Pregnancy is the time when every woman must have a healthy and nutritious diet. However, pregnancy is not a license to overeat. A pregnant woman only needs an additional 300 calories a day. Three hundred calories sound like a lot, but it’s about the amount in two large apples.
Nausea is a very common problem during pregnancy. So one should look for foods that are rich in vitamin B6 and zinc, as nausea is linked with deficiencies in these nutrients. Try wholemeal bread or ginger in any form. Even if you are vomiting try to eat as healthily as you can. Bananas, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains are rich in vitamin B6 and will help to prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping. Pregnant women should avoid alcohol, smoking, undercooked meat; unwashed vegetables and salads; unpasteurized foods and cheese.
During pregnancy consume a variety of foods to make sure your baby gets the widest array of nutrients possible. Some must have nutrients during pregnancy are as follows:
It is recommended that women take a supplement of 400mcg folic acid per day from the time they stop contraception until the twelfth week of pregnancy. This is to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Foods rich in folic acid or folate include green leafy vegetables, pulses, oranges, grapefruit, spinach, lentils, broccoli etc.
Your body needs more iron when you are pregnant because Iron-deficiency i.e. anemia during pregnancy can cause fatigue in mom and possible problems for the baby. “Some studies show severe iron deficiency anemia in mom is linked to low birth weights and iron-deficient infants,” says Tracy.
Foods rich in iron include lean meat, fish, pulses, dark green leafy vegetables and fortified bread and breakfast cereals. Have foods rich in vitamin C (e.g. a glass of orange juice) at the same time as this will help you absorb the iron. Some women need iron supplements during pregnancy.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that women in early pregnancy who took a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin regularly reduced their risk of preeclampsia by 45%. Preeclampsia, which causes elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine, is a leading cause of premature delivery and fetal death. Eat foods to get vitamins A to K in your diet.
Protein is the structural material of every cell in your baby’s body but extra protein is not included in your prenatal vitamin, so you’ll need to get it from food.
Protein rich foods include Beef, soy, dairy products, chicken, fish, pork, eggs etc.
Your baby gets the calcium necessary for healthy bones and teeth from your bones, so be sure to fit it in (your prenatal vitamin doesn’t contain the amount you need every day). So don’t risk yourself for osteoporosis later.
Foods rich in calcium include yogurt, almonds, milk, cheese, fortified soy milk etc.
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA):
DHA is important forbrainandeyedevelopment. Fish harbors this omega-3 fatty acid, but there’s a catch. Methylmercury, a heavy metal that’s toxic to a developing baby’s neurological system is also found in fish. So, Safer DHA-rich sources include salmon and fortified eggs, algae, fish oil.
It helps ward off constipation and hemorrhoids that often plague women during pregnancy. Fiber-rich foods will also keep you feeling full and satisfied. Therefore a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is recommended to avoid constipation.
Fiber rich foods include whole-grain cereals, bread, fruits (such as apples and pears with skin, berries, oranges), vegetables (such as potatoes with skin, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes) etc.
Fat is necessary for the proper development of baby’s brain. Fat is also a source of energy and it helps transport vitamins through your body.
Healthy fats are found in nuts, avocados, salmon, olive oil, sunflower oil etc.
Throughout pregnancy drink plenty of fresh water to avoid dehydration and improve your digestion.