During pregnancy, a woman’s body needs to be as healthy as it can be. Hence, having a proper, balanced diet is a YES. A pregnant woman needs additional minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. In particular, she has to get extra 300 to 500 calories per day once her baby reaches the second trimester. Poor diet negatively affects the baby’s development. Plus the fact that it increases the mother’s chance of getting gestational diabetes and other complications.
So if you’re pregnant, start eating nutritious foods that will help you and your developing baby stay healthy. Besides, good diet will allow you to lose your pregnancy weight after you give birth sooner.
Here are 13 foods you should eat when you’re pregnant:
1. Dairy Products
As your baby grows inside you, you need to consume additional protein and calcium. Dairy products, such as yogurt, are super beneficial for you. Specifically, greek yogurt does not only provide calcium, but also probiotic bacteria that aid in digestion. It is also more friendly to those who are lactose intolerant than any other dairy products. Furthermore, probiotic supplements reduce the probability of complications like allergies, preeclampsia, vaginal infections, and gestational diabetes.
Eating legumes during pregnancy can do wonders for your baby. These plants are very rich in calcium, folate (B9), fiber, iron, and protein. Specifically, folate (B9) is super important during the first trimester. It lessens the risk of your baby having brain and spinal cord defects. Unfortunately, most pregnant women do not get sufficient amount of it. So put in more effort to include legumes in your daily diet. Just to be sure, you can take folic acid supplements too.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a plant compound which your body converts into Vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for your baby’s cell growth and development. This is why you should increase your vitamin A intake by at least 10%. However, you must avoid consuming large amounts of animal-based sources of Vitamin A. In excess, these types of vitamin A cause toxicity.
Omega-3 fatty acids are very important for the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. Luckily, you can get omega-3 through eating salmon. Also, you can get vitamin D from it. Nevertheless, it is best to limit your salmon intake to two times a week only because mercury and other contaminants may be found in this fish as well.
Eggs are such an amazing healthy food! They contain almost all the nutrients you need. For one, eggs are an excellent source of choline which is needed for various body processes like brain development. Therefore, an insufficient amount of choline during pregnancy may boost the probability of your baby getting neural tube defects.
6. Broccoli and Dark, Leafy Greens
If you want to add calcium, folate, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K in your diet, eat lots of broccoli and dark green, leafy vegetables! Truly, consuming these can help you with your digestion problems during pregnancy. And aside from what’s mentioned, these veggies are also rich in antioxidants.
7. Lean Meat
Of course, you need to eat meat! Lean beef, pork, and chicken meats are superb sources of high-quality protein. Moreover, lean meats are rich in iron, which your body needs in high amounts during pregnancy. To be specific, iron is used by red blood cells in order to deliver oxygen to every cell in our body. And since your blood volume is in increasing now that you’re pregnant, you need more iron too.
8. Fish Liver Oil
Fish liver oil is mostly often made from cod. It is abundant in EPA and DHA, which are omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary for your baby’s brain and eye development while inside your womb. Aside from this, fish liver oil is rich in vitamin D. This vitamin decreases the risk of preeclampsia, which is a complication characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of hands and feet, and protein found in urine.
Berries are considered to be a great snack for pregnant women. Loaded with water and fiber, they give flavorful nutrition with relatively few amounts of calories. Berries are also packed with vitamin C which helps your body absorb iron and boosts your immunity. And even though berries taste sweet, they are treated as low-GI foods. Thus, your blood sugar levels won’t be a problem when you consume them.
10. Whole Grains
Since being pregnant requires you to take in more calories, consuming whole grain foods can help you with it. Whole grains are packed with fiber, magnesium, protein, and B vitamins.
Avocados are a fruit that contains healthy fats, folate, and potassium. Hence, they are a great addition to a pregnant woman’s diet. The healthy fats assist in your baby’s skin, brain and tissue buildup, while folate prevents development of neural tube defects. Potassium, on the other hand, helps relieve you from leg cramps. They are also rich in fiber and vitamins B, C, E, and K.
12. Dried Fruit
A serving of dried fruit can already fill most of your daily recommended intake of various vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, and potassium. It is as nutritious as the fresh fruit, but only smaller and without all the water in it. Particularly, prunes are fiber-rich fruits which act as natural laxatives that may help in relieving constipation. However, take note that dried fruits usually have big amounts of sugar in them. Thus, always eat them in moderation.
You need to stay hydrated now that you are pregnant because your blood volume is increasing up to 1.5 liters. Once dehydrated, you may feel some of these symptoms: anxiety, bad mood, headaches, reduced memory, and tiredness. It is therefore advised that pregnant women should at least drink 2 liters of water per day. Always drink when you are thirsty and until you have quenched it. Don’t forget that you can also get water from fruits, vegetables, and other beverages.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, whatever you eat during pregnancy may affect both you and your baby’s well-being. Choose to eat nutritious foods to increase the chance of having a healthy baby.