Nutrition In Pregnancy

Eating enough healthy, nutritious food is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and the baby. The nutrients and energy in the food you eat helps the baby grow and keeps your body strong for delivery!

Nutrition Recommendations for Pregnant Women:

  • Eat one extra “snack” or small meal a day to ensure you are getting enough nutrients and energy for you and your baby
  • Drink plenty of water – drink water often and drink lots of it. It is important to maintain good hydration during pregnancy
  • Avoid taking too much soda, tea or coffee as they interfere with how your body uses or retains fluids
  • Eat the best available foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, grains, beans, fish, meat and milk (six food groups)
  • Adolescent mothers should take more food and rest than an older mother, as they need to nourish their own growing body as well as the baby’s

Supplements for Pregnant Women

  • Take iron and folic acid supplements while pregnant and for 3 months following the birth, to prevent anemia and ensure your baby has the nutrients it needs and to prevent some birth defects
  • Take Vitamin A tablets immediately AFTER delivering your baby or within 6 weeks of the birth, to ensure that your baby receives vitamin A in your breast milk which is important for healthy development and a strong immune system. (Reminder: DO NOT take Vitamin A during pregnancy)
  • If using salt to season food, use iodized salt as it will add some iodine to your diet which can support your baby’s healthy development

Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

  • Take de-worming tablets to prevent anemia and loss of important nutrients during pregnancy
  • Take precautions to avoid malaria by taking anti-malaria tablets (as prescribed) and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net
  • Know your HIV status and speak to your health provider about how to ensure your health and the health of your baby

Food Myths and Foods to Avoid

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Tsabola: Safe, but it might cause heartburn so if you have symptoms of heartburn, you should avoid tsabola and Nali.
Undercooked food: Cook eggs or fish fully, Old meat: Do not eat cooked meats that have been sitting for two or more hours,
Alcohol: Do not drink alcohol (mowa, kachasu, masese, Malawi Gin, and Chibuku) ||

Common Food Myths

Bananas: It is safe to eat bananas during pregnancy, Eating bananas will help your baby grow, Eating one banana a day can prevent constipation and morning sickness, and help reduce the swelling in your legs.
Sugar cane: It is safe to eat sugar cane during pregnancy, It is better for you to eat than sugar or sweets, Do not eat sugar cane if your gums or inside of your mouth is sore.
Peppers:: It is safe to eat peppers during pregnancy wand will not hurt your baby, Eating tsabola might give you heartburn.
Eggs: It is safe to eat eggs during pregnancy wand will not hurt your baby, Eggs are very good for helping the baby to grow, Eggs must be cooked properly (boiled, fried), Do not eat eggs that have been sitting for 2 hours after cooking.
Fried maize: It is safe to eat maize during pregnancy and will not hurt your baby, Maize gives you energy and helps the baby to grow.

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