Nutrition myths during pregnancy

Sunday June 7 2020


By Beatrice Nakibuuka

Many times pregnant mothers are limited on what to eat during pregnancy, because of the society beliefs and sometimes misinformation.

Some believe certain foods such as, papaya, pineapples, sugarcane, raw tomatoes and fish affect the unborn.
According to Dr Paul Kasenene, a nutritionist at Wellcare Centre, Bugolobi, these are myths.

All plant sources, fruits, and vegetables are healthy and suitable for pregnant women as snacks or main meals.

“It is important that an expecting mother eats something raw at every meal. There are however some restrictions to some foods that a mother should reduce during such a time,” Dr Kasenene says.

Reduce refined salt
The intake of sodium should be checked because high levels of the mineral increase hypertension. Therefore, refined salt intake should be reduced.

If possible, the mother should replace this with unrefined sea salt. For foods such as steamed vegetables, you should add little or no salt because many of these have natural sodium.
Animal food sources, non-whole grain


Dr Kasenene says, “All animal food sources should be restricted to three meals a week. Dairy and its products should be consumed sparingly. Full cream milk, cheese, yoghurt should be consumed in limited amounts.”

When an expectant woman takes a lot of dairy products, they are likely to become overweight and will likely give birth to an overweight or even obese baby.

Foods made of non-whole grains are unhealthy options. White bread, white rice, and refined products such as maize flour should be avoided.

Non-whole grain foods are low in fibre. Low levels of fibre increase the risk of constipation because there is limited bowel movements.

Caffeinated and carbonated beverages such as soda, alcohol, and coffee should be avoided because caffeine is a stimulant that increases the heart rate and blood pressure.

“Your intake of sweetened drinks and foods should also be minimal. If you make fruit juice, avoid adding sugar to it because the fruits have natural sugar,” he explains.

Eat fruits, raw vegetables before a meal or vegetable smoothie and whole grains for breakfast. For lunch, you can have cooked vegetables, legumes, a starch or grain, and animal food sources (optional).

For dinner, eat a raw vegetable salad, legumes, a soup, and starch.