How To Enrich Your Nutrition During Pregnancy
While there is no doubt that pregnancy is one of the most beautiful moments of your life, it is also a hard period for your body, that goes through lots of physical and hormonal changes. To fuel yourself and your growing baby correctly, you’ll have to consider making some small changes in your nutrition.
You do not need to go on a special diet. Just start by removing all the bad products that you used to consume before pregnancy (such as alcohol, fast food) and add to your diet a variety of different nutrients every day to get the right balance of vitamins and minerals that you and your baby need.
The food you eat is your baby’s only source of nourishment. This is why experts recommend that a mother-to-be's diet should include a variety of healthy foods and beverages to provide the important nutrients a baby needs for growth and development.
Although nausea, funky cravings, vomiting, or any possible morning sickness you’ll undoubtedly face during the first few months of pregnancy will make managing your diet very difficult, try listening to your body and eating as balanced as possible. To help you with this, let’s go over some tips and recommendations on how to enrich your nutrition during pregnancy.
There’s no need to “eat for two”
We all know the old saying “eating for two”. Yes, we agree that during pregnancy your body does require more micro and macronutrients to support you and your baby, but, this doesn’t mean that you should increase the amount of food considerably. If you are a healthy weight before your pregnancy, you only need to eat an average of about 300 extra calories a day.
You might find that you are more hungry than usual, but you don’t need to eat like crazy, even if you are expecting twins or triplets. Just imagine, your body is already going through lots of physical and hormonal changes, and, by eating way more than usual, you’re just making it harder for it to work properly. Moreover, if you don’t manage your weight during pregnancy, you risk struggling with being overweight after giving birth.
Try to have a well-balanced breakfast every day, because this can help you avoid snacking during the day on foods that are high in fat and sugar. Eating healthily often means changing the amounts of different foods you eat, so that your diet is varied, rather than cutting out all your favorites. So, eat whatever you want, but in small portions.
Prevent anemia with iron
Besides taking care of the well-being of your baby, you need to focus on your health. As we mentioned before, pregnancy makes your body go through many difficult processes, thus, you need to restructure your diet to make sure you get all the key benefits you need.
One of the key nutrients your body needs the most is Iron. It helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to your baby. A lack of iron can lead to anemia, which can be very harmful to you. Plus, your baby has a better chance of a healthy birth weight when you include enough iron in your diet.
Since some of the best-absorbed iron is found in animal products and foods like red meat, dried beans, peas, and iron-fortified cereals, it might be difficult to get enough through food alone. Thus, you can talk to your doctor to recommend some iron supplements to prevent anemia. During pregnancy, you need 27 mg daily.
Folic acid to the rescue
Folic acid is a B vitamin important in the production of blood and protein. It also reduces the risk of neural tube defects (a birth defect of the brain and spinal cord). Because of this, this particular ingredient often gains the most attention from medical professionals and future moms.
A folate deficiency can have a very negative impact on the baby’s spinal and brain development. Thus, you must get at least 400 micrograms of folate daily before pregnancy and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. During pregnancy, doctors recommend you get 600 micrograms daily.
You can find folate in green, leafy vegetables, liver, orange juice, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), and nuts. In case you can’t consume these ingredients, you can always count on folate supplements to maintain proper nutrition during pregnancy.
Protein is another critical element that your body needs to ensure the proper growth of your baby’s tissues and organs, including the brain. Moreover, it also helps with breast and uterine growth during pregnancy and even plays a significant role in increasing your blood supply, allowing more blood to send to your baby.
You’ll need to eat about 70 to 100g of protein a day, depending on your weight and which semester you’re in. Talk to your doctor and find out how much you specifically need.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide the richest amount of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber, which not only keeps your body nourished but also can prevent constipation.
Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. Consider consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables, but, you can always count on frozen, canned, dried, or juiced ones too.
Vitamin and mineral bundles
Let’s face it. Your body is an entire system that needs all vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional ingredients altogether. Thus, try to include as many variations in your diet to make sure you get a well-balanced meal every single day.
There are all kinds of supplements out there that can help you get the right dose of vitamins and minerals that your body craves. Before trying any supplements, ask your doctor to make sure you can safely drink them.
Don’t forget about Calcium
Calcium helps build your baby’s bones and regulates your body’s use of fluids. You must consume foods that have calcium in them. Ideally, pregnant women need 1.000mg of calcium, in two doses of 500mg. per day.
Some great sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, low-mercury fish, and seafood, such as salmon, shrimp, catfish, and canned light tuna, etc.