The popular adage for pregnant women “eat for two,” is not absolutely a practical way to go about during pregnancy. The body goes through many physical and hormonal fluctuations during this period and therefore, it is necessary to make the right food choices to better handle the increased needs. The right balance supports the growth of the foetus as the pregnancy progresses.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet will provide the important nutrition needed by the mother and baby. The food eaten by the mother is the main source of nourishment for the baby, and that is why it is crucial that every nutrient is taken.
1. Increased nutrients
Some essential micronutrients and macronutrients are required to support you and your baby and should not be compromised. Dietary components from a variety of sources, such as vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats like omega-3s in right amounts aid the mother to meet the increased nutritional needs during pregnancy. Fresh fruits, veggies, lentils and lean proteins, like chicken and fish, should also be included in everyday meals without missing out on any important vitamins or minerals.
To ensure proper growth of tissues and organs in the baby’s body, protein is critical to intake. Also, it increases blood supply, sanctioning regular flow of blood to be sent to the foetus. The protein needs, of course, keeps changing with each trimester of pregnancy. Lean beef and pork, chicken, salmon, nuts, peanut butter, cottage cheese and beans are some of the great sources of healthy protein.
No surprises here. Calcium is essential to build the bones and regulate the body’s use of fluids. A pregnant woman should consult with doctors to find alternative supplements in case of allergy to any important source of calcium. Milk, yoghurt, cheese, canned light tuna and tofu, dark green and leafy vegetables, low-mercury fish and seafood, like salmon, shrimp and catfish can provide a good amount of calcium.
Folate, also known as folic acid, has a significant role to play in reducing the risk of neural tube deficiencies. Major birth defects affecting the baby’s brain and spinal cord can ensue if not taken care of. To obtain folate or folic acid, foods like, liver, nuts, dried beans and lentils, eggs, nuts and peanut butter are recommended.
Iron helps in increasing blood flow and ensures that enough oxygen is provided to both mother and the baby. In addition to dark green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, enriched bread or cereals, lean beef and poultry and eggs can supply a good amount of iron.