Pregnant women must be mindful of their diet to guarantee that essential nutrients required for proper fetal development are taken in daily. Furthermore, these nutrients will guarantee expecting women healthy bodies to handle the different changes brought by pregnancy.
A daily diet including lots of healthy food for pregnant women should have balanced amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins from fruits and vegetables. A pregnant woman with unique diet due to beliefs, special dietary requirements or health conditions should consult with a physician to know the right foods to eat despite their diet. There are both foods that are recommended and foods you should avoid during pregnancy.
Healthy Food for Pregnant Women
Notes: Despite its popularity, the concept of eating for two is a misconception. Starting pregnancy with a healthy weight requires expecting mothers to consume an extra 300 calories a day. Mothers having multiple babies or who are underweight during the start of pregnancy may be asked to take in more by physicians while overweight mothers will be recommended to eat less. Recommended weight gain while pregnant is around 25 to 35 pounds unless the mother is having multiple babies. Maintaining this weight gain range ensures that the baby has the right weight and keep mothers from having hypertension or developing gestational diabetes.
Protein is regarded as the core of a healthy diet. Amino acids which compose proteins serve as building blocks that promote cell growth for both mother and baby. Promoting high-protein foods in the diet aids in regulating blood sugar levels and suppressing cravings. Best protein sources included in a pregnant woman’s meal are eggs, fish, edamame, lean meat, beans and low-fat dairy products.
2. Low-fat Dairy
Low-fat dairy is a good source of calcium, which is needed for improved bone health. The fetus also needs calcium for its skeletal growth while promoting muscular health and enhanced nerve function. Calcium improves vitamin D absorption, which is vital for bone health. Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt smoothie, calcium-fortified juices, string cheese, and spinach.
3. Lean Beef
Meat is a great source of iron, which is important for red blood cells. Promoting good amounts of iron in the diet will be beneficial for the baby and the mother because both their red blood cell supplies will be increased. Blood volume among mothers increases by 50 percent during pregnancy which causes anemia during this stage. Iron is also a vital component in improving nerve connections.
Lentils contribute to balanced diet for pregnant women with its high vitamin B contents. Vitamin B, which is also known as folic acid, protects the baby from developing spinal bifida, a condition where the baby’s spine is exposed due to neural tube, which will later on develop as the spine, problems during development. Aside from lentils, asparagus, cereals, pasta, and dark leafy greens have good supply of folic acid.
5. Vegetables and Fruits
Colorful fruits and vegetables should not be absent in a pregnant woman’s diet. They have all essential nutrients needed for improving health for the mother and healthy development for the baby. Nutrients obtained from fruits and vegetables include phytochemicals, beta-carotene, and many more. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which is vital for fetal development. The good thing about beta-carotene is it is safe for the body despite high levels unlike vitamin A.
This fish is rich in Omega-3, which aids in brain and eyes development for the baby. Its good amount of B vitamins and protein makes this fish more essential for a mother’s day diet. Resources also cite salmon to have lower mercury level compared to other fishes. Experts recommend up to 12 ounces of fish to the diet. Furthermore, salmons taste great regardless of how it is cooked, promoting variety to mother’s diet.
Eggs are known to have good amounts of protein, which is composed of amino acids. But more than just protein, eggs are also packed with multiple vitamins and minerals like choline, which is also needed for the baby’s development. Mothers, however, must make sure to eat properly cooked egg and not undercooked or raw.
8. Whole Grains
Whole grains are good sources of folic acid and iron. Some products like whole-grain breads and other similar products are fortified to contain good amounts of these nutrients. They are fiber-rich compared to white rice and white bread. Incorporate whole grains to daily diet play through breakfast oatmeal, whole-grain sandwich, or brown rice.
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Watch this video to learn more good healthy food for pregnant women and why they are recommended:
Foods to Avoid for Pregnant Women
While pregnant mothers are asked to incorporate several foods to their diet, experts advise to avoid some food sources as they may affect baby’s development and their health.
- High mercury fish. One of the first foods to avoid is seafood containing high amounts of mercury. Dangerous mercury levels can harm the fetus’ developing nervous system. Fishes to avoid include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and many more.
- Undercooked and contaminated foods. Aside from fishes with high mercury levels, pregnant women are advised to avoid eating undercooked and bacteria-contaminated seafood. Undercooked meat, eggs and poultry products should also be avoided.
Taking in undercooked meals may cause bacterial food poisoning to the mother and in rare cases, even the infant. Be sure to cook these foods properly to avoid food poisoning that may be fatal for the infant and its development.
- Unpasteurized foods like dairy products can cause foodborne diseases, which is why experts recommend avoiding them as well despite the importance of low-fat dairy to the diet. Pregnant women must check milk and juice labels for indicators of undergoing pasteurization to avoid these problems.
Besides healthy food during pregnancy, you can also learn about foods that should be avoided during pregnancy: