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Healthy Diet During Pregnancy

During pregnancy the body changes and the diet needs to change with it. Which foods are recommended during this time and which foods should be avoided?

Recommended during pregnancy: fruit and vegetables rich with fiber and minerals. Image: Gal Dern.

Expecting a baby? Congratulations and welcome to the “First 1,000 Days”. These are the months of pregnancy amd the first two years of the baby's life, when It a healthy diet is vital, is vital for the baby to get a healthy diet from the ,beginning of pregnancy through the baby’s first two years. This has anbecause of its effect from the beginning of pregnancy through the baby’s first two years, on the development and growth of the baby’s body and brain, immune system and other skills and functions that will impact on him or her, also in the future as an the future adult, too.

Diet during pregnancy: Why, how much and how?

The Ministry of Health’s Nutrition Division recommends following the new government dietary guidelines and nutritional rainbow also during pregnancy and maintaining a diet including lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, oils, legumes and more. It is further recommended to eat regularly throughout the day, including snacks between meals, which combine an intake of food from several food categories, and can alleviate common symptoms during pregnancy such as heartburn and nausea. It is important to adjust the amounts of food to age, height, level of physical activity, and of course to personal preferences and needs. If necessary, consult a nutritionist.

אשה קונה מנגו בסופרמרקט

Food recommended during pregnancy

  • Drink more water (it’s recommended to drink two-three liters a day); it prevents dehydration which might lead to early labor, and improves overall well-being.
  • It is recommended to eat foods that contain dietary fiber which is found in whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables. Eating dietary fibers helps regulate the digestive system and prevent constipation during pregnancy.
  • It is recommended to eat a lot of calcium-rich foods like milk and milk products, calcium-rich soy milk and soy products, whole sesame tahini, almonds, cabbage, cauliflower and others. Calcium is an important ingredient in the development of bones, teeth and a fetus’s cardiovascular system and musculature.
  • Dry foods such as low fat crackers or toast and avoiding carbonated drinks and fried food will positively affect digestive problems like heartburn and nausea.

It is also important that the diet during pregnancy and in some cases prior to it, includes a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals (iodine, vitamin D, folic acid and iron) which are often taken as food supplements. Further information can be found on the Ministry of Health Nutrition Division’s website. It is important to consult an HMO pregnancy healthcare professional.

Foods not recommended during pregnancy

  • Sweets, snack and sugar-sweetened beverages that contain mainly sugar, salt and fats that can cause weight gain, heartburn and other issues related to control of sugar levels and blood pressure.
  • Foods rich in saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats which can be found in baked goods, prepared meals and industrial snacks that contain large amounts of salt and added sugar.
  • Opt for baked, steamed or cooked foods and try to avoid fried foods.
  • Products that contain caffeine such as chocolate, energy drinks, coffee and tea which raise blood pressure and can harm mother and fetus' sleep patterns.
  • Artificial sweeteners which can be found in “diet” drinks and foods.
  • Salt and monosodium glutamate (MSG) which can affect blood pressure (large quantities are found in soup powders, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, seasonings and spice mixes).

Important to know!

The recommended range of weight gain during pregnancy for a healthy woman with a single fetus is between 5-18 kg and it correlates with the BMI (an index commonly used by medical staff which reflects the ratio between height and weight) before pregnancy and dependent on age, height and body type, physical activity and state of health.

Of course, if there are multiple fetuses or if there are special dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, diabetic), food allergies, digestion problems or a special diet, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional (doctor and dietitian) for dietary requirements.

Further reading

Food Safety During Pregnancy, Nutrition Division and Food Service at the Ministry of Health
Food Safety Recommendations and Infectious Disease Prevention During Pregnancy, The Dietitian Association "Atid" (Hebrew)
Healthy Conduct During Pregnancy, Ministry of Health website (Hebrew)
Proper Nutrition during Pregnancy, Ministry of Health Nutrition Division