of stillbirth or being born early. After the birth there's an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS or cot death). Your partner should stop smoking too, and you should avoid smoky atmospheres.

Street drugs, including cannabis and ecstasy, are risky during pregnancy as they reach the baby's bloodstream as well as yours. Heroin and cocaine can create serious dependency problems in babies. Ask your midwife or doctor for help if you need it.

Infectious diseases can be risky, too. Most women in the UK are vaccinated against rubella, so this is no longer a major issue, but you should avoid people with chickenpox, as it can cause developmental problems or stillbirth.

Your employer is legally obliged to move you if your health is at risk because you work with poisonous chemicals or risky procedures such as x-rays.

Folic acid
Folic acid, also called folate, is a B vitamin found in a number of foods. Folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in babies, when development of the spine or brain are incomplete. Such defects include spina bifida and anencephaly.

Because it is virtually impossible to get the recommended amount of folic acid from diet alone current advice is for all women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement until the 12th week of pregnancy. You can continue taking it after this date, but talk to your health professional about dosage.

Foods that contain folic acid include:

dark green vegetables
cereals, especially wholegrains - some breads and cereal products are fortified with folic acid (read the packet's nutritional label)
oranges, grapefruit, bananas
beans and pulses
milk and yoghurt
yeast or malt extracts (as drinks or spreads)

Folic acid supplements can be prescribed by your GP and are also widely available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets.

Most people get all the iron they need from a balanced and varied diet but when you're pregnant, you can become deficient in iron, so it's particularly important to include iron-rich foods in your diet. there's plenty to choose from, including:

meat (thoroughly cooked)
dark green vegetables such as broccoli, watercress, spinach and kale
nuts (although you may need to avoid peanuts). Almonds and brazil nuts are a good source
pulses such as chick-peas and lentil
wholegrains such as wholemeal bread, brown rice and breakfast cereals
dried fruit

Weight gain
Eating a healthy diet is the priority. We strongly advise you not to undertake weight-loss diets at this time without medical advice.There are no two ways about it - if you're pregnant, you'll gain weight. As a general rule, pregnant women gain between 22 and 28lb (10 and 13kg), but how much you put on is related to your pre-pregnancy weight, health and metabolism.

And most of all, remember to have fun and enjoy!

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