Pregnancy Diet

The pregnancy diet was created in order to help women eat healthy while pregnant and thus further ensure that they will give birth to a healthy baby. It calls for some of the traditional diet "do's" such as staying away from junk food, alcohol, and caffeine, and some "don'ts” such as staying away from excessive dietary fat, limiting intake to about 20%.

Foods rich in vitamins and nutrients - essential for pregnant women

Pregnant women generally require higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals in their blood for the health of the baby. These include iron (for the blood), calcium (for bones), and folic acid supplementation during the early weeks of pregnancy to protect against certain birth defects of the spine and brain. The American Dietetic Association recommends increasing the servings of fruits and vegetables eaten each day to seven in order to account for the increased demand for vitamins and minerals imposed by pregnancy.

For further information on the importance of taking supplements before and during pregnancy see the following article from TheDietChannel: Prenatal Vitamins: Why Pregnant Women Should Take Them.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

There are also certain foods that should be avoided. Fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish (also called golden or white snapper) should be avoided because they can have high levels of mercury, which in high doses can be dangerous to a baby's developing nervous system. For the same reason, pregnant women should limit themselves to no more than 6 ounces of "albacore" or "white" tuna per week. MSG is an additive that pregnant women should avoid, as it can cause headaches and an upset stomach. Caffeine should be limited as it can cause irritability, nervousness, and insomnia.

For more information on mercury and buying fish see the following article from TheDietChannel: Fish Safety & Buying Guide.

The Pregancy Diet is not just for pregnant women - it is a healthy way of eating for everyone

Overall, this is a healthy and sensible way of eating. Eat a nutritious diet that is moderate in fat content. Eat nutrient-dense food from a variety of sources in sensible quantity. Include lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of lean protein, avoid junk food, and get exercise. While this is designed specifically for pregnant women, you can see that this plan would generally work for anyone who wanted to be healthier or drop some weight. It's a healthy alternative that avoids harmful additives and promotes well-being.