mCareAfrica organized a twitter chat to educate its cherished followers on twitter about dieting during pregnancy. Dr. Adenortey Â from the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital was our resource person. Â Much of the discussion was centered on eating vegetables during pregnancy. He stated that a balanced diet is essential in pregnancy just as in the non pregnant state for women. A balanced diet Â should comprise the right amounts of dietary carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins and water. Most importantly, a pregnant woman needs a balanced diet to provide enough nutrients and energy for her baby to develop and grow properly and also to ensure her body is healthy enough to deal with the changes that are occurring.
When asked about the locally relevant Ghanaian vegetables for pregnant women, Dr. Adenortey Â advised that green leafy vegetables such as ‘kontomire’, lettuce and dandelion, carrots, tomatoes and red/green pepper are highly recommended due to their high content of folic acid, iron and other essential nutrients required for pregnant women. Also, high fibre foods such as whole grain cereals and bread; lean meat, eggs, beans/peas are encouraged as well as lots of fruits and vegetables and adequate fluids/water.
Dandelion is very known for its rich nutritional value. When Dr. Adenortey was asked whether pregnant women can drink dandelion juice with garlic? He answered in the affirmative. However, the raw leaves may have Â higher fibre content than a juice preparation.There are basically no peculiar restrictions to the local vegetables available except there are any allergies. Considering the time to eat dandelion(before or after the meal),Dr. Adenortey asserted that as far as vegetables are concerned, it doesn’t really matter if it is Â before meals or part of the main meal eg. salad. It is more of an issue of preference. He went on to state that there is really no limit on the amount to take when it comes to veggies.
Water, we know is good for everyone including pregnant women. We asked the doctor if there were any limitations regarding the amount that pregnant women should drink. He answered that pregnant women need to take a lot more water. Generally, at least 8 to 12 glasses of water per day is okay. However, they may take more depending on individual requirements and daily activities. Â
He concluded by emphatically advising that apart from the necessity of eating healthy during pregnancy, it is necessary that Â every pregnant woman be examined at the hospital regularly during scheduled antenatal visits where the health needs of the pregnant woman will be individualised and addressed.