Healthy pregnancy diet and proper nutrition during pregnancy help to ensure that your baby gets the best start so far.
The best healthy pregnancy diet is a balanced diet providing adequate amounts of the following:
- Vitamins and minerals
- Healthy types of fat
When you take a prenatal multivitamin, it helps to ensure that you get the basic requirements. Vitamin-packed and fresh foods, on the other hand, will help your baby get the best start in life.
What Constitutes A Healthy Pregnancy Diet?
A healthy pregnancy diet contains just much of the same balance of minerals, vitamins, and also nutrients as a healthy diet in general. But the difference in a diet for pregnancy is that you need higher amounts.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women are recommended to consume an extra 300 calories over their normal intake requirements.
You should also avoid dieting and any urge to binge eat during pregnancy. The key to eating healthy foods during pregnancy is in moderation.
Complex carbohydrates are also important during pregnancy. You can eat complex carbohydrates whenever possible. They include the following:
- Whole-grain bread and pastas
You should also stay away from nutritionally deficient carbohydrates like the simple carbohydrates:
- White bread
For a healthy pregnancy diet, consume four servings of protein daily. The American Pregnancy Association made a recommendation between 75 and 100 grams of protein daily. More protein may be recommended by your doctor if your pregnancy is considered high risk.
Eating vegetables has never been wrong. During pregnancy, eat about three or more daily servings of green and yellow vegetables, containing significant amounts of:
- Vitamin A
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- And trace minerals
Also, include four more servings daily. And they should come from fruits and non-green or -yellow vegetables. They provide:
Grains and legumes
Whole grains and legumes, like beans and dried peas, plus other healthy carbohydrates like fruit and starchy vegetables should make up nine or more servings daily. They are rich in the B vitamins and trace minerals, like magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Eating grains and legumes as part of your pregnancy foods helps in nourishing your body with various B vitamins like folate, thiamin (vitamin B-1), niacin and riboflavin (vitamin B-2). These vitamins help your growing baby in the development of about every part of the body. Intake of folate also decreases the risk of having a baby with spina bifida.
Some fats are unhealthy, and cannot be considered as healthy foods. High-fat foods include saturated fats, fried foods, and also packaged products which contain trans fats. During pregnancy, it is important you limit these foods to less than four servings in a day. The essential fatty acids are very important in the pregnancy diet plan and include omega-3-fatty acids. Some fats are considered healthy foods, and the examples of foods with healthy fats include:
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin and sunflower seed
- Olive oil
- Fatty fish
These healthy foods nourished the body with the right types of fats for the proper development of your baby’s brain.
Pregnancy Diet | What Vitamins Do I Need During Pregnancy?
Supplements can be taken during pregnancy. And if you decide to take supplements during your pregnancy, ensure you read the labels of every bottle.
Calcium is an important vitamin, which helps to ensure we get strong bones and teeth. It is also critical for the proper development and function of the heart and other muscles in the body, including the blood clotting system. The developing fetus needs a huge supply of calcium during development.
Since the pregnant woman requires about 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, milk and other dairy products are great sources of calcium. Cooked beans, canned fish with bones, cooked dark leafy greens and calcium-set tofu, also provide calcium.
Chromium is also an important vitamin necessary for the proper development of your baby. Taking about 50 micrograms daily is proper during pregnancy. Some healthy foods containing significant amounts of chromium include the following:
- Whole-wheat bread
- Wheat germ
- Peanut butter
Taking adequate copper in your pregnancy diet helps to stimulate the growth of cells and tissues, hair growth, and also the general metabolism of the body. Copper is also a critical component of the major system of your baby: the heart and circulatory system, the nervous system and also the skeletal frame. Taking two to three milligrams of copper is recommended in a day. If you eat a healthy pregnancy diet and also take a multivitamin, you are sure to get the amount your body needs.
Folic acid is also very important; it helps to stimulate the formation of red blood cells and the production of some important chemical signals in the nervous system.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists it is important you take 400 micrograms daily before you conceive and at least 600 micrograms daily during pregnancy.
Folic acid can also be found in healthy foods like:
- Chicken liver
- Cooked green leafy vegetables
- Wheat germ
- Lentils and also kidney beans
- Fortified cereal
Iodine is essential during pregnancy. It is important for the proper development and functioning of the thyroid gland and regulation of the body’s metabolism. Iodine can also be gotten from the following:
- Fluoridated drinking water
- Iodized (table) salt
- Brewer’s yeast
Iron is an important element in most of the processes in the body. Since few women get enough Iron in their diet, supplements are important for most women. Oftentimes, women who lack iron become anemic. And Iron-deficiency anemia is one of the most common forms of anemia. This form of anemia can be regulated through iron supplements.
The best dietary source of iron is in the red meat, such as beef. And a daily intake of 27 milligrams of iron is needed for pregnant women.
Magnesium is important for the development of the teeth and bones. It is also important for the regulation of blood-sugar levels, and the proper functioning of body proteins. Magnesium is also important for the growth and repairs of tissues, and may also play a role in reducing preterm delivery. The needed daily intake for pregnant women is 300 milligrams. The following are some of the best sources of magnesium:
- Seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin
- Wheat germ
Potassium affects blood pressure regulation, cellular function, fluid balance, and also the proper functioning of the nerve and muscles. Most physicians agree that a daily requirement of at least 2,000 milligrams is needed during pregnancy. High levels of potassium are present in healthy foods such as:
- Meats, Milk
- Watermelons, oranges
- Dark leafy greens
- Legumes, grains
Other important vitamins and minerals include:
- Phosphorus, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamine (B1), Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Zinc
- Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin D