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I am expecting a baby, what shall I eat?
Pregnancy Diet & Pregnant Woman
Lucky girl, you are expecting a baby! So did we, 6 times. Our daugters and sons' wife may also try this great adventure to start a baby. Because I want them to stay healthy, and I'd like my grand-children to be the best in the world, here are some nutritional advices. What to eat for your baby, for his/her mom , and to avoid food-borne hazards ? Everyone knows that a pregnant woman must "well" eat, balanced foods, and so on... But few people know that mothers's food may increase child intelligence, prevent toothache. And that certain vitamin pills can be toxic for the baby. Thus, find here advices from "Dr. D.E. Corpet", professor in nutrition et food hygiene:
For your Baby
- Folate: most significant. Before getting pregnant, and at the beginning of pregnancy, it is necessary to eat loads of folates, vitamin B9. Why that? Because they allow the closing of neural tube, in other words it prevents Spina Bifida, a serious illness of the baby. And where to find these folates? Folate comes from folia (leaf). Spinach (fresh, frozen or canned) contains a lot of folic acid. Lots of folate also in all green-green vegetables, salads, melon, and Hummus.
- Fluorine: kids teeth will resist decays if the mom takes fluorine pills before birth, then the baby. Already use fluorinated salt. But before we should slow down on salt, I advise to buy fluorine in pharmacy. Take 1/day (1, 2 or 3, read the label).
- Salmon: Important to eat "good lipids". Omega three fatty acids ("n-3"): ALA, EPA, DHA. ALA is found in canola oil (= rape seed), and in the expensive wallnut oil. I thus advise canola oil for salad dressing (but do not cook it). EPA and DHA are better than ALA. They are found in fatty fish: salmon, trout, sardine, mackerel. Eat some twice per week (not 14 times a wk, it would be too much! ), and your baby will have better eyes, and a better brain! Incredible, but Ingrid Helland's study (Oslo) shows that the Intelligence Quotient of kids at age four increases when the mother took one spoon of cod-liver oil during pregnancy and breast feeding. Not a huge effect, but +4 IQ is not so bad. In addition, Iodine, also present in fishes from sea, favors intellectual development (Iodin & Cognition). It is thus not a surprise that kids whose mother ate fish (3 times per week during pregnancy) have higher developmental scores at 6 and 18 months of age (Oken et al., Am.J.Clin.Nutr.2008). Fish consumption by Mom gives same benefit on Baby development than a year breast feeding !
For the Mom
- Iron: Girls and women often are tired because they need more iron: they do not like eating red meat, but they loose some blood each month. This anaemia, even light, is "tiring". It is necessary to eat steak (red meat at least twice per week). It is better than the iron pills, much constipating. Even for the baby it is important to have a good iron stock at birth. If not, baby too risks anaemia, when 6 months old.
- Calcium & vitamin D: The baby builds his bones, and after birth, breast feeding will grasp calcium from the mom's bones. Milk and child do not risk anything, they have full "priority" on calcium. But the mom will loose her calcium if she does not eat lot of milk & dairy foods. Therefore, three times per day: milk, or a yoghourt, or a piece of cheese... But calcium is effective only if she taked enough of vitamin D. The best mean to get vit.D is to sunbathe each day for a little while (10-15 min are enough): and it is quite good! No sun? Salmon and its buddies are packed with vitamin D. Yes, they are friendly fishes.
- Salt, lower it : All of us eat too much salt. Even if you never add salt, you get enough of it from unsalted food. Sometimes, pregnant women "keep water" (retention), leading to oedema or hypertension. It is wise to cut on salt, to improve these health problems.
- Listeria: In pregnant women, listeriosis yield a fever, often unnoticed. But consequences can be very serious for the foetus. Then, what to do? First of all, be vigilant and see your doc (MD) if you get an unexplained fever: antimicrobial agents get rid of listeria. But you should also avoid to eat Listeria, thanks to "CooRisWa FriDayPap"COO- Cook meat well-done, and processed meat also (bacon, sausages). Reheat remainders well enough.
RIS- Don't eat risky foods: wet pork-butcheries, delicatessens, soft cheeses (raw milk, washed skin)
WA- Wash and peel carefully raw fruits and vegetables, and remove cheese skin.
FRI- Wash your Fridge often (use diluted bleach and rinse). Separate raw foods from from cooked dishes.
DAY- Eat foods early before deadline day. Do not keek food too long, or cook at a high temperature
PAP- Cloths and sponges are listeria nests: better to use paper clothes during the pregnancy.
- Toxoplasmosis: a cat's parasite can be transmitted to humans. Rare meat can contaminate, and "eggs" present in catdroppings too (often eaten on contaminated raw salads). Pregnant women are not ill, but risk for the baby is significatn (visula or auditive defects, backwardness...). If your "toxo" serology is negative at the beginning of pregnancy, the test should be made each month. If it becomes positive, you have been contaminated: you must take antibiotics to protect the baby. To avoid contamination, some rules of hygiene, "CooWa-HaCat":
COO- COOK meat well-done (deep-freesing also kills toxoplasm)
WA- WASH and peel carefully fruits and vegetables
HA- Systematically whash your HANDS before meals (and before cooking !)
CAT- If you get a CAT, change and disinfect her litter every day, wearing gloves (not hazardous when dropped, toxoplasm "eggs" get infectious one day later)
- Pills: Careful with drugs, if you take some, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or read the note. Pregnancy might be a counter-indication.Vitamin A notably: it seems quite inoffensive, but too much vitamin A is dangerous for the baby (teratogenic). No risk with food, but prudence with pills: no need to fill yourself up with vitamins!
- Mercury: I explain above that eating fat fish twice a week improves baby brain development (sardina, mackerel, salmon, tuna). But do not eat fish too often, since "big" predator fishes like tuna also contain mercury (Hg). Because they are on the top of the food chain, they accumulate toxic mercury in their flesh: thus, 2-3 times a week is fine, more would be too much. You should NOT eat fresh tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin and grouper when you are pregnant. You should restrict to one meal per week: canned tuna, dogfish, grenadier or blue ling. P.Verger (INRA) thinks these big carnivorous fish contain too much mercury for the baby.
Corpet (french) , Hummus recipe , Taboule recipe , Gaspacho Recipe
Folate content in "folic" FoodsVitamin B9 or folic acid in foods, microgram per 100g
100 Spinach: fresh raw: 200 ; cooked: 150 ; deep-frozen then cooked: 120 ; canned: 100 mcg/100g
OK, I agree fresh leaves contain more folatesd. But after cooking: fresh, frozen, or canned are similar
70 Chickpea, canned : 70 => that's why Hummus is so good for you!
50 Broccoli: raw: 30-60 ; cooked:100 mcg/100g? (strange increase during cooking!)
40 Lettuce (green salad): 40 mcg/100g, much less than spinach!
20 Melon: 20 mcg/100g de Cucumis melo
Liver: loads of folate too in liver (e.g., chicken liver). Liver is also a good source of iron, well-absorbed
Vitamin D content in foodsVitamin D (cholecalciferol) in foods, microgram per 100g
10 Salmon cooked: 10 mcg/100g, one of the top food for vit.D
10 Mackerel cooked: 10 mcg/100g, as Salmon
7 Sardine canned: 7 mcg/100g, real convenient.
5 Tuna canned: 5 mcg/100g, convenient too (don't eat too much tuna: large fishes contain toxic mercury)
5 Sun: 10 minutes under a "good" sun (face+arms+hands) give approx. 5 mcg vitamin D
Some vit.D also found in egg yolk, liver, butter and cheese
Needs: We all need 5 micrograms vitamin D per day. A prenant or breastfeeding woman should recieve twice this dose (thus 10 mcg/d). Vitamin D is kept in one's fat and liver, no need to get it every days. Too much vit.D is toxic, but absolutely no risk with foods or sun.
Data Source: USDA food composition