What diet to adopt during pregnancy?

What diet to adopt during pregnancy?


The diet of a pregnant woman must be varied and balanced because during pregnancy, eating a balanced diet contributes to the stimulation of your immune system and that of your child. What to eat and in what quantity when you are pregnant? Which foods should be favored and which should be avoided? The doctors on Livi answer you.

Why is it important to eat well during pregnancy?

Food during pregnancy not only strengthens the mother’s immune system as well as that of the child, to fight effectively against viruses and bacteria but also avoids deficiencies and provides the baby with everything it needs to develop properly.

A healthy diet also reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, reduces the discomfort of pregnancy, and keeps the mother’s weight gain under control.

What are the risks of a poor diet when pregnant?

The mother’s immune system during pregnancy can be weakened. It is therefore essential to put in place the right reflexes to protect oneself from different pathologies.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that appears for the first time during pregnancy. It is characterized by high blood sugar levels that can have an impact on the mother’s health (gravid hypertension and pre-eclampsia, placental abruption, increased risk of cesarean section, or recurrent diabetes during future pregnancies or even persisting after delivery) as well as on the health of the child: excessive birth weight (fetal macrosomia), premature delivery, fetal growth retardation, hypoglycemia, risk of developing type 2 diabetes or childhood obesity later in life.

Preterm delivery

Doctors consider a birth to be premature when it occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy, and premature delivery can have significant consequences for the infant. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in red meat would help women to carry their pregnancy to term and in good conditions.

What foods to eat during pregnancy?

Eating healthily while enjoying yourself is not impossible, even if you are pregnant. Here are the recommended intakes during pregnancy and the foods to choose from in order to have a balanced diet:

  • meat, fish, eggs, and milk, to fill up on proteins;
  • oils, seeds and fatty fish provide lipids;
  • fresh fruits and vegetables for their high vitamin content;
  • legumes, oleaginous fruits, and dark chocolate for their mineral content

Good to know: there are no forbidden fruits during pregnancy! You can therefore eat them every day. However, keep in mind that the fructose content of certain fruits can quickly fill your daily sugar intake. Finally, even if you are not pregnant but are planning a pregnancy, your doctor will prescribe folic acid (vitamin B9) even before conception. Folic acid, also known as folate, is essential for your baby’s growth and plays an important role in the proper development of the embryo’s nervous system during the first few weeks. Folic acid can be found in fresh, canned, or frozen fruits and vegetables (spinach, watercress, lamb’s lettuce, melon, walnuts, chickpeas, chestnuts, dandelion, yeast), but these intakes are insufficient for the proper development of the child. If you are planning to have a baby, your doctor or midwife will prescribe a vitamin B9 supplement if possible before conception (at least 4 weeks before) and up to 12 weeks of amenorrhea.

What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?

Even if you love them, some foods are forbidden during your pregnancy because of the risks they represent for your baby’s health.

Preventing listeriosis

Listeriosis is a disease caused by the Listeria bacteria and is often transmitted through food. To prevent listeriosis, it is important to avoid the following foods during pregnancy raw (unpasteurized) milk, raw milk cheeses (unpasteurized) as well as those with a raw milk rind, and all blue-veined cheeses; industrial grated cheese, cut cheeses, cheese rinds; jellied and cut deli meats, foie gras, rillettes or pâté, but also deli meats and raw or smoked meats; raw shellfish, raw or smoked fish (sushi, sashimi… ), fish eggs (tarama, surimi, Raw sprouted seeds (soybeans).

Also, be careful: this bacteria resists freezing, so raw food even frozen is not recommended.

It is also necessary to wash vegetables and herbs carefully, cook animal foods thoroughly, and boil ready-to-eat products purchased from a caterer.

It is also important to keep raw and cooked foods separate, to consume leftovers and reheated dishes quickly, to clean and disinfect the work surface and refrigerator with white vinegar often, and to wash your hands as often as possible.

Prevent toxoplasmosis

This disease due to a parasite present in the ground can be found on plants or meat. Hygiene is therefore essential to prevent toxoplasmosis. A blood test taken at the beginning of the pregnancy can tell you whether or not you are immune to this disease.

If you are not, you should follow these tips:

– do not eat any raw meat (except frozen for at least 20 days at -20°), the cooking temperature must be higher than 65°C;

– Do not eat marinated, smoked, salted, or grilled meat;

– Avoid eating raw mussels, oysters, or any other mollusks;

– Wash raw vegetables, salad, herbs, and fruits thoroughly with clean water (it is not necessary to use vinegar water);

– when eating outside the home (in a restaurant or at a friend’s house), avoid eating raw vegetables and prefer well-cooked meat.

It is also necessary to wash your hands, kitchen utensils, and work surface before and after handling risky foods and to clean the refrigerator with white vinegar once a month. Good to know: the microwave oven does not destroy the parasite better than other cooking methods.

Finally, if you want to garden during your pregnancy, wear gloves when handling soil or garden tools, but also when changing the cat’s litter box; it is better to avoid contact with cats during this period.

Other foods to avoid

It is also best to avoid eating these foods during pregnancy.

– offal and liver, or liver-based products (pâtés…) ;

Soy: too much soy can harm your child’s development because it contains phytoestrogens (plant hormones) suspected of being endocrine disruptors. It is therefore recommended that you do not eat more than one soy-based food per day during pregnancy and breastfeeding;

– all raw or undercooked egg-based preparations (sauces, mayonnaise, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, etc.);

– products enriched with phytosterols and stanols, such as margarine;

– ultra-processed foods (rich in additives, preservatives, fats, and hidden sugars);

sweeteners (especially aspartame).

– certain fish with high levels of toxic substances (mercury, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, etc.) such as swordfish or shark;

– Certain beverages, such as coffee and tea, should be limited (no more than 300 g of caffeine per day);

Alcohol should be avoided throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Should I eat more during pregnancy?

It is normal and even necessary to gain weight when you are pregnant. However, it is not necessarily necessary to eat more: you can distribute your meals more evenly over the course of the day (5 snacks rather than 3 meals, for example), or allow yourself a healthy snack, which will allow you to calm your possible cravings until the evening meal.

The recommended weight gain depends on the woman’s pre-pregnancy weight, the presence of one or more children, and whether or not the pregnant woman has any medical conditions. Doctors recommend a weight gain of 9 to 12 kg on average during pregnancy because this would favor a pregnancy and delivery without complications as well as an easier return to the previous weight. However, weight gain can differ from one pregnancy to another and from one woman to another. Most of the weight gain is due to all the changes that take place in the woman’s body so that she can give birth to a child: the most important thing for the pregnant woman is not to monitor the weight gained over the weeks, but to have a balanced diet and to remain active within the limits of each woman’s possibilities. The doctor or midwife in charge of your pregnancy follow-up will suggest that you weigh yourself regularly in order to control your weight gain.

If you are overweight before the beginning of your pregnancy, medical follow-up is necessary because of a higher risk of gestational diabetes and/or hypertension. Also, it is strongly recommended not to practice self-medication and to ask for medical advice before taking any food supplement.

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