pregnancy nutrition myths

Pregnant women receive an overwhelming amount of advice and information, especially when it comes to food and nutrition. With so many conflicting views on what to eat and what not to eat, things can get a little confusing for a pregnant woman. A good doctor, such as the ones at KIMS Cuddles, will help you eat right and healthy throughout your pregnancy.

What to eat when you’re pregnant?

It is common for women during pregnancy to take special care when it comes to their diets. Many believe that eating specific foods will ensure optimal pregnancy outcome. However, the truth is that there are no specific foods that will guarantee better health of the mother and child. All you need is a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

Myths about Pregnancy

There is so much information available everywhere regarding food that it may be difficult to distinguish myth from fact. Knowing about them can help you take an informed decision about what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy. Here are some of the most widely held, but untrue beliefs about pregnancy and food.

1. Fish should be completely avoided due to mercury

Contrary to what you may have heard or believed about eliminating fish during pregnancy, the benefits of eating fish are considered much greater than any potential risks while pregnant. Fish is rich in essential nutrients such as protein, DHA/EPA (omega-3 fats), vitamin D, choline and minerals such as iodine, iron, zinc, copper and selenium, all of which are advantageous for women planning to become pregnant, and even those who are already pregnant. What you need to be cautious about are the types, amounts, and preparation of fish. Also avoid eating raw fish as this may increase the risk of food-borne illness, which may be particularly dangerous.

2. Eat for two when you’re pregnant

The old adage “eating for two” isn’t necessarily true for all women who are pregnant. While nutrient needs do increase, women need not eat twice their usual caloric intake, unless so advised by a doctor. Excessive weight gain can increase the chances of a high birth weight baby, which may be associated with delivery and health complications for both mom and baby. Pregnant women should instead focus on listening to their body and eating twice as healthy, rather than twice as much. When hungry, add in a few healthy small snacks between meals. By doing so, you’ll likely be getting enough for your needs.

3. Caffeine should be complete avoided

There is some truth to this myth. Excessive amount of caffeine is not good for you or your baby. Studies have shown that consuming too much caffeine could increase the risk of low birth weight infants, stillbirth, and miscarriages. If you’re typically a heavy coffee, strong tea or caffeinated soda drinker, it’s best to limit your intake to less than 300mg per day. This works out to two cups of coffee or four cups of tea, if you are thinking of becoming pregnant or already pregnant. This risk is due to the fact that caffeine passes through the placenta to the fetus, impacting its development. Therefore, consider non-caffeinated drinks, 100% juice, or milk etc. You can also consider decaffeinated versions of tea and coffee to satisfy your cravings.

4. You should eat only organic food

Many moms worry about eating non-organic vegetable, for the fear of ingesting chemicals, fertilisers, and pesticides that could potentially harm the developing foetus. Some studies have linked organic vegetable consumption during pregnancy to lower incidences of complications. Well-wishers may also advice pregnant women to eat organic food to have a healthy pregnancy. However, since studies are inconclusive about the benefits of eating organic vs non-organic food, pregnant women should not feel pressured to exclusively eat organic foods. It is important to wash your fruits and veggies thoroughly before eating – whether they are organic or not. Focus on meeting your dietary requirements in general and aim to eat at least 4 servings of veggies and 2-4 servings of fruit each day, regardless of how they’re grown.

5. Full Cream milk is more nutritious than low-fat milk

If you’ve been advised to drink only full cream milk during pregnancy, make sure you check with your doctor about the same. Low-fat milk and skim milk both contain the same important nutrients namely calcium, phosphorous and protein, as full cream milk. The calories and fat content in full-cream milk are much greater than the others. Hence, most doctors recommend low-fat milk for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

6. Cooling foods must be avoided due to risk of miscarriage

Many people may advise you to avoid eating foods such as papaya, pineapple and citrus fruits etc. as they may harm the baby. However, there is no documented case of miscarriage from eating these foods. There is also no scientific evidence that you should avoid eating “cooling” foods when you’re pregnant. If you have any doubt about the foods to avoid during pregnancy, ask your doctor at KIMS Cuddles to help you with the same. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is the best way to obtain optimal nutrition during pregnancy.

7. Avoiding certain foods will reduce baby’s risk of developing allergies

Some people believe that avoiding certain foods like eggs, cow’s milk, nuts and wheat during pregnancy will reduce their baby’s risk of developing allergies in the future. However, there is no evidence to support the belief that avoiding these foods will have the desired effect as regards allergies. Similarly, there is no evidence that consuming oranges or citrus fruits during pregnancy will increase your baby’s risk of asthma.

8. Preserved, canned and frozen food should be avoided during pregnancy

Generally, it is ideal to eat foods cooked from fresh ingredients for optimum nutrients, flavour and taste. Certain water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and folate are lost during the canning process. However, nutrient losses are generally small in the case of frozen foods. You can safely consume preserved, canned and frozen foods during pregnancy, as long as they meet the food safety guidelines. Don’t make them a regular habit and consume them occasionally.

What you eat is very essential for your health and that of your growing foetus during pregnancy. If you have any doubts about the diet you should have when you’re expecting, do visit our doctors at KIMS Cuddles who will guide you with all the details and dispel any food related myth that you may have heard.


*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.

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