Healthy eating for mums-to-be...
Being pregnant is in no sense an illness, but it does represent a biological and anatomical change that makes fresh nutritional demands on the mother-to-be. In short, it’s not the moment to go on a diet! And still less, a time to be eating and drinking just anything.
To begin with, alcohol is off the menu! The role of alcohol - even in very low quantities - in the occurrence of foetal alcohol syndrome has now been largely proven. This condition affects more than 3 children in 1,000 in France every year. Avoid drinking too much coffee too - no more than 2 cups a day.
During pregnancy it’s essential to eat a “varied, balanced and adequate” diet:
• Meat, fish and eggs provide protein and iron. They should be eaten daily;
• Dairy products provide calcium and protein. But they are also lipids (fats). Eat them regularly but in sensible amounts and opt for low-fat or skimmed products;
• The slow-release sugars found in starches are the foetus’s main “fuel”. Eat these at least once a day;
• Fruit and vegetables provide fast-release sugar, vitamins and minerals and the fibre they contain aids intestinal transit. As always, you are advised to eat five portions a day;
• Fats are also essential, both to the unborn child - for brain formation - and to the mother. But remember, in moderation only - fats should not account for more than 30% of calorie intake.
A well-balanced, varied diet should (theoretically) provide you with everything you need. But keep an eye on your iodine, iron, folic acid (vitamin B9), calcium and vitamin D intake. If in doubt, check with your doctor.
Your doctor will also advise you to avoid eating shellfish, smoked fish, surimi, taramosalata, rillettes, pâté, foie gras, unpasteurised milk, and cheeses made from unpasteurised milk. All these precautions are aimed at reducing the risk of infection with Listeria. And to avoid toxoplasmosis, you should not eat any raw meat and, if you have a cat, get someone else to change its litter tray. Don’t forget to wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly... and to disinfect your refrigerator and work surfaces regularly with a 1 in 10 dilution of bleach.
Source: Impact Médecine, N°206, 21 June 2007