Pregnancy diet: what can you eat pregnant?

Pregnancy diet: what can you eat pregnant?

What foods should be preferred and which should be avoided for the good of the baby? How much weight should you gain? Tips for eating well for nine months.

What can you actually eat during pregnancy? How much? Between prohibited and authorized foods, difficult to navigate. Recall that the weight gain recommended during pregnancy is between 11 and 16 kilos. An update on the ideal diet for a pregnant woman and the mistakes not to make.

The National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) offers food guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women, in an expert opinion on nutrition published on June 25, 2019. “In its opinion, ANSES highlights groups of foods with specific benefits for the health of mothers and children during pregnancy or breastfeeding: dairy products, fruits and vegetables and fish. these foods also cover the need for certain nutrients essential for these populations such as iron, iodine, vitamin B9, i.e. folic acid, and, only for lactating women, vitamins A and C “, specifies the report.

Specific food benchmarks:

  • Vegetables and legumes are rich in vitamin B9
  • Certain meats, fish and seafood are rich in iron
  • Oily fish, egg yolk and dairy products are sources of iodine.

For breastfeeding women:

  • Vegetables and fruits are sources of beta carotene and vitamin C;
  • Egg yolk, cheeses, butter and crème fraîche are sources of vitamin A.
Fish and a snack. A study confirms the benefits of fatty acids provided by oily fish to reduce the risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight. ANSES also recalls that snack (fruit and dairy product such as yogurt or cottage cheese) can help improve the coverage of needs during pregnancy.

Contrary to popular belief, eating out for two for nine months out of the question ! The nutritional needs increase little during pregnancy, no need to force yourself to eat more, just listen to your body. On the other hand, if you eat naturally little or that you are never hungry since you are pregnant, speak to your doctor who will advise you so as not to endanger the growth of the fetus. However, you will have to eat twice as well to ensure good development for the unborn child. So it’s about having a balanced and varied diet. No way to skip a meal (including breakfast which is essential): 3 real meals a day, with 1 or 2 more snacks, if necessary.

A balanced diet, but no “diet”

It is essential to monitor and diversify your diet, not to restrict your diet andavoid deprivation in order to avoid any risk of deficiencies for the fetus and the future mother. A balanced and healthy diet is recommended. On the other hand, you should not double the caloric intake and consume more certain nutrients necessary for the growth and development of the fetus. Finally, a woman with problems of overweight or obesity, excessive thinness or diabetes must take the advice of a nutritionist and should never start dieting without medical advice.

Think before you crack. Pregnancy can be a period when there are many desires. Don’t crack … always! Think and think about the interest of this much envied dish: is it good for my health? Do I want it whole or a single bite will suffice? You understood, the idea is to snack smart! However, do not hesitate to treat yourself as long as you avoid excess.

To start a pregnancy well, the body must not suffer from any deficiency in vitamins or minerals. Because pregnancy raises your needs and therefore risks quickly depleting stocks if your diet is not suitable.

Folic acid, essential during pregnancy

The most important vitamin both during pregnancy, but even before conception, is folic acid (vitamin B9). It is essential for the proper development of the embryo. Unfortunately, diet does not always cover the woman’s needs. Supplementation is therefore recommended, preferably several months before conception. From foods high in folic acid and therefore to be preferred: brewer’s yeast, green leafy vegetables (spinach, watercress, lamb’s lettuce, salad …), asparagus, cabbage, peas, radishes, beets, corn, onion, eggs, chickpeas, certain fruits (mango, bananas, red fruits, kiwis, dates and figs, melon, lychees), but also nuts and hazelnuts.

Vitamin B9 deficiency may cause abnormal placental development, delayed fetal growth and neurological abnormalities as well as an increased risk of prematurity. Vitamin B9 treatment is advised before conception, as soon as contraception is stopped and continues until the end of the second month of pregnancy.

Vitamin D, very useful during pregnancy!

It is used to fix calcium on the bones and also plays an important role in the mineralization of the child’s skeleton. It is mainly produced by the body through the action of the sun on the skin. They are also found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, eggs, liver, and dairy products, etc. Fresh, frozen or canned, everything is good to take and you should consume at least 2 times per week for sufficient intake. Note: use steam to cook your food, folates are very sensitive to cooking. Finally, a single dose of an ampoule of vitamin D is recommended at the start of the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy, the period during which the baby grows the most and makes his bones. Pregnant women generally lack vitamin D especially late pregnancy and in the winter season. Vitamin D is prescribed only by the doctor and the midwife.

Fruits and vegetables

They are an incredible source of vitamins and minerals. However, they can also carry bacteria. They are therefore to be eaten cooked preferably (to kill any pathogens). However, fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw if they are thoroughly cleaned with water, then peeled before tasting.

The iron

Sufficient iron intake is essential, especially at the end of pregnancyto avoid the risk of lowering red blood cells causing anemia, a situation which could increase risks of prematurity and low weight of the baby. Regularly consuming foods that contain iron should generally suffice: eggs, fish and meat and pulses, lentils, white beans, chickpeas, oilseeds, spinach … Eat fish at least twice a year. week in different forms and including canned. You can also eat fish such as sardines, tuna, mackerel … As well as citrus fruits (oranges, lemon, grapefruit, etc.) containing vitamin C, which allows better absorption of iron. As to broccoli, it is one of the foods that provide the most vitamin C. Iron therapy may be prescribed if the iron intake is insufficient. The doctor or midwife may prescribe an iron supplement if anemia is found. Avoid iron in the form of medicine, food supplements or fortified foods. This contribution can be particularly harmful in case of high blood pressure, diabetes or if smoking has not been interrupted.

Iodized foods

Iodine is essential for the functioning of the thyroid gland and the proper development of the baby’s brain. Iodine is found in shellfish, sea fish, milk and dairy products, eggs and iodized salt. The doctor must sometimes prescribe medication in the event of iodine deficiency.

Carbohydrates and proteins

The carbohydrates make up the bulk of the fetus’ diet. Consume slow sugars like starchy foods, cereals and bread for example, while favoring wholemeal bread which contains more fiber. As for proteins, they are found in meats, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Raw meat and fish, avoid pregnant

Unfortunately for you, you will have to deprive yourself of a certain number of foods for several months. Everything that is raw meat or fish should be avoided during pregnancy: tartares, sushi, sashimi, tarama … But also smoked salmon, raw shellfish, foie gras, raw hams, cold meats, rillettes, pâtés and jelly products … to avoid the risk of toxoplasmosis and listeriosis. Also avoid the liver and liver products as the doses of vitamin A are very high which can be harmful to the fetus. Note: meats and fish can be eaten during pregnancy provided that they are well cooked to the heart (we therefore avoid “blue” or “rare” cooking for meats and tartares).


Same thing for cheeses made with raw milk : avoid them because of the risk of listeriosis. We therefore forget industrial grated cheeses, soft cheeses, flowery rinds (such as camembert, brie, etc.) or washed rinds (munster, pont-évêque), especially if they are made from raw milk. On the other hand, cheeses remain important during pregnancy because they contain calcium. You will therefore have to choose cooked cheeses.

Eggs must be well cooked

No more boiled, calf or fried eggs … to avoid the risk of salmonellosis. The same goes for preparations based on raw eggs (mayonnaise, chocolate mousse, etc.).

Tea and coffee in moderation

It’s not just the solid concerned: certain drinks too should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy. Coffee and tea can be drunk daily, but without excess: 1 to 2 cups maximum per day due to their caffeine level (and the theine equivalent in tea). But beware, also count cola soda in your caffeine intake! Note: if you like coffee to the point where you can’t restrict yourself, you can turn to decaffeinated. For tea, know that the first minute of infusion is the one that diffuses the most theine. You can therefore remove the sachet and immerse it in a new cup of water: the tea will be less concentrated in theine. Otherwise, determined tea exists and can also delight you.

The soy and soy products should be avoided

These products contain phyto estrogen which can affect babies. As a precaution, it is advisable to limit the consumption of these foods to one per day at most and to completely exclude the food supplements which contain them.

Finally, avoid overly spicy dishes, seasoned or too high in fat and moderate the consumption of sugary products, cookies, pastries, sweets, chocolate… Also avoid the consumption of peanuts in families ofallergic because peanuts can cause food allergy in the baby.

Alcohol and tobacco should be avoided to have a healthier baby possible. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor for advice on how to stop without risking being short: solutions exist. Finally, no question of swallowing food supplements without medical advice: a balanced diet naturally fills the deficiencies. Do not decide to follow a particular diet, to have a boy or a girl for example, it is ineffective and it can lead to deficiencies. During pregnancy, do not take any risks and ask your doctor.

During your pregnancy, you want to feel the best, but above all to give the best to your baby. Some future mothers are therefore tempted to take food supplements. Wrong … Certainly, it is possible to find in specialized shops food products enriched specifically and intended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Know that they have no special interest and that a varied and balanced diet is enough to provide everything you and your child need.

Food supplements : whether they come in the form of capsules, powder, tablets or other, in supermarkets or in pharmacies, dietary supplements should not be consumed without medical advice, that is, if and only if your doctor prescribed it for you. The same precautionary principle must be applied with drug supplements intended to make up for a possible lack of nutrients (vitamin D, folate, etc.). It is your obstetrician or midwife who decides whether or not to get them, depending on your state of health.

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