Good Nutrition During Pregnancy is of the utmost importance. Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much. It means that the foods you eat are the main source of nutrients for your baby. A balanced diet during pregnancy is critical to the baby’s growth and development. In order to get all of the nutrients needed during pregnancy it is important to eat a variety of foods. Below is a list of vital nutrients to include during pregnancy, and foods to watch out for.
Carbs are the body’s main source of energy to maintain good nutrition during pregancy. Carbs help support growth and development throughout pregnancy. Choose carbs with more protein and fiber like legumes, starchy veggies, nuts, seeds, berries and yogurt. Avoid sodas, juices and refined carbs like cakes, cookies, white breads and pastries. One way to curb those sugar cravings is to make sure mom never feels too hungry and the baby is getting enough nutrients by having small frequent meals.
Not having enough protein during pregnancy can lead to increased risk of low birth weight, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. A mother’s need for protein increases throughout the pregnancy. If you are experiencing low energy, hunger pangs, sugar cravings or headaches, that could be a sign that you are not getting enough protein. It is also important to strive for variety when it comes to protein. This can include fish/seafood for omega 3’s, red meat for iron, bone broth for glycine and organ meats (kidney and liver) for vitamin B12.
A baby’s brain is 60% fat, formed from scratch, that is why great nutrition during pregnancy is so important. Fat doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels. Avocado, nuts and seeds, nut butters, eggs yolks, fish oil, walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds are all great sources of dietary fat.
Calcium helps to build baby’s bones and teeth. It can also help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Dairy foods, kale broccoli, bok choy, edamame, almonds, and figs are all good sources of calcium. Check out these great tips for obtaining good nutrition during your pregnancy.
Iron helps move blood and oxygen from the mother’s body to the babies. Liver, lean red meat, poultry, fish, iron-fortified cereals, lentils, vegetables and pumpkin seeds are all good sources of iron.
Folate/Folic acid is important for vital growth and development. Prenatal vitamins, fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, dried beans and peas are all good sources of folate/folic acid.
Choline helps with the development of the baby’s brain and memory. Liver, organ meats, eggs, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, collards, oysters, asparagus, brussel sprouts, bok choy and fish are all good sources of choline.
Fatty acids also help with the development of the baby’s brain. Seafood, grass fed beef and eggs are all good sources of fatty acids.
Vitamin A is important for development of the baby’s lung and liver development. Butter, fish, sweet potato, carrots, kale, collards, turnip greens, butternut squash, cantaloupe, dried apricots, tuna and mango are all good sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin D supports healthy bone development for the baby, and most moms-to-be are deficient in vitamin D. Salmon, eggs, dairy, strawberries, potatoes, green beans and lima beans are all good sources of vitamin D.
Foods to Watch Out For:
During pregnancy, the body is more prone to become infected. This means that there are certain foods that we should limit or avoid.
- Deli meat and soft cheeses are often listed as foods to avoid because of the risk of listeria, but the FDA estimates Listeria infection to be 1 in 830000 deli meat servings and 1 in 5 million soft cheese servings.
- Eggs are sometimes listed as a food to avoid because of salmonella, but research shows as little as 1 in 12,000-30,000 eggs contain salmonella.
- Swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tuna are high in mercury and should be avoided. Other fish are safe during pregnancy and can be a great source of nutrients.
- Caffeine should be limited to 200 mg per day. This translates to two 8 oz. cups of coffee or 6 oz dark chocolate.
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For more tips during your pregnancy check out the blog Rookie Moms for all their wonderful tips and tricks.