In every culture, all over the world, even in obscure little towns and settlements, everyone has a theory about what a pregnant woman should, or should not eat. There seems to be no universally established diet for the "pregnant woman."
Some say one thing and in a different part of the world some say the opposite. For instance, in Italy, wine is encouraged or rather there's an ambivalence towards wine for a pregnant woman, in Ireland, Guinness is encouraged while you are pregnant, in Spain a little coffee is okay and so on.
I'll make it easy for you by giving you all I've read on general thoughts and practices and dietary instructions from all over the world.
Firstly, in Japan a pregnant woman is strongly advised to lose weight as fat accumulates in the vaginal walls making childbirth difficult. Amazing is not it? I've never heard that before honestly. Well let's get on with it.
No raw eggs and liver, no unpasteurized diary products, no marlin and swordfish, no raw fish and shellfish, go easy on coffee and tuna.
Korean women are encouraged to eat some types of fish. Inari-sushi (rice, mirim, tofu and sesame), Maki-sushi with fried prawn, Tamago-sushi rice topped with rolled omelet, whole little fish like, chirimenjako, nuts and seeds, lots of calcium for baby's growth, Folic acid also found in spinach, dried wakame, organ meats, egg yolk, beans and milk.
The Portuguese health ministry states that the following should be avoided during pregnancy:
Sweets, cakes, coffee, tea, alcohol, fizzy drinks, seafood, undercooked and raw meat, cheese made with unpasteurized milk. Decrease amount of spicy and salty food.
No alcohol, No smoking, Avoid soft cheese, wash vegetables very well before you eat them.
No alcohol, no tobacco, no raw eggs or meat (salmonella).
No alcohol, no unpasteurized cheese, avoid pâté and fois gras, no rare steaks.
No alcohol, no caffeine, no vitamin A, no raw milk, no raw or undercooked meat including Parma ham, no raw fish, smoked fish, no cheese especially chèvre, Brie, Camembert, soft blue cheese like Danish blue and Roquefort.
No alcohol and drugs.
Avoid caffeine as much as possible. Do not take more than 300mg of caffeine in a day.
Avoid active and passive smoking.
Avoid eating canned food that has preservatives which can harm the baby.
Do not eat papaya which contains the enzyme Papain. Research has shown that it acts like prostaglandin and oxytocin induces labor or strengtens labor contracts.
No tea with meals because tea reduces iron absorption.
Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables (ugu leaf, oha leaf, uziza leaf, spinach, onion leaf) and nuts.
When you conceive you are advised to eat at regular times, it's important to gain weight slowly as the pregnancy progresses so avoid sweets to minimize weight gain.
Ensure that you eat fruits everyday, and drink lots and lots of water, a glass of water in between every meal and every snack should do.
Lastly, omega 3 (DHA supplement) is very good for the developing baby; it increases intelligence. I can not overemphasis the importance of taking this supplement so I'll put it like this, the baby in your womb might be the one to discover the cure for cancer! So let's do all that we can to ensure that she's as strong and healthy as possible.