A gynaecologist at the Garki General Hospital, Abuja, has urged pregnant women to eat healthy meals to ensure healthy babies and healthy living after childbirth.
Dr Kenneth Ozoemena, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
“In as much as we advise pregnant women to eat healthy meals, they should eat the right thing, we advise them to eat well, but they must eat right food.
“Pregnant women need to realise that all stages of pregnancy require that they eat healthy meals, because the healthier they are, the easier the pregnancy and delivery period,” he said.
Ozoemena said it has been observed that some women consciously avoid foods to watch their weight.
“Many women erroneously believe that they should avoid gaining weight during pregnancy, believing that a small, underweight baby will be easier to deliver, this is a fallacy.
“You need to gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy to ensure that your baby develops properly.
“If you start your pregnancy with a normal body weight, then, it’s important to allow your body and the developing foetus and placenta to increase in weight by 11.5 to 16kg,” he advised.
On strange food cravings, Ozoemena said it has been observed that some pregnant women suffer from strange food cravings and are sometimes affected by eating perversions or pica.
He said pica was a compulsion for persistent ingestion of unsuitable substances like sand, asbestos, chalk and stones, among others, adding that these things have no nutritional value.
According to him, there is a connection between pica and iron-deficiency anaemia, stating that this could be avoided with consumption of healthy meals.
“In spite of the fact that we are now living in the 21st Century, many women still adhere to old-fashioned beliefs when it comes to eating during pregnancy.
“They avoid foods like eggs, meat, fish, milk, pork and liver, to name but a few.
“Such avoidances are, of course, detrimental to the health of both the mother and child,’’ he said.
Ozoemena said pregnant women should avoid the intake of sugary foods, adding that intake of sugar could lead to a situation whereby sugar crosses the placenta and increases the insulin level in the child.
He said that this could give rise to having big babies, leading to a situation where the woman would have a cut during childbirth. (NAN)