Eat well for nine months: the rule of three
For nine months, your diet will be the key to your health and the proper development of your baby. So it’s essential to pay particular attention to what is on your plate. Nothing very complicated to include on the menu: just three basic rules to learn well.
Rule No. 1
Healthy, balanced meals
To avoid deficiencies for you and your baby, and get through delivery without facing exhaustion, you must be sure to eat well. If you usually eat everything in moderation, there is really no need to change your diet; you already know what healthy balanced meals are! If you tend to go for paninis rather than green beans, you will need to change your diet more significantly, increasing:
Fruit and vegetables: in early pregnancy, you do not necessarily know yet if you are immune to toxoplasmosis. So be prudent when eating fruit and vegetables: when raw, they may be contaminated by this parasite. Cook them and do not taste them during the cooking process. If you are sure you have immunity to toxoplasmosis, you can eat them raw after consulting with your doctor, to make the most of their vitamin content, which is reduced during cooking. But always take care to wash them carefully first, peel them and carefully wash your hands afterwards.
Good quality protein: guaranteeing good muscle function, proteins, so-called high biological quality proteins (fish and meat) are essential every day.
The right carbohydrates: opt for slow sugars that provide energy without sudden glycaemic peaks. Instead of commercial sandwich bread, try wholegrain bread from the baker’s; instead of instant mashed potato, eat whole potatoes, lentils or wholemeal pasta; replace sweets with dark chocolate, which has the added benefit of being a source of magnesium. But never lose sight of enjoyment!
The right fats: fats are required for the manufacture of cell membranes and the nervous system. In particular, the famous omega-3, essential fatty acids the body cannot produce itself that can be found in rapeseed oil or oily fish (salmon, herring, etc.).
Dairy products: a source of calcium and therefore essential for bone formation, ideally, you should have two to three servings per day.
Water: necessary for the correct functioning of the body, the requirement increases with activity. Drinking at least 1.5L per day is highly recommended. Check your urine to ensure you are properly hydrated: if it is light, everything is fine. If not, drink a bit more. Preferably spring or mineral water with a high calcium and magnesium content.
Limit weight gain
The idea of eating for two should definitely be consigned to the past! Although your calorie requirement does rise a little, your body is programmed to deal with this requirement. Without depriving yourself, don’t let yourself put on extra weight, this is as important for you as for your baby.
Eat at least three meals per day: skipping a meal only makes your body store more at the next meal “just in case.” You should have three meals a day or, if suffering from nausea, five smaller, balanced meals.
Take time to savour your food: Twenty minutes for your meal (sitting calmly at the table and chewing well), this is the minimum to trigger the fullness signal, which prevents you eating more than you need.
Keep some healthy snacks to hand: fruit, yoghurt, cherry tomatoes, raspberries... always have something close by to avoid reaching for a packet of biscuits or dry sausage, etc.
Eliminate hidden sugars and fats: they sneak into cold cuts, vacuum packed pastries, ready-made meals and can be found on labels described as simple sugars or saturated fats... A good reason to rediscover the pleasure and benefits of home cooking.
Rule No. 3
Avoid risky foods and behaviours
Alcohol is strictly off limits during pregnancy, but it is not the only “dietary” risk. It is also essential to increase hygiene precautions in the kitchen and distrust certain foods liable to be home to germs that can harm the foetus.
Forget about... cold cuts and patés, preparations made with raw milk, blue or soft rind cheeses that may contain listeria.
Wash and carefully peel... fruit and vegetables eaten raw to rule out any risk of listeriosis or toxoplasmosis. When not at home, they are better avoided.
Thoroughly cook... meat which, raw or undercooked, carries the most risk for toxoplasmosis. It is also better to avoid raw seafood, taramasalata and other jellied dishes. And do not eat dishes made with raw egg, which can carry salmonella.
Keep the highest standards of hygiene... by washing your hands after handling foods to prevent any potential contamination and thoroughly cleaning chopping boards and knives used to cut raw foods. Do not forget that a refrigerator should be cleaned regularly with bleach.