Parenting Lesson 4 - Beginning the journey (trimester 1) - Part II

Topics covered in this lesson-

  1. What are the precautions I should take while pregnancy?

  2. What and how should I eat during my pregnancy?

  3. Can I use Alcohol or smoke during pregnancy?

  4. Is tea and coffee okay during pregnancy?

  5. What foods I should not eat during pregnancy?

What are the precautions I should take while pregnancy?

Some important things you should do during your pregnancy include:

● Avoid all alcohol and tobacco.

● Avoid exposure to cleaning solvents, pesticides, lead and mercury.

● Eat a balanced diet that includes folic acid, iron and calcium.

● Maintain safe travel habits, such as correct seat belt usage.

● Set limits for yourself to reduce stress.

● Get enough sleep. Aim for six to nine hours a day.

● Exercise regularly.

● Don’t take any medicine unless your doctor approves it.

● Steer clear of vigorous activity that could involve a risk of falling or overheating.

● Don’t eat unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses, fish high in mercury, or raw or undercooked foods including fish and eggs.

● Stay away from heavy lifting and bending.

● Don’t take hot baths or use saunas. High temperatures can be harmful to the fetus or lead you to faint.

● Stay away from radiation. X-rays should be avoided during pregnancy.

It is always recommended that you discuss do's and don'ts with your doctor to determine a list of suggestions specific to your pregnancy.

What and how should I eat during my pregnancy?

Eating a balanced and varied diet makes sure you have all the nutrients you and your baby need during your pregnancy. This advice is important for everyone – including your family and partner! There are some important things you need to know about which foods are good for you and your baby and which foods you should avoid. Try to avoid eating food that has lots of sugar and salt, and choose foods from each of these groups every day – they are all important for your health now and after your baby is born. A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, but especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Healthy eating keeps you feeling good and gives your baby the essential nutrients they need in the womb. Overall, aim for a balanced diet, with an appropriate blend of all the 5 food groups:

A. vegetables and legumes

B. breads and cereals

C. milk, yoghurt and cheese

D. meat, poultry, fish and alternatives

E. fruit

Foods containing protein help the baby grow. Meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, cheeses, nuts, beans and legumes are all good sources of protein. Aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water everyday. You will probably find that you are more hungry than usual, but you don’t need to ‘eat for two’ — even if you are expecting twins or triplets. Have a healthy breakfast every day because this can help you to avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar. Eating healthily often means just changing the amounts of different foods you eat so that your diet is varied, rather than cutting out all your favourites.

Can I use Alcohol or smoke during pregnancy?

No, Drinking and Smoking both are to be completely avoided during preganncy.

Research has shown that Prenatal exposure to smoking and alcohol increases the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Such Children are prone to have neuronal damage, lower heart beat, etc.

So just stay clear of both drinking and smoking, including passive smoking.

Is tea and coffee okay during pregnancy?

Yes, you can enjoy your cup of tea or coffee. However it is recommended to limit your caffeine intake to 200 mg or less if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Depending on the type and preparation method, this is equivalent to about 1–2 cups of coffee or about 2–4 cups of brewed tea per day.

The regular consumption of more than 2 cups of coffee and 4 cups of tea has been associated with premature birth and low birth weight babies. You also need to watch for caffeine from other sources such energy drink. You should avoid certain herbal teas during pregnancy, including those made with chicory root, licorice root or fenugreek. Instead, consider caffeine-free beverages, such as water, decaf coffee and safe caffeine-free teas.

What foods I should not eat during pregnancy?

Eating some foods and drinks during pregnancy may increase the risk of harm to you and/or your baby.

Raw or undercooked meat

Avoid undercooked meat, especially sausages or minced meat. Be careful to cook them thoroughly so there’s no trace of pink or blood. It’s safest to eat well-cooked meat when you’re pregnant.

Unpasteurised milk and dairy products

If you only have access to unpasteurised milk, boil it before using.

Liver and other foods containing vitamin A

Avoid liver and liver products. It's not safe to take multivitamins containing vitamin A or fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil.

Certain cheeses

Avoid: mould-ripened soft cheeses, such as brie, camembert and others with a similar rind, including goats' cheese

Undercooked ready meals

It’s important to follow the cooking instructions on the pack of any ready meals you eat. Also, check that the meal is piping hot all the way through before you eat it.


It's safest to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy, especially in the first three months. If you do choose to drink after that, keep it to a maximum of one or two units, no more than once or twice a week.


Drinking a lot of caffeine in pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage and low birth weight. Caffeine is found in tea and coffee, cola and other soft drinks and chocolate

You should limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day during your pregnancy.

Certain kinds of fish

Fish is good for you and you should aim to eat at least two portions a week, including one portion of oily fish, such as fresh tuna, mackerel or sardines. However, there are some types of fish you should avoid and some you should limit:

Avoid shark, swordfish and marlin as they have high levels of mercury, which could affect your baby’s nervous system.

Limit tuna to no more than two fresh steaks or four medium cans of tinned tuna a week because it also has high levels of mercury.

Limit oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, pilchards) to no more than two portions a week as they contain pollutants.