Foods Pregnant Women Should Eat & Avoid, According To New Guidelines From Experts

Women should be careful when it comes to their diets during pregnancy. Their food and fluid intakes play a huge part in both moms-to-be and the developing babies in their wombs. It's important for them to follow a healthy, balanced diet and avoid harmful foods that are high in fat and sugar content.

Sian Porter, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said pregnant women should consume adequate amounts of vitamin D and folic acid during the first 12 weeks of their conception. While it's true that these nutrients can be acquired from multivitamin supplements, it's more advisable to get them naturally from food, The Telegraph reports.

Pregnant women are advised to avoid eating foods with a high risk of poisoning and infection such as rare or undercooked meat, unpasteurized cheeses, unwashed salad or vegetables, and raw fish and shellfish. Dr. Patrick O'Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said pregnant women should ensure that the food they eat is cooked and washed well.

Raw fish such as sushi should be entirely avoided by pregnant women because they may contain small parasitic worms that can cause infection. Nonetheless, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel is good in pregnancy, as long as they aren't eaten raw. Women who eat salmon while pregnant reduce their babies' asthma risk as they grow old, according to a study from the University of Southampton in England.

Pregnant women should avoid some species of fish that have high mercury content such as tuna, mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, and tilefish, according to NRDC. Smaller fish like anchovies, sardines, and scallops contain the least mercury.

Pregnant women are often told that they should only eat thoroughly cooked eggs to avoid contracting salmonella. A new guideline from the Food Standards Agency, however, said that eggs in Britain with a "Red Lion" stamp in it carry no bacteria and are safe to eat even if it's runny or raw. In the United States, the Safest Choice's Pasteurized Eggs can be eaten raw or runny without any worries of salmonella infection.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is still a huge no-no, according to experts. Consuming alcohol specifically in the first 12 weeks of conception increases the risks of miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight, The Telegraph reports.

For a healthy pregnancy, women are advised to exercise regularly and to achieve a normal weight gain of around 12 kg, which should majorly come from the developing baby. Gaining excess weight during pregnancy can lead to a C-section birth, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.

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