WHAT SHOULD A PREGNANT WOMAN EAT?

The latest research show that pregnant women should eat lots of nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, restrict added vegetable oils and and avoid all packaged foods that contain partially hydrogenated fats.

Both mother and child need essential fatty acids that are classified into omega-3s and omega-6s. Pregnancy uses up fatty acids, particularly omega-3s such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Several recent studies show that post-partum depression is caused by low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are found in all nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains, but not in refined flour used for most bakery products and pastas.

Pregnancy depletes folic acid, and a deficiency can cause birth defects. Folic acid is found in leafy greens, nuts, seeds and beans. Extracted oils from seeds such as corn, soybeans, cottonseed, rapeseed (canola) and safflower are often converted to partially hydrogenated fats and added to foods. These fats deplete the body of omega-3 fatty acids and therefore should be avoided by pregnant women.

1) G Hornstra. Essential fatty acids in mothers and their neonates. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 71, Iss 5, Suppl. S, pp 1262S-1269S.

2)C Roux, C Wolf, N Mulliez, W Gaoua, V Cormier, F Chevy, D Citadelle. Role of cholesterol in embryonic development. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 71, Iss 5, Suppl. S, pp 1270S-1279S. TO Scholl, WG Johnson. Folic acid: influence on the outcome of pregnancy. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 71, Iss 5, Suppl. S, pp 1295S-1303S.

Checked 5/3/07

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