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    What to eat and not to eat during pregnancy

    Gepubliceerd op: 2-27-2019Bewerkt op: 8-2-2019
    ZP® - English Gepubliceerd op: 2-27-2019Bewerkt op: 8-2-2019
    Geschreven door: ZP® - EnglishMedisch rereviewd door: Sharon Looyen
    In spite of those days of nausea, it is still important to keep a balanced diet. Of course you want the best possible food for your unborn child, so that your baby can develop in the best possible way.

    Eating for two

    It is also important to look after yourself properly. Your baby will often get enough nutrients, but you as a mother may experience shortages that will not affect you until after pregnancy. And this is precisely when you need the energy to enjoy your little one. Tip: Focus on what you are allowed to eat, instead of what you aren’t. This makes eating a lot more pleasant and positive.

    Eating ‘for two’ does not mean that you have to double your portions. That is truly a myth. Losing weight or dieting during your pregnancy is also not wise, and is even advised against. If you start to lose weight during your pregnancy, harmful substances that are stored in your fat can end up with the baby via the bloodstream.

    What is recommended instead:

    • Drink enough, at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day. 30 ml per kilogram of body weight.
    • About 200 g of whole grains. Vary the grains: think of spelt, rye, buckwheat, wheat. One slice of bread is 50 grams.
    • Legumes are good sources of fiber (100 grams a day)
    • Potatoes and sweet potatoes are a delicious source of energy. (Three small potatoes a day is enough, and this isn’t required every day)
    • Vegetables, thoroughly washed, are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals (at least 350 grams a day)
    • Fruit (two to four pieces a day, no juice). Small fruit, such as blueberries and blackberries are highly recommended, they contain little sugar and many antioxidants.
    • Meat, fish, egg and meat substitutes (about 150 grams).
    • Dairy (275-350 grams - 1 bowl is 150 grams) - especially sour dairy such as yogurt.
    • Good fat (30 grams) - think of olive oil (extra virgin), butter, coconut oil, hemp seed oil (do not heat).


    Vary enough, meaning for instance, not the same breakfast every day. Otherwise your body will receive limited nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In addition, you are already teaching your child to taste various flavors during pregnancy as your amniotic fluid takes on the flavor of what you are eating.

    Healthy intestines during your pregnancy.

    Stimulate your intestines with food. Your intestinal flora, 1.5-2 kg of bacteria that live in your intestines, are responsible for 80% of your immune system and create a specific vitamin. If you do not feed these bacteria properly, eat a lot of sugar and refined grains, drink fruit juice and eat little fiber, the ‘bad bacteria’ gain the upper hand and you can suffer complaints such as feeling bloated, flatulence or irregular bowels, such as constipation and diarrhea.
    Your intestinal flora is passed on to your child during a natural birth, which is the beginning of your baby’s intestinal bacteria. Which means that you what you eat has an impact on your child’s immune system.

    So keep your intestines healthy with:

    • Vegetables (350 g a day)
    • Eating fruit (2 - 4 pieces a day)
    • Water
    • Fermented food (yogurt, tempeh, sauerkraut, kefir, pickled cucumber)
    • Probiotics
    • Good fats (hemp seed oil, olive oil, butter, coconut oil)
    • Avoid added sugar as much as possible

    How do you prepare your food?

    Everything you eat or drink is also passed on to your baby, so watch what you eat and how your prepare it. This also has an impact on your child.

    Cook your meat thoroughly

    Not only what you eat but how you eat it is important. Raw meat can be contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii. Because this parasite cannot withstand heat, it is of major importance that you cook your meat thoroughly. You also have to be very careful of cross-contamination. Make sure that knives, chopping boards, etc. with which you have touched the raw meat do not come into contact with cooked meat or other food products.

    Wash your vegetables thoroughly

    You can eat raw vegetables, but always wash them thoroughly. Here too, the parasite toxoplasma gondii or other harmful bacteria can be present in the dirt found on raw vegetables. Be extra careful with fresh products such as meat and raw vegetable salad. Write on the packaging when you bought them so you don’t store them for too long.

    What not to eat or to eat less

    What you can normally eat without problems could now harm your baby because of certain substances and bacteria.

    Avoid unpasteurized cheese

    During your pregnancy you can eat most cheese. Aside from fat and salt, cheese contains a lot of calcium, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.
    You can eat hard cheese and cheese made with pasteurized milk during pregnancy without any problems. By pasteurizing the milk, all pathogenic bacteria, including the listeria bacteria, are killed. It is better to avoid raw milk cheeses, such as mold cheeses. These can be infected with the listeria bacteria. These bacteria can be very harmful to the child and can even result in premature birth or a miscarriage. The chance of a listeria infection is relatively small in practice. This is why there is no need to panic if you accidentally ate the ‘wrong’ cheese.

    When you buy cheese, make sure to read the label. Most packaging indicates whether the product is made of raw milk (au lait cru) or pasteurized milk (au lait pasteurisé). If this information is not on the label, it is wise to ask about it in the store or to contact the manufacturer.

    No raw eggs

    Due to the Salmonella bacteria, it is best not to eat raw egg yolk, so make sure they are properly cooked. Fresh mayonnaise is often made of raw egg yolk, so you better stay away from that as well.

    Avoid raw fish, shellfish and crustaceans

    During your pregnancy, it is a good idea to regularly eat oily fish because of the good fats for both you and your child. You should be careful with certain types of fish, such as raw and smoked fish. These can be contaminated with the listeria bacteria. Buy your fish fresh or canned. Vacuum packed fish also carries risks because it is stored for a long time. For the same reason it is better not to eat raw shellfish, such as oysters. Boiled shellfish or crustaceans, such as mussels or shrimp, can be eaten without a problem.

    Do not eat too much fish containing dioxin and heavy metals

    Dioxins and heavy metals are found more in some types of fish than in others. You should eat these in moderation. Examples mainly include predatory fish:

    • Swordfish
    • Tuna (canned is an exception)
    • Pike perch
    • Shark
    • King mackerel
    • Eel from Dutch rivers

    Eating fatty fish is very healthy, but dioxins can also accumulate here. So don’t eat this more than twice a week.

    Several other food products also should only be eaten in moderation when you are pregnant:

    • Licorice
    • Licorice tea (maximum of two cups a day)
    • Rhubarb

    Unfortunately, it is best not to consume the following products:

    • Fennel and aniseed tea
    • Pimba or calabash chalk

    Spices during your pregnancy

    Which spices can you use?
    There are spices as well that may be harmful when you are pregnant. It is best not to use the following spices:

    • Common wormwood
    • Aniseed
    • Aloe
    • Tansy
    • Female ginseng
    • Ephedra
    • Coltsfoots
    • Kava kava
    • Borage
    • Sassafras
    • Common comfrey
    • Dong quai
    • Fennel
    • Senna

    In moderate use the following spices cannot cause any harm:

    • Basil
    • Tarragon
    • Fenugreek
    • Cinnamon
    • Nigella
    • Hawthorn
    • Feverfew
    • Sage

    Due to the basil that is processed in it, it is best to also limit the use of pesto. You can of course also make pesto without basil and replace it by, for instance, parsley.

    Caffeine and pregnancy

    Limit your caffeine intake. Several drinks include caffeine. Research has indicated that caffeine reduces fertility and increases the risk of a miscarriage. If you drink too much caffeine, this gets to your baby by way of the placenta. Because a baby is not yet able to break down caffeine quickly, your baby will suffer from this for a longer period of time. It makes your baby more active and restless. A restless baby develops more slowly. Caffeine also causes more gastric acid to be produced, something that pregnant women often suffer from.

    If you are pregnant it is best not to consume more than 300 mg of caffeine, so drinking coffee all day is not recommended. But if you have trouble waking up in the morning, it is no problem to have a cup of coffee. There are of course several caffeine-free alternatives to coffee and tea.

    To give you an idea of how much caffeine is in various drinks, you can find a list from the food center below with various drinks and the amount of caffeine that is in them:

    • Cup of coffee (125 ml): 85 mg (with peaks to 180 mg)
    • Can of energy drink (250 ml): 80 mg
    • Cup of green or black tea (125 ml): 30 mg
    • Bar of dark chocolate (75 g): 30 mg
    • Bar of milk chocolate (75 g): 15 mg
    • Glass of Coke (180 ml): 18 mg
    • Glass of chocolate milk (180 ml): 4 mg

    In addition, caffeine curbs the absorption of vitamin C, which is very important during pregnancy, because iron is absorbed better with vitamin C. So if you have an iron deficiency, I would recommend not drinking coffee during a meal.

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