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Foods that pregnant women MUST and MUST NOT eat
Assisted Reproduction Center

Foods that pregnant women SHOULD and SHOULD NOT eat

Pregnancy is the period during which a human being develops from a fertilized egg. Most products consumed by a woman are transported, in varying concentrations, in the blood to the fetus through the umbilical cord. That is why it is important to adapt the diet in a way that is as safe as possible for the child, and that is why many people wonder about the foods that a pregnant woman can and cannot eat.

Throughout the 40 weeks of pregnancy, the diet of the pregnant woman should be healthy and varied. Not all foods are healthy for the baby, and knowing what not to eat during pregnancy is extremely important for future babies.

We will explain in more detail the reasons why you should not consume certain foods, but here is a preview: it is liver, peanuts (they can contain aflatoxins that can harm the fetus), strong coffee and tea (they can cause heart problems in the fetus), grilled and smoked products (they tend to use a lot of salt, and they contain many harmful substances).

First of all, how do you know if you are pregnant?

Although some pregnancy symptoms can be found 7 days after conception that may suggest you are pregnant, confirmation usually comes when you no longer have your period and the pregnancy test is positive. However, pregnancy must be confirmed by an ultrasound. If this is your case, you must take into account the following recommendations.

What are the foods that a pregnant woman cannot eat?

A balanced diet is beneficial for all women, whether pregnant or not. A balanced diet is considered to consist mainly of fruits, vegetables, proteins, legumes, whole grains, and healthy dairy products. However, when you are pregnant, certain foods can be problematic, which is why we will start by telling you what not to eat during pregnancy. Not only because of the potential tolerance level of the baby, but also of the mother, because some foods, like certain fruits, increase nausea or stomach acidity, and it is therefore best not to consume them.

You will need to pay particular attention to your protein intake during pregnancy. Listeriosis, which is a serious infection, can have harmful consequences for the fetus. Therefore, you will need to be careful to maintain good hygiene in the kitchen, but you will also need to avoid certain foods that can be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Avoid consuming:

  • Cold cuts, pâté,
  • Raw milk cheese,
  • Raw fish and smoked fish,
  • Raw shellfish and crustaceans,
  • Raw meat,
  • Sprouts (peas, soy, wheat, etc.).

Some foods can also give you toxoplasmosis. If you are not immune to this disease, you should avoid eating:

  • Raw meat (prefer well-cooked pieces),
  • Fruits and vegetables that have not been properly cleaned (preferably cook them).

You should also avoid contact with cats and wash your hands thoroughly after spending time in the garden.

To avoid salmonellosis, it is best to cook your food. Cooking can indeed eradicate the bacteria, which will eliminate the risk of infection. So you can eat cooked eggs, whether in pastries or salads, but avoid soft-boiled or raw eggs, which could be contaminated. The same goes for meat, fruits, vegetables, and seeds.

Note that the consumption of alcohol and tobacco is also prohibited during pregnancy.

 

What are the foods that a pregnant woman can eat?

Consuming certain nutrients will be beneficial for pregnancy. This is the case with folates and folic acid, which are known as vitamin B9. In fact, folic acid supplementation may be recommended during the preconception period [1]. You can find vitamin B9 in:

  • Leafy vegetables (spinach, watercress, parsley, celery...),
  • Legumes,
  • Liver,
  • Brewer's yeast,
  • Wheat germ,
  • Chestnut,
  • Certain fruits (citrus, melon, mango, raspberries...).

An intake of calcium may also be considered. This mineral is essential for proper skeletal mineralization but also plays an important role in blood clotting [1]. Foods rich in calcium are:

  • Dairy products,
  • Nuts,
  • Legumes,
  • Yogurts.

Note that vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption, may also be recommended. It is found in fatty fish, salmon, tuna, mackerel... Iron, essential for the proper functioning of the body, will prevent anemia. It is found in meat, as well as in legumes and fish. And finally, carbohydrates will be a preferred source of energy, much more useful than refined sugar.

Dietary supplements

It should first be noted that dietary supplements, in general, are not recommended for pregnant women. In reality, a pregnant woman can benefit from supplementation, provided that she discusses it with her treating physician beforehand. The physician can perform blood tests to see if the supplement is indeed suitable for her needs.

Furthermore, many healthcare professionals offer dietary supplements to support pregnancy.

Vitamin D, when not absorbed through diet, needs to be supplemented. It is enough to take it daily, with a simple glass of water or a cup of chamomile tea, for a moment of pure relaxation.

You may also need a supplement based on iron, as pregnant women are considered to be at risk of deficiency. A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anemia.

Finally, a supplement with omega-3 could be suitable for you, to fill up on unsaturated fatty acids.

Dr. Iñaki González-Foruria
Medical Director
COMB: 40780
Dr. Clàudia Forteza
Gynecologist in Human Assisted Reproduction
COMB: 50849
Dr. Rebeca Beguería
Gynecologist in Human Assisted Reproduction
COMB: 40754
Joan Massó
IVF Lab Director
CBC: 21270C
Dr. Manel Fabó
Anaesthetist Doctor
COMB 23569
Monica Mandas
Nursing
COIB: 057909
Have questions?
Request your free consultation today!

Our experts are ready to examine your case history, clarify your choices, and address every question you have.

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