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.
What Foods Should Women Eat While Pregnant
“Foods rich in folate, iron, iodine, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3s are key during pregnancy,” Tao says. In fact, according to a , a woman’s need for folate increases by at least 50 percent during pregnancy, which is why it’s important to consume folate through food and/or prenatal vitamins.
Folate helps with the synthesis of nucleic acid, which works to prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus. The CDC recommends all women of reproductive age get 400 micrograms per day of folic acid. In addition, it’s important to note the body cannot synthesize omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Per a study, Tao noted “it’s important that a pregnant woman is ingesting enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to transfer to her baby.”
So what exactly are the best foods pregnant women should incorporate into their diets?
Spinach: Tao noted that just a 1/2 cup of cooked spinach contains 33 percent of your daily value of folate, which is a very sufficient amount for a pregnant woman. Spinach also contains a high dose of iron, in this case, 17 percent daily value for 1/2 cup.
Asparagus: Just four spears of asparagus contain 22 percent of the daily recommended value of folate, 15 percent daily value of iron, 10 percent daily value of potassium, 19 percent daily value of fiber, and 4 percent daily value of calcium, Tao says. A pure home run when it comes to nutrient intake for a pregnant woman, if you ask us!
What Lifestyle Diets Are Ok To Follow While Pregnant
In addition to incorporating certain foods into their everyday lives, some women may have questions about if following certain lifestyle diet plans that are typically designed for weight loss could have negative effects on their pregnancy. Both Tao and Lanzillotto recommend checking in with a nutritionist, registered dietitian, and/or your doctor before following any specific diet while pregnant. Here is a bit more detail on different diets during pregnancy.
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Starchy Foods In Pregnancy
Starchy foods are an important source of energy, some vitamins and fibre, and help you to feel full without containing too many calories. They include bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, maize, millet, oats, yams and cornmeal. If you are having chips, go for oven chips lower in fat and salt.
These foods should make up just over a 3rd of the food you eat. Instead of refined starchy food, choose wholegrain or higher-fibre options such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or simply leaving the skins on potatoes.
Do I Need To Prepare And Cook Food Differently When Im Pregnant
Its important to be careful about food preparation and safety during pregnancy. Food poisoning is generally caused by contamination of food with certain bacteria or viruses. Sometimes its easier to suspect food has been contaminated because it smells off or looks different to what it should. But its not always obvious that food may not be safe. When preparing food, you should always:
- defrost frozen meat, especially poultry, in the fridge or in the microwave
- wash your hands before preparing food and eating
- use different cutting boards for vegetables and meat
- wash benches, cutting boards and utensils with hot, soapy water
- change dishcloths frequently if they smell, this is a sign of contamination
- cook food thoroughly and dont eat raw or rare meats or fish
- reheat foods to at least 60° Celsius and until its steaming hot
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What If I Have Other Concerns About My Diet
Some women may be lactose intolerant, they cant fully digest lactose in dairy products. Others are unable to eat things like gluten due to Celiac Disease. Your provider can help you plan your diet or advise you take certain supplements. Other helpful tips for healthy eating are:
- For lactose intolerant women, calcium can be found in other foods like seeds, nuts and soy. There are also lactose-free milks, cheeses and other dairy products.
- For women with Celiac Disease, many gluten-free options can be found in grocery stores and include a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats potatoes, poultry and beans.
Last reviewed April, 2020
Benefits Of Eating Fruit During Pregnancy
When youre pregnant, its important to eat nutritious food and avoid empty calories. In fact, if you eat mostly junk food during your pregnancy, you may be setting up your baby for a lifelong preference for fat and sugar, according to a 2013 study.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with nutrients. When you add a variety of them to your diet, youll likely get most of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you and your baby need.
Eating fruits and vegetables also helps prevent constipation, a common symptom during pregnancy. Get thee to a produce aisle and you wont regret it.
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Dealing With Those Quirky Hankerings
No one really knows why pregnancy cravings occur, but theyâre not generally thought to be caused by food deficiencies. If anything, pregnancy hormones could be the culprit, as cravings tend to be particularly strong during the first trimester and pass after that. Thereâs no reason to avoid foods you crave if you eat in moderation. You might find yourself craving non-food items, such as laundry starch or clay. This is a condition called pica. If you crave nonfood items, be sure to consult your healthcare provider.
What Should My Macros Be When Pregnant
Weight gain is a normal part of pregnancy, and increased calories are a necessity.
However, the eating for two mindset can sometimes lead to unhealthy and unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy.
Excessive weight gain can lead to complications such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, back pain, and obesity after pregnancy.
When pregnant, you are eating to support a developing fetus.
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Want Something Savory Try Hard
When youre feeling in the mood for something savory and filling, eggs are a good choice. Thats because yolks are an excellent source of choline, a nutrient thats vital for your babys brain development. Cook a batch of hard-boiled eggs or whip up deviled eggs to have on hand for whenever hunger strikes. Just make sure the eggs are cooked all the way through to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Foods To Eat And Avoid During Pregnancy
Its well known that a mothers diet during pregnancy is very important to the health of her baby. Expecting mothers need to consume more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are helpful for a fetus growth and development. However, there are also some foods pregnant women should avoid.
UC Davis Health registered dietitian Katherine Stone shares foods to eat and avoid during pregnancy:
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What Foods Should I Limit During Pregnancy
Processed foods tend to be high in sugar, fat and salt. Although they can taste good and are often convenient, they dont meet the daily requirements for nutrition. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that during pregnancy, you should limit the amount of foods that contain saturated fat, added salt and sugars as well as alcohol.
When You Should Avoid Certain Foods
Some foods are best avoided when youre pregnant. These include foods that have been shown to have harmful effects on the fetus. These include some herbs and spices, alcohol, tobacco, foods with additives, and foods high in sugar and salt. Its important to remember that your body is changing and youll likely feel different during your pregnancy. Its important to make healthy food choices and eat a balanced diet. Most importantly, make sure you get enough protein, iron, and calcium.
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What About Intermittent Fastingis It Ok To Follow While Pregnant
Like the diets discussed prior, there has also not been a lot of research around intermittent fasting and pregnant women. That said, both Tao and Lanzillotto agree that pregnant women should stay away from the diet.
“Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity for helping with weight reduction by allowing for insulin levels to drop and therefore weight to be lost when the body then begins to burn fat,” Tao says. “During pregnancy, it makes sense to eat more regularly to stabilize blood sugar levels rather than to create more confusion about insulin for a pregnant woman’s body by practicing intermittent fasting.”
Another reason pregnancy is not the time for intermittent fasting is that common side effects of pregnancy include both acid reflux and nausea. “A way to manage these symptoms is instead of having big meals, incorporate smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This could be difficult to follow while intermittent fasting,” Lanzillotto says.
Extra Vitamins And Minerals
Worried youre still not eating enough of the good stuff? Hedge your bets by adding a prenatal vitamin to your daily diet.
There are a few extra vitamins and mineral requirements during pregnancy that prenatal vitamins can provide, says Dr. Watson-Locklear. The big one is iron, necessary to produce the extra red blood cells for your babys growth. Almost 20 percent of women are anemic by the time they give birth.
Calcium also is important for babys skeletal development. If you are not getting enough calcium in your food, it will be pulled from your body for the baby, says Dr. Watson-Locklear.
Folate protects against neural tube defects in the growing baby prior to and during pregnancy. If you plan on becoming pregnant, increase your folic acid intake at least three months prior to conceiving, says Dr. Watson-Locklear. Elevated folate also helps decrease nausea in the first trimester of pregnancy as well.
However, do not overindulge. Too much calcium can constipate Mom. Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects. Too much iodine during pregnancy can affect fetal thyroid goiter.
There is a reason vitamin bottles have a recommended dosage on them, says Dr. Watson-Locklear. If you have a question, ask your doctor.
If you have questions about your pregnancy diet or pregnancy in general, talk to your OBGYN. Dont have one? Browse our physicians near you.
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How Can I Eat Healthy If I Am A Vegetarian
If youre a vegetarian and pregnant, its possible to get the nutrients you need. Talk to your provider about how to get the nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy. Some helpful tips are:
- Make sure you get enough protein from sources like soy milk, tofu and beans. If youre on a diet that allows for animal products, you can also eat eggs, milk and cheese.
- Eat lots of foods that have good amounts of iron such as vegetables and legumes like spinach, white beans, kidney beans and chickpeas.
- For calcium if you cannot have dairy foods, eat dark leafy greens, calcium-enriched tofu and other products enriched with calcium such as soy milk, rice milk or orange juice.
- Some cereals and milk may also be fortified with Vitamin B12.
Foods To Avoid When Pregnant
There are some foods you should not eat when you’re pregnant because they might make you ill or harm your baby. Make sure you know the important facts about which foods you should avoid or take extra care with when you’re pregnant. The best foods to eat are freshly cooked or freshly prepared food.
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Why Is It Important To Maintain A High Quality Diet During Pregnancy
Even if youve only been pregnant a short while you will have been bombarded with so much information about what to eat that youre probably more than a little confused.
Should you eat this? Should you eat that? If I eat this, am I putting my baby at risk? If I forget to eat this, what will happen?
Its a total stress-fest, and its enough to drive you to distraction.
You should be consuming a high quality diet regardless of your pregnancy but during those precious nine months its all the more important.
You baby will be made from the nutrients already in your body plus the ones that you eat during pregnancy. Biologically, his or her needs will come before yours.
Thats why its important to start eating plenty of the super nutritious foods before you get pregnant if you dont already.
If you dont get enough of the nutrients your baby needs his or her development could be affected.
In addition, you are at risk because your vitamin and mineral stores can become depleted very quickly leaving you with a range of potential symptoms including lethargy, constipation, insomnia, muscle cramps and anxiety.
But if youre pregnant already fear not. You and baby will benefit from adding these foods into your daily diet now.
So what should you be eating to have a healthy baby?
Here are the foods packed with the nutrients you both need for optimum growth and health.
Tips For Vegetarians And Vegans
If youâre a vegetarian or vegan, you can still get the nutrients you and your baby need. You may need to adjust your eating habits for a healthy vegetarian or vegan pregnancy diet, but plenty of nonmeat and nondairy food sources can satisfy your nutritional needs.
Protein. You can choose from a variety of high-protein foods for a vegetarian pregnancy diet, and you can easily add them to meal plans and menus. For example, you can get your protein with three servings per day of 1/2 a cup of cooked, dried beans, peas, or tofu 1/4 cup of nuts and seeds 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and one egg or two egg whites .
Calcium. Be sure to stock up on calcium-rich foods during your pregnancy. For vegetarians, these can include dairy products like fortified milk, cheese, and yogurt. Other nondairy sources of calcium include plant-based milk, dark leafy green vegetables, tofu, dried beans, and peas.
Iron. Even on a vegetarian diet, you can get the 27 milligrams needed from three servings of iron-rich foods like eggs, enriched grain products, leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, raisins, prunes, peanuts, dried beans, and peas. If youâre concerned about getting enough iron, consult your healthcare provider about whether you need any supplements.
Vitamin B12. This is one of the few vitamins found only in animal products , so if youâre vegan, you may need to eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 or obtain it from an alternative source like nutritional yeast or a supplement.
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Snack Foods To Eat While Pregnant
What you eat becomes more important than ever when youre pregnant. You need more vitamins and minerals to help your baby grow and maintain your own health. And because your body is working hard at supporting both of you, you need to consume more calories in the second and third trimester.
While it may be tempting to think of those extra calories as a green light to indulge in less healthy snacks, dont head to the vending machine just yet, say nutrition experts. If youre regularly having healthy, balanced meals, a treat here and there isnt going to hurt. But ideally, you want most of those extra calories to come from nutritious food.
If youre mostly snacking on things like dessert, chips or another less healthy food, think about what makes that food so appealing to you right now, try to get that same quality in something that provides more nutrition.
What To Eat During Pregnancy
Lets see which things should contain in the food chart for pregnant ladies:
- Dairy products, especially cow milk, should be included as it is rich in various nutrients like calcium and vitamins and also protein for body development.
- Plant proteins like legumes are reached in proteins and fibres and iron and Folic acid that are highly needed for pregnancy.
- Seasonal fruits like strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, and pomegranate are high sources of vitamin C, fibres, and vitamin A, iron which boost immunity.
- Animal protein like egg, chicken and mutton fulfil the protein source.
- Whole grains like oats and wheat contain Vitamin B, which is essential for the development of the foetus.
- Leafy green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are rich in several vitamins, Folic acid and antioxidants. These substances ensure a good haemoglobin supply and promote healthy bones and prevent skin problems.
- Dry fruits are a rich source of calcium, potassium, good fats, protein, and Zinc that prevent constipation during pregnancy.
The Best Foods To Eat During Pregnancy For A Super Healthy Baby
As an expecting Mom we wish for nothing more than to deliver a perfectly healthy baby. So its no wonder that the subject of healthy eating shoots right to the top of the list of our priorities early on in pregnancy.
But what are the healthiest foods to eat in pregnancy?
Which ones should you be eating plenty of every day?
Which foods contain the most vitamins and minerals?
Here we go through why we need not just a good diet while pregnant, but an excellent one. Plus fourteen must eat foods for a healthy baby, healthy Mom and a healthy pregnancy.