Monday July 7 2014

Pregnancy notes: Are you eating the right foods?

By Christine Katende

What foods should you eat when you are pregnant? Should you drink alcohol, in what quantity? These are some of the questions that expectant mothers are always grappling with. But when it comes to food, expectant mothers usually make several adjustments to their diet as the pregnancy advances.

Jamiru Mpiima, a nutritionist with Family Nutritionist Uganda,says when a woman conceives, it is recommended that she visits a nutritionist to discuss her diet plan and what changes she may have to make to her diet.

“This is because a woman’s Body Mass Index (BMI) has to be measured before she can be advised on what, and how much to consume,” says Mpiima.
For instance, he says, if a mother is underweight, she will need to gain at least 18 kilogrammes more during the pregnancy, while a woman who is overweight should not gain more than eight kilogrammes during the same period.

Mpiima notes that expectant mothers need to have at least four meals a day, and this should be supplemented by taking folic acid and iron tablets to prevent the unborn child from developing neural tube defects, which could affect the proper development of the brain. “An expectant mother should make sure she eats more fruits and vegetables, so that she can get enough vitamins A, C and B12. Vegetables and fruits also help an expectant mother to get minerals and fibre,” says Mpiima.

Proteins got from eating eggs and other dairy products such as milk and meat should also be a priority for an expectant mother. Mpiima, however, warns expectant mothers against consuming processed foods and drinks, which he says are high in sugar and salt.