Eating healthy during pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Eating nutritious foods helps your baby grow and develop properly, and it can also help you feel your best during this special time.
Here are some tips for eating healthy during pregnancy (source):
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for a healthy pregnancy. Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied after eating. They also contain important nutrients like iron, magnesium, and B vitamins.
- Eat lean protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, including your baby’s growing cells. Good sources of lean protein include fish, poultry, beans, lentils, and tofu.
- Limit saturated and unhealthy fats. Saturated and unhealthy fats can raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Instead, choose healthy fats like those found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
- Get enough calcium and iron. Calcium is important for building strong bones and teeth, while iron is essential for carrying oxygen to your baby’s cells. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods. Good sources of iron include red meat, poultry, beans, lentils, and iron-fortified cereals.
- Take a prenatal vitamin. A prenatal vitamin can help ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about choosing a prenatal vitamin that is right for you.
- Eat small, frequent meals. This can help to prevent nausea and indigestion, which are common during pregnancy.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. You may also want to drink clear broths or sports drinks to replenish electrolytes.
- Limit caffeine. Caffeine can cross the placenta and affect your baby’s heart rate. Limit your caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day, which is about the amount in one cup of coffee.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can damage your baby’s developing brain. It is best to completely avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
Common Questions About Pregnancy and Nutrition
Here are 7 frequently asked questions and answers we tend to get here at the center regarding how to eat healthy during a pregnancy:
Why is it important to eat healthy during pregnancy?
Eating healthy during pregnancy is important for both the mother and the baby. A healthy diet provides the nutrients that the baby needs to grow and develop properly. It can also help the mother to feel her best during pregnancy and to reduce her risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
What are the most important nutrients to eat during pregnancy?
Some of the most important nutrients to eat during pregnancy include:
- Folate: Folate is important for preventing birth defects such as spina bifida. Good sources of folate include leafy green vegetables, beans, and lentils.
- Calcium: Calcium is important for building strong bones and teeth. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods.
- Iron: Iron is essential for carrying oxygen to the baby’s cells. Good sources of iron include red meat, poultry, beans, lentils, and iron-fortified cereals.
- Protein: Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues. Good sources of protein include fish, poultry, beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts.
How many calories do I need to eat?
Pregnant women need about 340 more calories per day in the second trimester and about 450 more calories per day in the third trimester. These extra calories should come from healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
What foods should I avoid during my pregnancy?
Pregnant women should avoid the following foods:
- Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and fish: These foods can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
- Unpasteurized dairy products: Unpasteurized dairy products can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
- Deli meats and hot dogs: Deli meats and hot dogs can contain listeria, a type of bacteria that can cause serious infections in pregnant women and their babies.
- High-mercury fish: High-mercury fish, such as swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and shark, can damage the developing brain and nervous system of the baby.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can damage the developing brain and nervous system of the baby.
How can I deal with my food cravings and aversions during pregnancy?
- Cravings: If you are craving a particular food, try to choose a healthier version of it. For example, if you are craving ice cream, try eating a frozen yogurt or a smoothie made with frozen fruit and yogurt.
- Aversions: If you have an aversion to a particular food, try to find other foods that are similar in nutrients. For example, if you have an aversion to broccoli, you could try eating other cruciferous vegetables like kale or Brussels sprouts.
- Morning sickness: If you are experiencing morning sickness, try eating small, frequent meals and avoiding foods that trigger your nausea. You may also want to try eating ginger or sucking on ginger candy.
How often should I see a doctor for prenatal care?
You should see your doctor for prenatal care at least once a month during the first trimester, every two weeks during the second trimester, and every week during the third trimester. They can help you to monitor your weight gain, check for nutritional deficiencies, and answer any questions you have about eating healthy during pregnancy.
Where can I get more info about eating healthy during pregnancy?
Here are some additional resources for information on eating healthy during pregnancy:
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
- The Office on Women’s Health
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
If you have any questions or concerns about eating healthy during pregnancy, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you create a personalized meal plan that meets your individual needs.
If you are pregnant and in the Las Vegas area, contact us here at Women’s Resource Medical Center of Southern Nevada for a free pregnancy test and care plan guide.