Top 20 Essential Pregnancy Foods

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Pregnancy is a critical time in a woman’s lifetime. She has to take good care of her and the baby growing in the womb. One way of achieving it is by keeping a tab on the food that goes in. One must maintain a healthy pregnancy nutrition level and make sure that she is eating the right type of pregnancy food. Studies say that a pregnant woman must consume 350 to 500 extra calories than normal. Failing which, you may see developmental issues in the baby. So, what are the important foods to eat during pregnancy? Let’s find out in this article.

Pregnancy Foods

Quick Facts About Pregnancy and Food

  • Do not ever adopt the ‘eat for two’ attitude. This may lead to weight gain and eventually to gestational diabetes. On the other hand, eating too little may result in diabetes, heart disease, hypertension in the later stages of your baby’s life.
  • A pregnant woman cannot have undercooked eggs, meats and unpasteurized dairy products as it may cause trouble for the mother and her unborn baby.
  • You must reduce caffeine consumption as much as possible. It must be as low as 200 mg per day. If not, it’ll stay in your baby causing health issues.
  • Your placenta produces a certain type of hormone that is insulin resistant. For this reason, doctors recommend getting your blood sugar level tested time and again.
  • Prenatal vitamins are essential for not only those who have deficiencies but also for all the pregnant ladies as they promote mother’s and the growing baby’s health.

Also Read Why do Doctors Recommend Folic Acid for Pregnancy?

Nutritional Requirements During Pregnancy

Doctors all over the world recommend that an expectant woman must follow a certain diet plan that will include all the essential nutrients required to keep both the mother and the growing baby healthy. Here is a list of all the nutrients that you will require when you are pregnant.

  • Carbohydrates, to be energetic all the time
  • Protein helps in maintaining a healthy growth of your baby
  • Monounsaturated fats are important for the growth of healthy brain and eyes in your baby
  • Fibre will help you keep your stomach in good condition and avoid constipation
  • Calcium helps in avoiding preterm birth and other pregnancy complications
  • Zinc can drive several biological functions that include cellular integrity, protein synthesis, nucleic acid metabolism and therefore is important nutrient helping baby grow
  • Iron-rich foods for pregnancy has to be a vital part of your diet as it helps a mother make adequate hemoglobin for all the extra blood that fills her body when she is pregnant
  • Folic acid is important for the healthy growth of the baby and avoids birth defects
  • Vitamins A, D, C are important for the healthy growth of the baby and taking good care of the mother

Important Foods for Pregnant Women

Every pregnant woman needs more calories and nutrients than that is normal. Nutrition during pregnancy should be kept at good levels owing to the fact that there is a life growing within you. For this reason, it is your responsibility to consume only the right type of food during pregnancy. If you are taking your first step into motherhood, then here is a detailed version of food for pregnant women.

1. Dairy Products – Yogurt

When we talk about nutrition in pregnancy, you simply cannot ignore the role played by various dairy products, especially yogurt. They supply you with the required protein and calcium that your growing baby needs. In addition, you can take advantage of the probiotic supply to eliminate pregnancy risks.

2. Eggs

If you are looking for that one food item that will fulfil all the nutritional requirements during pregnancy, then you have to turn to eggs. They are brimming with calories, quality fats, protein, minerals and vitamins. Eggs also offer Choline that helps in the healthy development of the brain of your baby.

3. Whole Grains

Whole grain like oats and quinoa can help you quash your high calorie needs that may arise during the second and third trimesters. On the other hand, they will also serve as a rich source of magnesium, fibre, vitamin B that goes lacking in a pregnant woman’s diet most of the times.

4. Sweet potatoes

This veggie carries beta-carotene that gets converted to Vitamin A, a very essential nutrient required for cell differentiation in the growing fetus. While you are out there looking for high vitamin A rich food, make sure to avoid animal organs like liver, heart and brain.

5. Legumes

These group of foods can help you get fibre, folate, protein, calcium iron, potassium, magnesium and others that you might need for normal delivery. You can obtain all of these rich nutrients from food items like peanuts, peas, lentils, beans, soybeans, chickpeas and more!

6. Dark and Leafy Greens

These are some of the best iron rich foods for pregnancy. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, leeks and so on are rich with nutrients such as iron, calcium, potassium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C and so on. Also, they have the antioxidants and plant compounds that help in easy digestion, strengthening the immune system and preventing constipation.

Also Read Reasons Why You Gain Weight After 2nd Pregnancy?

7. Lean Meat

If you are looking for high-quality protein, then lean meat of chicken, pork and beef are the excellent choices. In addition, you can take advantage of getting all the required nutrients like vitamin B, choline and iron in one place. On the other hand, you must avoid consuming undercooked meat at all cost.

8. Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are a rich source for Vitamin C, which gives a stronger immune system to a mother, absorbs a good amount of iron and helps in the growth of the baby’s brain. For this reason, add red bell peppers to your salad today!

9. Salmon

This fish will offer your body with omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. These nutrients are essential for a pregnant woman as they will help your baby grow healthy brain and eyes. However, make sure that you keep the amount you consume under check due to mercury contamination.

10. Fish Liver Oil

Fish liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA that help in the sound development of your baby’s eyes and brain. And if you are deficient on vitamins A and D, then this is the best option for you. However, you must make sure that you do not consume more than one tablespoon per day. The high vitamin A content may prove to be harmful to the baby.

11. Fruits for Pregnant Woman

Fruits are the best supplements for all the nutrients a pregnant woman needs. Fruits to eat during pregnancy include berries, banana, oranges that are the best suppliers of nutrients like healthy carbs, vitamin C, fibre, potassium, antioxidants and even water to keep you healthy and hydrated!

12. Dried Fruit

Dry fruits are small, easy to munch and are rich in nutrients like fibre, minerals like potassium, iron and vitamins like folate. Prunes, dates, dried figs are the ones that are more frequently recommended by doctors.

13. Avocados

This is the best veggies as it offers a great deal of essential nutrients, including monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins E, C and K, folate, fibre, copper and potassium. Together, all these healthy nutrients offer better baby growth and relieve you from pregnancy woes.

14. Basil

This is packed with so many good nutrients that can benefit a pregnant woman. You can find calcium, iron, copper, zin, manganese, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, niacin, riboflavin along with vitamins K, C, A, B6!

15. Soy Foods

If you are a vegan, then you don’t have to give up your dietary habits as you can get all the nutrients in soy foods. Simply add tofu to your food regimen and you will be good to go. It contains proteins that you require for healthy baby growth.

16. Artichokes

This is another iron rich foods for pregnancy! If you cannot have meat, replace it with this vegetable for iron and folate supply. In addition to these rich nutrients, this veggie also offers fibre that would help you reduce the constipation woes, which is a common occurrence among carrying ladies.

17. Pumpkin Seeds

As your uterus grows, the muscles around it expand and it needs proteins to withstand the pressure and keep your growing muscles healthy. When you add pumpkin seeds to your pregnancy diet, you can rest assured knowing that your muscles will never be deprived of the proteins it needs. In addition, you can even take advantage of the other nutrients it has in a high quantity such as zinc, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and iron.

18. Herring

If you are a fan of fish but cannot have it fearing the mercury contamination, herring is an ideal choice. Being a resident of small, cold water bodies, these fishes are sure to offer you with all the pregnancy essentials like omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid, and fish oil.

19. Molasses

If swollen feet and ankles are your pregnancy troubles, then molasses are the best option for you. They are oozing with magnesium, manganese and vitamin B6. Together, these minerals help you to retain the right amount of water in your body. However, as it is packed with sugar content, you must take care of the amount of molasses you consume on any given day.

20. Water

Keeping yourself hydrated is the most important part of pregnancy. When you are pregnant, your body produces more blood leading to dehydration if you are not drinking enough water. You may see symptoms like headaches, tiredness, anxiety, reduced memory, mood swings and more!

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18752697
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18683028

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