Expert highlights importance of eating habits during pregnancy

During the gestational period, it is common to have doubts about what pregnant women can or cannot eat to favor fetal development and ensure women’s health. Therefore, the Ministry of Health (MS) brought a guide with dietary recommendations for pregnant women.

Among the recommendations indicated, the main ones are to include the consumption of fruits and vegetables daily and avoid ultra-processed foods. The nutritionist specializing in maternal and infant, Patrícia Campos, explains how these foods can directly affect fetal formation. “Specific foods are essential during pregnancy due to their high concentrations of nutrients. Among them, we can highlight citrus fruits such as orange, tangerine, lemon, which are sources of vitamin C, antioxidants and act in the reduction of heavy metals and also in the absorption of iron, contributing to the prevention of anemia. Oilseeds, rich in magnesium, act in the prevention of pre-eclampsia, cramps, cerebral palsy, diabetes and hypertension.”

According to the nutritionist, avoiding unhealthy foods, such as soft drinks, instant noodles and sweets, is essential for the baby’s development. “The more we remove these foods that are harmful to our health and to the health of the fetus, the healthier it will develop”, she explains.

In addition, Patrícia says that healthy eating habits during pregnancy, lactation and early childhood have long-term effects on the child’s health. “A balanced diet, with the amount of proteins, minerals and nutrients needed will provide a healthier development of the baby. It is at this point that we determine various parameters for development in early childhood and adulthood,” she emphasizes.

The nutritionist also emphasizes the importance of healthy eating as an ally of the health of the pregnant woman, “taking care of the nutritional status of the pregnant woman so that the mother is not deprived of nutrients either, avoiding some diseases such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.”

“Gestational diabetes is caused by changes in blood glucose levels and the inability to produce insulin. It can cause several changes in the formation of the baby, such as heart disease, jaundice and increased risks of childhood obesity. In pregnant women, it can increase the risk of having preeclampsia, rupture of the sac early. The treatment is a balanced diet, with the intake of foods with a low glycemic index and richer in fiber”, explains the nutritionist.

Patrícia also explains that preeclampsia, one of the risks of diabetes, is caused by the
by changes in blood pressure. She warns of the symptoms: “In addition to the altered pressure, you can have more serious symptoms such as seizures and swelling, which can lead to the death of both the mother and the baby. The causes of high blood pressure during pregnancy can be related to food The only way to prevent eclampsia and pre-eclampsia is to have a more balanced diet, avoiding excess weight gain, reducing the consumption of salt and foods rich in sodium such as sausages and processed foods.”

The banker and resident of the city of Riacho Fundo, in Brasília, Flavia Braga explains that she sought medical attention to change her diet as she was worried about the risk of developing gestational diabetes. “I was predisposed to diabetes, my mother is diabetic. And my blood sugar before getting pregnant was already high. I cut out almost all sweets and soda to avoid risk during pregnancy. Apart from these foods, all my other exams had good rates”, she says.

The situation was different for shopkeeper Joana dos Santos, 46, who lives in the city of Ceilândia, also in Brasília. In 2009, she says that she went through a risky pregnancy, “during my second pregnancy, I wasn’t very careful with my diet. It was an excess of margarine, salt in the food, cookies (industrialized). It gave me high blood pressure.”

Due to pre-eclampsia, Joana explains that the baby was born premature, at 7 months old and weighing one kilo, but it developed well and is healthy. Today, she says that she can no longer get pregnant due to hypertension.