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Dr. Orfanoudaki Irene MD  PhD  -  Nutrition in Pregnancy

Women during pregnancy are a special group of the population in terms of their diet.

Their needs, both energy and nutritional, are differentiated during this period.

The phrase "eat for two" does not mean putting twice as much food on your plate.

Instead, the idea is to eat twice as well and no more.

Exaggerations should be avoided during this sensitive period, both for the pregnant woman and the fetus.

All the latest research shows that during pregnancy the emphasis should be on the consumption of foods of plant origin.

The traditional Mediterranean diet , which is a model for the Greek population, is also a recommendation for nutrition during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman should follow frequent meals like everyone else, even if it is possible to aim for more than 5 meals a day, which will ensure a good regulation of blood glucose levels, thus reducing the wrinkles that are a key feature of the diet. of the pregnant woman.

The diet during pregnancy should include:

Eggs:  It is one of the best sources of protein. In addition, they are full of proteins and vitamins D and B12, they contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the baby's brain and the proper development of his eyes.

Oats:  Oats are one of the top foods for pregnant women, as most suffer from occasional constipation. Oats contain a lot of fiber, vitamin B, but also minerals.

Unsalted nuts:  It is an ideal snack, since it provides good fats, which your body and your fetus need to grow.

Mango:  Ideal fruit for pregnancy. It contains many vitamins, of which a large amount of A and C. In addition, it is a good source of potassium.

Avocado:  And yet it is miraculous, as it saves from nausea and its symptoms.

Dairy products:  Light milk, cheese and light yogurt - all excellent and delicious sources of calcium. The baby needs calcium for good bone development. Yogurt also contains plenty of folic acid.

Carrots: The perfect vegetable for baby health. They help in the good development of his teeth, bones and eyes.

Fruit. Whether fresh, frozen or canned, fruits are full of vitamins and fiber, which are essential foods in any pregnancy, as they can help prevent constipation.


Lean meat: During pregnancy, the body's needs for protein increase significantly, to ensure the proper development of the muscular system of the fetus.

So now  a pregnant woman needs about twice as much protein daily  that before. But iron is also very important.

If it is not taken in the required amount, then the risk of premature birth or low birth weight baby increases.

Green salad: Vegetables that have large leaves in dark green color - such as spinach, broccoli, lettuce, but also cabbage - are very rich in antioxidants.

A large green salad is the best accompaniment to any main meal during pregnancy.

The reason is that in addition to antioxidants,  Green leafy vegetables contain calcium, potassium, fiber, folic acid, iron and vitamin A, which helps in the development of the baby's vision but also in the health of the bones and skin. They should be combined with a good source of vitamin C, to increase the absorption of iron they contain.


Legumes: They are very good sources of protein, iron, but also folic acid, fiber and calcium. To increase the quality of the provided vegetable protein, it is good to combine them with cereals, e.g. bread, pasta, rice. Also, in order to absorb the iron they contain, they must be consumed at the same time with foods that have vitamin C, e.g. lemon in the salad that accompanies the meal or the simultaneous consumption of juice, rich in vitamin C. In addition, beans are particularly rich in zinc.

Salmon: Like all fatty fish, it is an excellent source of "miracle" omega-3 fatty acids and, of course, protein.

Omega-3 fatty acids are very important for the development of the fetal brain. Research has shown that babies who have high levels of DHA (one of the so-called omega-3 acids) also have higher IQs, better motor skills and fewer neurological problems later in life. In addition, omega-3s are important for the development of the baby's vision. At the same time, salmon supplies the expectant mother's body with high quality protein.

However, because large fish often contain high levels of mercury, which should be avoided, it is recommended that pregnant women consume them no more than twice a week.

Potatoes: They are good sources of vitamins C, B1 and B6, folic acid, iron and potassium. In addition, the potato peel (which can be eaten, as long as it is washed very well), is rich in minerals, such as magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and potassium. They are cooked in many different ways and therefore are the simplest solution to supplement the amounts of nutrients they need daily, such as iron and folic acid.

Particularly nutritious are the sweet potatoes, which contain all the nutrients of the potato and in addition β-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A, which plays an important role in the development of vision, bones and skin of the fetus.  

What a pregnant woman should avoid. 
During pregnancy there are some foods that the pregnant woman should avoid either because of their nutrients or because of their microbial load.

The liver (of all origins), as well as its products (pate), should be avoided due to the high content of vitamin A.

Overconsumption of this fat-soluble vitamin has been associated with congenital anomalies.

Foods such as raw seafood , sushi , undercooked meats , poultry and eggs , fresh cheeses and other unprocessed dairy products (pasteurization) should be avoided.

All of these potential sources of bacteria can cause damage to the fetus.

Consumption of caffeine (including cola) and alcohol should also be kept to a minimum.

Particularly basic is the thorough washing of fruits and vegetables to be consumed .

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