Being a pregnant woman, you have a few restrictions in place to help keep you and your baby safe and healthy. There’ll be instances when you’ll crave for certain no no foods, and you’ll need a lot of willpower to reject them.
The magic formula to a healthy body and a healthy baby depends on eating simple healthy foods during pregnancy. You’ll need a lot of nutrition, since much of the nutrients you take in goes to your baby. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you eat everything in you like. Even though you need to eat a little more, rules of moderate eating and variety still applies.
Eating Meat Products
Meat is essential for pregnant mothers, particularly lean meat since it’s low in fat and has high quantity of protein. Protein is a very important requirement for your baby’s growth and development, and it’s deficiency could lead to various birth defects. Having said that, you have to remember to eat lean meat and stay clear of any other meat that may include high amount of fat.
Meat is also rich in iron; a crucial component of blood. Without having an adequate blood supply, your baby won’t get sufficient oxygen, and his teeth and bones development may also be affected. Meat also maintains the placenta healthy, increases the baby’s metabolism, helps the development of breast milk etc.
Taking Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Eating fish that’s abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, is a good way to boost the development of your baby’s brain. Besides that, with the right amount of omega-3, your baby will sleep much better, and you’ll have less, if any, postpartum depression. Two distinct omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in seafood and fish are very important during pregnancy:
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): Numerous research stresses on taking lots of DHA during pregnancy, since the baby’s brain is made up primarily of DHA. Try to have at least 300mg of DHA each day during pregnancy.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA): EPA is very important in building all the structural cells within the body. Be sure to have no less than 220mg a day, this is basically the same quantity you would take even when you’re not pregnant.
The trick to finding lots of omega-3s during pregnancy is, concentrating on the right sources and avoiding sources with high mercury contents.The question is, how can you determine the best sources? Below is a list of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are low in mercury as well, they’re totally safe to eat while pregnant. Other sources of omega 3 essential fatty acids are, sunflower seeds, walnuts, as well as soybean, borage, and safflower oil etc.
|List Of Omega-3 Fish – Sources of DHA and EPA|
|Atlantic salmon, farmed, 85 grams cooked||1835mg|
|Coho salmon, farmed, 85 grams cooked||1,087mg|
|Anchovies, 56 grams canned||924mg|
|Sardines, 85 grams canned||835mg|
|Crab, 85 grams cooked||335mg|
|Flounder, 85 grams cooked||255mg|
|Clams, 85 grams cooked||241mg|
|Source: USDA nutrient database (www.nal.usda.gov)|
Eat Lots of Vegetables
Veggies are split into 5 groups, depending on their nutrient content. The vegetable list below is arranged according to the highest nutrient content. ‘Dark green veggies’, the highest and ‘other vegetables’, the lowest.
|Dark Green Vegetables:||Dark green leafy lettuce, spinach, broccoli, kale, romaine lettuce, turnip greens, watercress.|
|Orange Vegetables:||Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, acorn, hubbard squash and butternut.|
|Dry Beans/Peas:||Pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy beans, soybeans, white beans; split peas, lentils and tofu.|
|Starchy Vegetables:||Corn, potatoes, green lima beans, green peas.|
|Other Vegetables:||Cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, iceberg lettuce, celery, mushrooms, green and red peppers, asparagus, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers.|
Take Calcium, Iron and Vitamin D
Calcium: Calcium is critical for your baby’s developing heart, muscles, bones as well as nervous system. Calcium isn’t just a necessity for your baby, it is very important for the expecting mother as well. Adequate calcium levels lowers high blood pressure, reduces back pain, nullify muscle cramps, and also help reduce the labor pain. At the same time it’s best for the health of the bones – sustaining both yours and building your baby’s.
If you don’t have sufficient calcium in your daily diet, it will be extracted from your bones, causing you to be at greater risk of osteoporosis ( bones becoming brittle and fragile due to deficiency in calcium or vitamin D). Here are some of the highest Calcium, Vitamin D and Iron rich foods, however you should always consult with your doctor before you decide to eat them, some foods may be harmful. Click to enlarge the images below. (Source: Health AliciousNess.com) DV=Daily Value, IU= International Units
Vitamin D: While you’re expecting, you’ll need around 1200mg of calcium and 50mcg of vitamin D daily. If you’re already deficient in calcium and vitamin D, and you’re just starting, the calcium demand on the growing baby is only going to complicate matters for you. A growing fetus can extract sufficient calcium from the mother, even at the cost of getting it from your bones. Vitamin D can help you store the calcium.Therefore the excess calcium and vitamin D you take during pregnancy, are actually for protecting your health.
Iron: You’ll also need extra iron during pregnancy, because both you and the baby will have new red blood cells created each day. Typically you’ll need around 30mg of additional iron daily, during your pregnancy. Also keep in mind that during pregnancy, your blood count could easily go down since your body is generating more plasma (fluid) and relatively less red blood cells. This condition is known as dilutional anemia. Should you develop anemia, you must take iron supplement. Foods that are rich in iron include, red meat, fish, leafy green vegetables, cereals, whole grain breads etc.