While a good diet is essential for everyone, it’s especially crucial for pregnant women since a proper, healthy diet can provide the fetus with the needed nutrients for growth and development. A diet which lacks in nutrients can negatively impact your baby’s health, leading to poor development, complications, and even premature birth.
Eating well can also help the mother keep blood pressure and blood sugar at an appropriate level, as well as help regulate her weight and even reduce and manage morning sickness.
So scroll down to see a list of nutrients and supplements you should add to your diet during your pregnancy to ensure both the health of yourself and your baby.
1. Folic Acid
Folic acid is a wonder maker when it comes to pregnancy. If you take the recommended dose of 400 micrograms of folic acid during and even prior to your pregnancy, it can significantly reduce the risk of birth defects for your baby’s brain or spinal cord. It’s very important to take it during the early stages of pregnancy since birth defects usually occur in the first 3-4 weeks.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
It has been found that Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the neurological and early visual development of the baby, as well as for the gestation time and birth weight. Proper intake of Omega-3 fatty acids helps to maintain a balanced production of the hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which help regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, nerve transmission, the inflammatory and allergic responses. You can get Omega-3 fatty acids from different types of low-mercury fish, beans, red meat, tofu, walnuts, flax seeds, spinach, and fortified cereals.
3. Vegetables And Fruits
Fruits and vegetables contain a large number of essential vitamins, nutrients, and are great sources of fiber, which all help make sure that the baby is healthy. Fruits like papaya, blueberries, and tomatoes are also great antioxidants and help fight the free radicals that can cause brain tissue damage.
4. Iron-Rich Foods
Iron is already essential for the human body, but even more crucial when it comes to pregnancy because your body needs it twice as much. Iron is crucial for the red blood cells which help to carry oxygen to your organs, and during your pregnancy, the fetus as well.
Sources of iron are: dark, leafy greens, like spinach, collard greens, and kale; dried fruits; beans, peas, and lentils; beets; broccoli; potatoes and more.
5. Protein-Rich Foods
Taking in an extra 10 grams of protein every day during your pregnancy can enhance baby growth, as well as better development of the baby’s new cells and hormones. But also take in protein naturally, not just through supplements. Foods like lean meats, dairy products, eggs, fish, and legumes are all rich in protein.
6. Iodine-Rich Foods
Iodine is very healthy for the development of the fetus during pregnancy, and essential for brain development. It is recommended to take 220 mcg of iodine daily while you’re carrying, and 290 during breastfeeding. Iodine helps to keep the thyroid gland function normally and regulates the hormones which control your metabolism, heart rate, body temperature.
Choosing the right foods is also important to help maintain a healthy weight and prevent excessive weight gain. While it’s normal to put on some weight while you are pregnant, putting on too much weight can lead to premature delivery.
It’s also just as crucial to know which foods to avoid while you are pregnant – click here to see a list of them.
Finally, while the diet you choose while you are pregnant is crucial for the baby’s health and development, it’s just as equally important to interact with your baby while they are in the womb – especially during the last stages. That’s because the baby starts to make out and recognize sounds, and after they are born it can help them recognize the mother and bond with her better.