Childbearing is the time when you need to take your health seriously and think carefully about what to eat during pregnancy. A healthy diet matters a lot in keeping your baby well-nourished from the time of conception.
It is typical to start going over your diet routines the moment you discover that you’re pregnant. But like other women, you may also be inclined to seek advice from your mom or friends, the Internet, or you simply rely on your past pregnancy habits. What you may not realize is that each pregnancy is different. Age or the environment can be a contributing factor to physical or hormonal changes that may affect pregnancy. Therefore, the body’s response could be different.
Like it or not, there are conditions that a specialist can only understand and help you get through. There are also questions about prenatal diet that only a certified nutritionist can accurately answer.
What to Eat During Pregnancy? Eating Right for Baby’s Health!
Healthy eating equates to a balanced diet, which is ideal for everyone. However, pregnancy is a specific condition in which dietary adjustments are made based on your needs. Knowing what foods are good to eat during pregnancy will help address your symptoms and nourish your baby well.
There is no one-size-fits-all meal plan for expecting moms. Some women do not have problems with the food they eat and others may start experiencing issues. Certain types of food may worsen their symptoms, while some alleviate them. This is one reason why pregnant women seek help from a prenatal nutritionist, who offers sound advice in terms of food restrictions. These food restrictions during pregnancy are based on several other factors such as lifestyle, physical changes, and hormonal changes. For now, stick to the basics.
Eat more vegetables
Have fresh, non-starchy vegetables regularly. If canned, choose ones that are low in sodium content. There is no specific one to stick to as vegetables are generally healthy but raw leafy ones are the best. However, wash them thoroughly before eating. During pregnancy, your body is susceptible to infections so you should make sure they are clean or steamed properly.
Among others, these veggies are good for you:
- Salad greens
- Sweet potato
Pack on healthy proteins
Fill your plate with healthy proteins. Foods rich in protein will provide sufficient amounts of protein. It will effectively support your baby’s growth and at the same time, provide you the energy that your body needs. It will also promote your baby’s healthy brain and heart development.
Include a portion of the following in your daily meal plan:
- Lean meat
- Peanut butter
- Meat substitutes like tofu
Don’t forget the grains
Your prenatal nutrition must include whole grains like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, cereals, and oatmeal. They are rich in fiber, iron, B vitamins, and folic acid which are beneficial for your baby’s physical development. These will also ward off constipation and hemorrhoids, which are some of the common discomforts that pregnant women experience.
Color your diet with fruits
Some people will warn you against fruit consumption when you ask them about what not to eat during pregnancy. This is a myth. Fruits do not just glamorize your meal; they will also curb your sugar cravings and supply you and your baby the needed nutrients. They are advisable as long as you do not take them often in juice form. If canned, choose unsweetened.
It is worth noting that eating fruits should be done with care. Observing how your body reacts every time you have some will help. For example, if you feel a spike in your blood sugar, you should cut back. The same thing if you notice some weight gain.
You can have moderate servings of the following fruits:
- Citrus fruits
- Dried fruits
Include healthy dairy
Dairy products are good sources of protein and calcium, which help with your baby’s bone development. If taken in moderation, you do not have to worry about weight gain. But this is not your major concern. When buying dairy products, watch out for the word ‘pasteurized.’ Pregnancy is a period when your body is prone to infections. Pasteurization helps kill germs in dairies like cheese, yogurt, and milk. Ideally, pick ones that are low-fat.
Say ‘yes’ to healthy fats and oils
Among the many food restrictions during pregnancy, oils and fats are also on top. Nutritionists do not advise completely giving them up as they are beneficial for your baby’s proper brain and eye development. However, your oil intake should be limited to six teaspoons every day. It is also important to consume only plant oils like olive, canola, or safflower. Regarding fat intake, solid fats (like lard and butter) are foods you should avoid taking in large amounts while pregnant so you do not gain weight.
If you eat healthy, drink healthy, too!
Water is a wonder drink. It addresses different kinds of health issues and pregnancy is no exception. As much as possible, drink the recommended amount of water every day. Staying hydrated will 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.
Advisably, cut back on soda and caffeine intake. Switch to fruit drinks and juices. And by all means, avoid any kind of alcohol as this will impact your baby’s health especially when breastfeeding.
Important Reminders for Pregnant Women
More coming soon!