Healthy Diet During Pregnancy
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, but especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Healthy eating keeps you feeling good and gives your baby the essential nutrients they need in the womb.
Overall, aim for a balanced diet, with an appropriate blend of all the 5 food groups:
Aim to drink plenty of water every day most town water contains fluoride, which helps your growing baby’s teeth develop strong enamel. Some water supplies, such as tank water, do not have fluoride.
You will probably find that you are more hungry than usual, but you don’t need to ‘eat for 2’ even if you are expecting twins or triplets. It is more important to concentrate on the quality of the food you eat rather than the quantity.
Eating healthily often means just changing the quantities of different foods you eat so that your diet is varied, rather than cutting out all your favourites. For example, if you have a healthy breakfast every day it is easier to avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar.
You should also avoid certain foods because they are not healthy or they can be dangerous for the baby.
Vitamin D And Pregnancy
Vitamin D is essential for your babyâs growth and development and your own health during pregnancy.
We get most of our vitamin D from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun produces vitamin D in the skin and is the best natural source of vitamin D. Only a small amount of our vitamin D intake comes from our diet â from foods such as eggs, oily fish, margarine and milks fortified with vitamin D.
Women who are at most risk of vitamin D deficiency:
- have dark coloured skin
- wear covering or concealing clothing for religious or other reasons
- spend much time indoors.
You may need a blood test at the beginning of your pregnancy to assess your vitamin D levels. If so, your doctor will arrange this. Depending on your results, you might need to take vitamin D supplements.
If you are considering taking vitamin D or any other supplements during pregnancy, always discuss it with your GP first.
Goals For Weight Gain
Weight gain goals are based on pre-pregnancy weight, height, age, and usual eating patterns. Every woman and every pregnancy is unique. Your healthcare provider can help you gain weight at a healthy rate throughout pregnancy.
A weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds is normal for women with a body mass index, or BMI, of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2 . BMI is one way to determine if you are at an appropriate weight. This tool can determine how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Women who are below healthy weight when they conceive should aim to gain about 28 to 40 pounds. Women with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 should gain no more than 15 to 25 pounds. Go to http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/ to calculate your individual BMI.
Women with a BMI over 30 kg/m2 should gain no more than 11 to 20 pounds. If you are in this category, a health care provider or registered dietitian can help you meet these recommendations in a healthy way. Aim to meet your calorie and nutrient needs, while maintaining regular physical activity. Weight loss during pregnancy is not advised.
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What To Eat During Pregnancy
Fresh food and home-cooked meals are ideal for pregnant women. Before consuming raw fruits and vegetables, they should be properly cleaned with warm water to get rid of any unwanted chemicals and microorganisms. The meals should be balanced. A balanced diet comprises the following in adequate proportions and quantities:
- Omega 3 fatty acid
- Minerals .
Nutrition For Expectant Moms
A healthy diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of water. The U.S. government publishes dietary guidelines that can help you determine how many servings of each kind of food to eat every day. Eating a variety of foods in the proportions indicated is a good step toward staying healthy.
Food labels can tell you what kinds of nutrients are in the foods you eat. The letters RDA, which you find on food labeling, stand for recommended daily allowance, or the amount of a nutrient recommended for your daily diet. When you’re pregnant, the RDAs for most nutrients are higher.
Here are some of the most common nutrients you need and the foods that contain them:
|meat, whole-milk dairy products, nuts, peanut butter, margarine, vegetable oils|
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If You Eat Healthy Drink Healthy Too
Water is a wonder drink. It addresses many different kinds of health issues and pregnancy is no exception. As much as possible, drink the recommended amount of water every day. Staying hydrated may help alleviate pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and nausea. In contrast, dehydration, especially if this occurs during your third trimester, can lead to contractions and pre-term labor. Hydrate with water but never with energy drinks.
Cut back on soda and caffeine intake. Switch to fruit drinks and juices as a substitute for soda and caffeine, but still try to limit the amount of fruit juices so you are not taking in too much sugar too quickly. Even better would be to eat a small serving of fruit to help satisfy the sugar or caffeine craving.
And by all means, avoid any kind of alcohol as this will impact your babys health. Even once the baby is born, youll want to follow these same precautions while breastfeeding. Continuing these precautions while breastfeeding is important because unsafe foods, like alcohol, can pass through the breast milk to the baby. We consider this the fourth trimester of pregnancy.
Are There Any Fruits A Person Should Avoid During Pregnancy
There is no particular fruit that pregnant women should avoid. However, it is essential for women to be aware of portion size. Some fruits have a high sugar content, and certain forms of fruit, such as juices and dried fruits, are often significantly higher in sugar and calories than their fresh counterparts.
Buying organic fruit will ensure that it has not come into contact with fertilizers and pesticides that could damage its quality. However, if organic fruit is not an option, non-organic fruit is still better than eliminating fruit from the diet altogether.
It is important to remove any pesticides and bacteria that might be present on fruit by washing it thoroughly before eating it. People should take other safety precautions by:
- removing areas of bruised fruit, which are more likely to contain bacteria
- storing fruit in a separate area of the fridge to any raw meat products
- avoiding precut melons
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What Should You Eat If Youre Struggling With Morning Sickness And Nausea
About 75 percent of expecting moms experience nausea, upset stomach or other morning sickness symptoms during the first three months of pregnancy. To try to ease the quease:
Fuel up with frequent mini meals every few hours instead of trying to force three big meals a day. Going too long without eating may actually make nausea worse, as can eating large portions.
Avoid spicy and very high fat foods, as these can lead to heartburn or stomach discomfort.
Stick with cold or room temperature bland foods when you’re feeling most nauseous, such as cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit, string cheese with nuts or a mini bagel with nut butter. Hot foods are more likely to emit odors that may make nausea worse.
Liquid or softly-textured meals may be better tolerated if your stomach feels upset. Try a homemade smoothie, oatmeal or pasta.
Keep dry, easy-to-eat snacks on your nightstand and as an emergency snack kit in your purse or work bag. Graham crackers, pretzels and low-sugar dry cereal are prime grab-and-go picks.
A Complement To Nutrition
Prenatal Vitamins: Although the main source of vitamins and nutrients needed during pregnancy should come from your diet, a daily prenatal vitamin can help fill small gapsjust in case you unintentionally do not get enough key nutrients. Prenatal vitamins should be taken up to three months before conception, if possible.Consult your healthcare provider about which supplement is best for you.REMEMBER a prenatal vitamin, or any other supplement can only complement a healthy diet during pregnancy.
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Dark Leafy Green Vegetables Are Rich In Nutrients And Fiber
Dark, leafy, green vegetables, like spinach, collard greens and broccoli, contain many important nutrients.
For example, one cup of raw spinach contains the following :
- Calories: 7
- Folate: 15% DV
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 41 mg
Consuming green, leafy vegetables has also been associated with larger birth weight and head circumference in infants .
If you cook the leafy greens, youll typically end up consuming more than if you eat them raw.
This can help boost the amount of fiber you eat, preventing constipation, which plagues at least 25% of pregnant women .
Eating leafy greens can add important nutrients such as folate to your dietary intake without adding many calories.
KEY POINT: Leafy green veggies, including broccoli, are packed with nutrients and have few calories.
How Much Should I Eat During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, people around you may encourage you to have extra food or have larger portions because youre eating for two. This is a common pregnancy myth and eating lots of extra food will not help your babys development during pregnancy.
In the first 6 months, most women do not need to eat any extra food to give their baby everything they need. The recommended daily calorie intake for a woman is around 2,000 calories a day. Once you get to the third trimester, you may need extra 200 calories, depending on how active you are.
Although calories can help us to understand how much energy we get from our food, its important to focus on having a healthy, balanced diet.
Our film can give you can idea of what a 200 calories snack might look like.
We have some ideas for healthy snacks that you can try to get your extra energy during the third trimester.
Pregnancy is not the time to be restrictive with food or to diet, as this can stop you and your baby getting the nutrients you need. If you have a high BMI or feel you need support with having a healthy diet, speak with your midwife about dietary and lifestyle advice to manage this safely in pregnancy.
There may be many reasons why you feel like you are unable to have a healthy diet during pregnancy, related to sickness or emotional wellbeing. If you feel like you are struggling, please contact your GP or midwife who can refer you to a nutritionist for extra support.
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How Much Sugar Can I Have
Bachmann advises pregnant patients to keep their free sugar intake under 30 grams . Free sugar is added sugar, which includes the sweetness in fruit juices, desserts and other foods. Sugar that comes naturally in foods, including sugar in the cells of fruits and vegetables, doesn’t count toward your intake because this type of sugar doesn’t have a negative impact on health, according to the British Heart Foundation.
For scale, a packet of sugar you’d put in your coffee is typically 4 grams of free sugar. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Cannoli” ice cream has 30 grams of sugar, or your total daily amount of free sugar. That’s why it’s especially important to make healthy swaps of your favorite foods — say, a juicy orange for dessert instead of a cookie.
This is a general example of how much a person should eat in pregnancy, but your own limit may depend on other factors, including whether you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Have A Healthy Diet In Pregnancy
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time but is especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow.
You do not need to go on a special diet, but it’s important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need.
It’s best to get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, but when you’re pregnant you need to take a folic acid supplement as well, to make sure you get everything you need.
There are also certain foods that should be avoided in pregnancy.
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Pregnancy Nutrition: Weight Change And Calories
Your body will gain weight during your pregnancy! As you watch your weight begin to increase, take it as proof that your body is nurturing your growing baby. By the time you are ready to give birth, your total blood volume will have increased by as much as 60%.Your breasts will have filled with milk. Your uterus will have grown to accommodate your baby and has filled with amniotic fluid. Your baby has grown to weigh 6 to 10 pounds . To accomplish all of these productive changes, your body needs approximately 300 extra calories per day during your 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy.Every woman should discuss her individual nutritional needs with her health care provider. Do not neglect your babys health by neglecting your own!
Myth: Now that you are pregnant, you should be eating for two.Fact: It is true that your nutrient needs increase, but energy requirements only increase by about 300 calories per day for the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
Myth: Gaining less weight during pregnancy will make delivery easier.Fact: Mothers who do not gain enough weight during pregnancy place their babies at risk for severe complications such as premature birth, which can cause lung and heart problems.
Myth: If you gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy, none of it will be fat gain.Fact: A healthy pregnancy includes fat storage. Your body uses this excess fat as energy during labor and breastfeeding.
Legumes Provides Folate And Calcium
Legumes are dry fruits that grow inside of a shell or a pod.
Beans are the most commonly recognize type of legume.
However, peas, alfalfa, and peanuts are also legumes.
Legumes provide calcium, protein, iron and folate.
Many women dont eat enough folate during pregnancy .
Adding legumes to their diet can boost their folate levels and prevent problems like low birth weight and neural tube defects in the baby.
Folate deficiency can also make the child more likely to contract diseases later in life .
Lets look at the nutrients in some common types of legumes.
One cup of dry roasted unsalted peanuts contains the following nutrients :
- Calories: 160
- Calcium: 46 mg
- Iron: 3.6 mg
- Folate: 256 mcg
Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from constipation. The fiber in legumes can help keep bowel movements regular and comfortable.
KEY POINT: Legumes provide vital nutrients that can help prevent birth defects and help women maintain regular bowel movements during pregnancy.
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Food Safety And Hygiene
Listeria and toxoplasmosis are uncommon infections that can be passed onto your unborn baby.
To reduce your risk of listeria:
- Wash your hands before preparing food.
- Ensure chopping boards and cooking utensils are clean when preparing food.
- Wash vegetables and fruit before eating.
- Avoid cold sliced meats, e.g. ham and salami, cold cooked chicken, pate, uncooked seafood, soft-serve ice-cream, pre-prepared salads and cheeses such as brie, camembert, feta and ricotta.
Listeria is killed by cooking, so make sure that when you reheat food, it is very hot.
To reduce your risk of toxoplasmosis:
- cook meat thoroughly
- wear disposable gloves if handling cat litter or gardening
- wash your hands after gardening or touching pets.
Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of changes in your body. Its normal to gain weight during pregnancy due to the growth of the baby, the whenua/afterbirth and fluid around the baby.
While there is no exact healthy weight gain, thin women may need to gain more weight and overweight women less. Talk to your midwife or specialist doctor if you are concerned about your weight gain.
You can expect to eat more food as the pregnancy progresses, but this does not mean that you need to eat for two. A good appetite and a steady weight gain, especially after the first 3 months, will usually mean that you are eating enough.
Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended because your baby may be less healthy, and it could also affect your health.
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Fish With Low Levels Of Mercury
Fish is a good source of lean protein, and some fish, including salmon and sardines, also contain omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that’s good for the heart. It is safe for pregnant women to eat 8 to 12 ounces of cooked fish and seafood a week, as long as it’s not a high-mercury fish , according to ACOG.
The Importance Of Folic Acid
The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Folic acid is a nutrient found in:
Some green leafy vegetables
Most berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits and fortified breakfast cereals
Some vitamin supplements.
Folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects, which are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects can lead to varying degrees of paralysis, incontinence and sometimes intellectual disability.
Folic acid is the most helpful during the first 28 days after conception, when most neural tube defects occur. Unfortunately, you may not realize that you are pregnant before 28 days. Therefore, your intake of folic acid should begin before conception and continue throughout your pregnancy. Your health care provider or midwife will recommend the appropriate amount of folic acid to meet your individual needs.
For example, women who take anti-epileptic drugs may need to take higher doses of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. They should consult with their health care provider when considering trying to conceive.
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