Food and infections
During pregnancy it is important to eat healthy and a variety of food. Eating for two is not necessary, but it is unwise to be on a diet during your pregnancy. For advice regarding a healthy eating pattern you can go to www.voedingscentrum.nl.
There are a few things you have to pay extra attention to during your pregnancy.
During pregnancy, aside from healthy and varied eating, it is advisable to take extra vitamin D. You can buy these separate or in the form of a multivitamin. When you buy the latter, buy a multivitamin this is especially meant for pregnancy. This includes the correct amount of vitamin D en folic acid (see below).
Additional folic acid prior to and during the pregnancy is important. Folic acid diminishes the chance of a congenital disorder, such as spina bifida. It is advisable to take a tablet of 0,4 or 0,5 milligram of folic acid a day from the moment you want to become pregnant to 10 weeks into your pregnancy. Folic acid is usually an element in multivitamin for pregnant women. The directions included with the multivitamin will tell you how many tablets to take to get the right amount of folic acid.
During the pregnancy it is advisable to take 1 gram (1000 milligram) of calcium a day. You will get the most calcium out of your daily diet. Do this calcium-check to see if you are getting enough calcium per day.
If you are not getting enough calcium, we advise you to take a supplement. This can eather be calcium in a multivitamine for pregnant women or a separate calcium supplement.
The use of alcohol during pregnancy is harmful to the baby. There is no safe amount to consume. It is advised not to drink alcohol.
Smoking during pregnancy has certain obvious risks. Smoking yourself, or staying in an environment where smoking takes place, can negatively influence your pregnancy. When you smoke the placenta will get less blood. The unborn child receives less oxygen and growth slows down. The intellectual development of the child can also be influenced by smoking. Your child can also be born too early.
After giving birth it is ill advised to smoke in front of the baby. This increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It is advisable for both parents to stop smoking. This is not an easy task. If you want help to quit smoking, you can go to your GP.
Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that can be found in raw meat, unwashed raw vegetables and cat-poop. If you become infected with toxoplasmosis during your pregnancy this can have serious consequences for your child. It is important to cook your meat well and wash your vegetables carefully. If you work in the garden make sure you wear gloves and, if possible, let someone else clean the litterbox. Wash your hands well before cooking dinner and pay close attention to hygiene in the kitchen.
Listeriosis is caused by the listeria bacteria which, among things, can be found in cheese made from raw milk (au lait cru). Becoming infected with this bacteria can also have consequences for your child. Always carefully read the packaging of your food. Products made from pasteurized or sterilized milk can’t hurt. The listeria bacteria can also be found in raw en prepackaged smoked fish and raw meat.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is commonly found in the saliva and urine of young children. The virus can be harmful to you unborn child. Good hygiene is very important. This means, for example, washing your hands (with soap) after wiping children's noses or changing diapers. It is also advisable to avoid sharing cutlery with your child or to put your child's pacifier in your own mouth.
Eating fish, especially greasy fish, is healthy. The omega-3 fats found in fish are, for example, important for the development of the brain and vision of your child. Also for non-pregnant people it is good to eat fish because the omega-3 fats keep the heart and blood veins healthy.
However, because of pollution fish can contain harmful substances. Especially, heavy metals (such as mercury), dioxins, PCB’s and toxaphene. It is advisable not to have fish more than twice a week. Eating predatory fish and eel from the large rivers is discouraged.
Having too much vitamin A can cause congenital disorders to your child. Vitamin A is especially found in organ-meat such as liver. Try not to eat liver during your pregnancy, and liver products less than once a day.
Caffeine is possible harmful to your unborn child. The more caffeine you consume, the higher your chance of getting a miscarriage and the lower the birthweight of your child. For mothers-to-be it is better not to consume too much caffeine. Women who are breastfeeding should avoid drinking too much coffee. Caffeine goes into the mother’s milk and will make the child restless.
The Voedingscentrum advises not to consume more than 300mg of caffeine a day. Caffeine free coffee, herbal tea and caffeine-free coke is a good alternative for habitual coffee-, tea- and coke-drinkers.
Examples of 300mg caffeine:
• 3 cups of coffee, 1 cup of tea
• 2 cups of coffee, 2 cups of tea and a glass of coke
• 2 cups of coffee, 3 cups of tea
For specific information regarding which products you can or cannot use during pregnancy you can visit www.voedingscentrum.nl.
They also have a very good application called ZwangerHap for your phone which tells you immediately what you can and cannot eat and gives you warning messages in case a bacteria is found in certain products.