Nutrition for Expecting Mothers
If you’re expecting a baby, you know that there are essential dietary requirements that you need to fulfill to keep your baby healthy. We often hear Eating for Two during pregnancy. This does not mean that you need to eat twice as much. Instead, it points out the need for meeting the nutritional intake that is vital for your baby’s continued growth.
Your baby relies on the food you eat. So, what’s on your plate directly impacts the health of your little one. Pregnant women need to consume 300 to 400 additional calories to meet the nutritional needs of the baby. These calories need to come from a fresh and healthy balanced diet and not junk or processed food.
A Diet Plan for Pregnant Women includes fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, and healthy fats and oils among others. You can also discuss with your doctor to prescribe you the essential supplements such as folic acid. Ensure that while you focus on eating for two, you also pay attention to what’s on the plate.
Why Is Eating a Balanced Diet Important for Pregnant Women?
Your body goes through many changes once you’re pregnant fueled by the rise in hormones. You need to prepare your body to grow an entire human being. This means taking on the responsibility of eating right to supply the right things and steer clear from what’s harmful to prevent any problems during the pregnancy.
Your diet needs to be carefully planned with all five essential nutrients in them. Discuss with your doctor about alternative sources of nutrients if you do not consume a specific food item due to allergies or dietary restrictions. Your Pregnancy Diet needs to evolve with the trimesters, so be sure to stay on top of it at all times.
Eating right while you’re pregnant can help:
1. Gain weight appropriately
Your body needs to add on a few pounds to be able to allow the baby to grow well and avoid any risk of health issues. Healthy women should look at a Pregnancy Weight Gain of about 25 to 35 pounds, overweight women need an additional 10 to 20 pounds, and underweight women and women with multiple pregnancies will need to gain 35 to 45.
2. Reduce the Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can cause complications during the pregnancy, requiring additional monitoring and may also increase the risk of health problems for the baby. A well-balanced diet and a healthy active lifestyle can reduce these risks.
3. Prevent a Low Birth Weight baby
When you haven’t gained Healthy weight during pregnancy, your baby will also stand the risk of being born underweight. A good diet is essential to pack on that essential Pregnancy Weight for the health of your baby.
4. Prevent Premature Birth
Studies have found that poor diet of the mother can be a cause for the premature birth of babies. Premature babies are at a higher risk of complications as they haven’t developed fully in the womb. Maintaining a healthy diet and Healthy Weight during Pregnancy can help lower the risk of premature births or emergency C-sections.
5. Prevent Anemia or other infections
Taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy is highly recommended by all doctors. It can prevent Folic Acid Deficiency and keep anemia at bay. It will also help prevent neural tube defects in newborn babies.
While gaining weight is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy, this does not mean that you should go overboard. Gaining more than the recommended amount of weight cannot help your baby become healthier. It may increase your health risk during pregnancy and make it difficult to lose all that weight post-pregnancy. So, ensure that you maintain a strict diet with the recommended quantities and meet with your doctor regularly for medical care and guidance.
What Does a Balanced Diet for Pregnant Women Include?
A good Nutritional Plan in Pregnancy is similar to a healthy diet plan, only altered a little to meet the needs of another little person. Paired with moderate exercise for 30 minutes, this can keep you and your baby healthy throughout and post-pregnancy as well.
Nutritional Plan in Pregnancy should focus on including –
Protein needs vary based on the semester, but protein is very essential in your diet. Protein promotes tissue growth in the body, which makes it vital for your baby’s proper development. From the baby’s tissues, organs, and brain to your breast and uterine tissue, protein is what helps it all grow. Talk to your doctor about your specific protein needs and make a plan to include them in your diet. 70 to 100 grams of Protein during Pregnancy is recommended.
Sources of Protein
- Lean beef and pork.
- Peanut butter.
- Cottage cheese.
Calcium builds strong bones. This is true even when you’re pregnant with your baby. Your Calcium intake during Pregnancy will directly impact the strength and development of your baby’s bones. 1000 mg of calcium is essential for you every day. You can split it into 500 mg portions twice a day.
Good sources of Calcium:
- Fish and seafood (low mercury choices are shrimp, catfish, salmon, tuna).
- Green leafy vegetables.
Folate or folic acid is an essential supplement for pregnant women. It has been found to reduce the risk of neural tube defects that affect the brain and spinal cord of the baby such as anencephaly and spina bifida. 600 to 800 mcg of folate is recommended for pregnant women to prevent Folic Acid Deficiency.
Sources of Folate:
- Dried beans and lentils.
- Green vegetables.
Consuming food rich in iron during pregnancy is important to help increase essential blood supply and oxygen supply in the body. Iron, along with potassium, sodium, and water can increase blood flow in the body. Optimal blood flow allows your baby to have enough oxygen during development. Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron, so pairing it with iron can help you reap all its benefits. Your body needs about 27 mg of iron during pregnancy.
Sources of Iron are:
- Dark green, leafy vegetables.
- Citrus fruits.
- Whole-grain bread.
- Lean beef and poultry.
Water intake during Pregnancy
Similar to your everyday water requirement, but one that you should follow very seriously. You need eight glasses of water each day. You can also consume a small portion of fluids (150 ml) in the form of fresh fruit juices.
6. Exercise during pregnancy
is important to maintain a healthy body. Consult your doctor to ask about the appropriate workouts for your specific condition. You can also make a habit of walking every day to get your daily share of workout.
What are the Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy?
As much as eating right is important, it is also important to avoid unhealthy food items during pregnancy. Consuming processed food during pregnancy should be avoided or reduced significantly to ensure good health for your baby.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy:
- Processed food and junk food.
- High-sugar fluids.
- Raw or undercooked food.
- Unpasteurized milk and dairy products.
- Raw sprouts.
- Unwashed produce.
- High-mercury fish.
- Raw eggs.
- Raw, Undercooked, and processed meat.
Keeping your baby healthy is of paramount importance throughout the nine months of pregnancy. It is essential to stick to a strictly well-rounded diet for the entire duration and even after birth. Food cravings are common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Make sure that you don’t consume anything in extreme and subscribe to a healthy snacking habit.
You can keep fruits and nuts as your preferred snacking choice to avoid unnecessary processed foods. If you do consume processed food, ensure to reduce the quantity and not to binge on it.
With the right care and diet, you and your baby will be healthy throughout the pregnancy. If you have any underlying conditions that may affect your pregnancy, make sure to discuss them with your doctor and get the appropriate care.