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Safe eating habit for pregnant women

Proper nutrition and eating healthy during pregnancy cannot be compromised for the growth and development of the foetus, as well as for the health of…

Proper nutrition and eating healthy during pregnancy cannot be compromised for the growth and development of the foetus, as well as for the health of the expectant mother, health experts say.

When you are planning meals, include a variety of different nutrients for a balanced diet. Avoid empty calories or unhealthy foods to give your baby a good start and avoid excessive weight gain.This is because under or overeating are both harmful. What one needs is a well balanced diet which caters to the body demands of a pregnant woman.

Mrs. Serah Abagai, Head, Dietetics at the National Hospital, Abuka said “high fiber, nutrient dense foods are must. Ensure that the body gets all the important nutrients through a well balanced diet. Folic acid, B vitamins and minerals such as calcium are must. The body needs extra calories and proteins for healthy development of the baby. However, need for calories do not give free license to indulge in junk and unhealthy food as calories can be provided by the healthy eating mode too.”

Health experts say a healthy diet for a pregnant woman which has proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are vital. Also, they say the importance of water to keep one’s body hydrated through adequate intake of water is a necessity. All the above mentioned nutrients are required by the pregnant women for energy production, cell growth, blood production, and for building up of strong bones and teeth of the child.

A Vitamin-mineral supplement may be good insurance that a pregnant woman will be able to meet her nutritional needs. Strict vegetarians and women with medical conditions such as diabetes, or anaemia, as well as those with a history of low birth weight babies, should talk with their doctors about supplements they might need.

However, there are thinks to avoid as well. Dietiticains advice pregnant women to steer clear of raw seafood, unpasteurized milk or raw or undercooked meat and poultry. The reason for this is that they are all possible sources of bacteria which may affect the baby. Remember that your baby ‘eats’ what you eat.

Try replacing these nutritional losers with healthy choices such as skim milk, 100 per cent fruit juice, or water with a squeeze of lemon.

Intake of alcohol during pregnancy can cause physical defects, learning disabilities and emotional problems in children, so health experts warn that pregnant women should avoid it. You may also want to avoid or at least cut down on your intake of caffeine. Over-indulging in caffeine can possibly result in the birth of a low birth weight child, miscarriages and sudden infant death syndrome.

Other helpful tips given by health experts are that a pregnant woman avoids lying down right after meals. Avoid eating spicy and hot food products because they irritate the esophagus lining. Don’t over eat.  Chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly. Get plenty of rest and go to bed at the same time each night.

Slow down a little and take your time.  A busy, hectic lifestyle can often lead to fast breathing which, in turn, leads to hiccups. If your hiccups should continue beyond 24 hours, it is advisable to seek medical attention.  Sometimes chronic hiccupping indicates an underlying health problem.

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