Falling pregnant often comes with a variety of emotions as you’re dealing with carrying a baby and the prospect of becoming a mother (or having another child) all whilst dealing with everyday stresses. Some women may be filled with pure excitement whilst for others they may feel anxious, nervous, concerned and unsure. With all of this there’s also the change in body image and the way you feel. As a result many women fall into pitfalls surrounding their eating habits. Let’s take a look at some of the common pitfalls which may occur during pregnancy and what you can do about them.
Eating for two
This is a common idea that as you’re carrying a child you need to eat to ensure you can continue to support not only the requirements of your body but also that of a newly developing child. However, in reality this is not the case. The normal amount of weight to gain during a pregnancy is around 12kg however, most of this comes from the baby.
You might be surprised to hear that you only need to consume 200kcal extra per day and only in the last trimester. In the first and second trimester there is no need to increase the amount of food you’re consuming. Focus on the quality of the food over the quantity. Try cooking fresh and eating meals which are rich in fruits, vegetables, high quality proteins and healthy fats.
Avoiding eating fish
This is another myth which has been passed through generations. This pitfall comes from the idea that fish is high in mercury and may cause mercury poisoning to the baby. However, oily fish is a source of omega-3 which is essential for the fetus’s neurological development. Limit your portions to no more than two per week and opt for smaller fish such as anchovies, sardines and herring as these fish are lower down the food chain and therefore contain less mercury consequently reducing the risk of mercury poisoning.
Thinking you must avoid caffeine
There is research to suggest that excess caffeine may increase the risk of delivering a low birth weight child. However, the safety limit is 200mg of caffeine a day. This equates to around 2 cups of instant coffee, 1 cup of filter coffee or two mugs of English breakfast tea. Be aware green tea, fizzy drinks and chocolate contain caffeine too and will contribute to the daily allowance.
Thinking the sex of the baby defines your appetite
It’s not uncommon to believe that a large appetite is a sign you’re having a boy. Unfortunately this has nothing to do with the sex of the baby and is simply due to the mother! As mentioned in tip one being pregnant should have no impact on the requirement to eat more.
Consuming peanuts during pregnancy may cause a peanut allergy in your the child
This is another old wives tale to add to the list. Plenty of research has been conducted which suggests there is no association between mothers who consume peanuts and risk of allergy in the child. Peanuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats which will keep you fuller for longer, contribute to glowing skin and are therefore a perfect snack option.
Rhee, J., Kim, R., Kim, Y., Tam, M., Lai, Y., Keum, N., & Oldenburg, C. E. (2015). Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and risk of low birth weight: a dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies. PLoS One, 10(7), e0132334.
Järvinen, K. M., Westfall, J., De Jesus, M., Mantis, N. J., Carroll, J. A., Metzger, D. W., ... & Berin, M. C. (2015). Role of maternal dietary peanut exposure in development of food allergy and oral tolerance. PloS one, 10(12), e0143855.