Pregnancy helps many women to be motivated and to improve their lifestyle. They try to eat healthy, exercise, reduce stress and risk situations.
If you make these changes now and improve your health habits, it will be much easier to maintain them after giving birth. This way you will lose weight faster and have the energy to enjoy your cute baby.
In this article, I want to show you how to make the best choice for you and your baby.
Why I Should Eat Healthy During Pregnancy?
You should be aware that during pregnancy you eat for two people (for you and your baby). But that doesn’t mean you have to eat twice as much …
Instead, eat twice as healthy!
If your diet is currently chaotic and you eat mostly fast food, skip meals, and lack variety, it’s time to change your habits!
One of the reasons to eat healthy from the very beginning of pregnancy is that in the first weeks the baby’s organs are formed.
There is no magic formula for a healthy pregnancy. In fact, the basic rules of healthy eating are also recommended for pregnant women.
What Are The Most Important Nutrients For A Healthy Pregnancy?
It is found in the largest amounts in milk, dairy products, fish, meat and eggs. Legumes (beans, lentils, soybeans), nuts and seeds are good sources of protein.
A good source of calcium is milk and dairy products. The recommended daily amount of calcium is from 1200 to 1500 mg.
Sodium plays an important role in normal growth and helps regulate water levels in the body. The recommended amount of sodium during pregnancy is from 2000 to 8000 mg. per day. A low intake during pregnancy creates a risk of mental retardation of the newborn.
During pregnancy, the need for iron increases dramatically. Therefore, a pregnant woman needs iron in larger doses, especially during the last periods of pregnancy.
It is found in peppers, green peas, cauliflower, cabbage, green onions and garlic, rose hips, citrus fruits, melons, strawberries, chestnuts and more.
What Are The Essential Healthy Eating Rules?
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Eat cereals in their natural form, not in the form of flour.
- Stick to clean meat.
- Diversify your diet with foods such as nuts and seeds.
- Drink a lot of water.
How Many Times To Eat A Day?
Eat at least 3 times a day with 2 snacks between main meals.
Which Foods To Eat?
The truth is that the only way to be sure that you are getting enough of the nutrients your baby needs is to provide a variety of foods during pregnancy.
Here are some useful foods for pregnancy that are good to include in your diet:
- Oily fish – a source of important omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for cellular function and development of the brain and eyes.
- Eggs – a good source of protein, as well as iron and vitamin B12.
- Sunflower seeds – very pleasant to eat and in addition to being a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, they are also rich in magnesium, vitamins A, B, D, E and K, calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.
- Yogurt – choose low-fat milk. They contain as much calcium as full-fat ones.
- Wholemeal bread – a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B and slow-releasing carbohydrates.
- Enriched cereals – a good source of important vitamin B (folic acid) and iron.
- Sweet potatoes – rich in calcium, vitamins C, A and beta-carotene.
- Broccoli – rich in folic acid, calcium and magnesium (so important for bone development).
- Dried apricots – a delicious, sweet breakfast that will increase the level of iron in the blood and provide you with folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
- Bananas – contain potassium and help maintain a healthy fluid balance in the body.
- Strawberries – a delicious way to get vitamin C. A bowl of strawberries for dessert will help you absorb the iron you have just taken with the food.
- Green leafy vegetables – spinach, lettuce, arugula, sorrel, nettle. They are very rich in vitamins – A, C, E, K, and minerals – iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, as well as so important for pregnancy folic acid.
- Walnuts – one of the richest foods in omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a wonderful source of protein and fiber.
Should I Eat Superfoods?
It is believed that the so-called “Superfoods” provide greater amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than regular foods, but in fact, the key to a healthy diet during pregnancy is the consumption of a variety of foods with high nutritional value.
The term “superfood” is not scientifically formulated, although most foods defined as “super” are thought to be rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C.
Many nutritionists agree that even if some foods are more nutrient-rich than others, the most important thing to achieve a balanced diet is the variety of food consumed.
What Are Some Of The Most Beneficial Superfoods For Pregnant Women?
- Berries, such as blueberries, goji berry and acai berry
Which Foods To Avoid When I Try To Eat Healthy?
Pregnancy should not be associated with dietary deprivation and restrictions, but there are foods that should be avoided:
The reason is the high concentration of mercury (chemical element Hg) in the larger marine life. Seafood is a good source of protein, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Some fish and crustaceans contain dangerous amounts of mercury, which can negatively affect the baby’s nervous system.
These are mostly large species such as: swordfish, shark, mackerel, tuna. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pregnant women can safely consume about 300 grams of seafood a week.
Undercooked Meat And Undercooked Eggs
Uncooked food can cause poisoning. Although rarely, it is possible for your baby to get sick. Do not eat soft-boiled eggs – cook them until the yolk and egg white harden. Avoid eating raw eggs because of the risk of salmonella infection.
Sausages, salamis etc. are foods that you would not want to consume even outside of pregnancy due to harmful dyes and preservatives. In addition, their consumption can cause rare but potentially serious diseases of food origin (such as listeriosis).
Poorly Washed Products
Vegetables and fruits are great choices during pregnancy, but always make sure they are washed thoroughly!
Do Not Overdo The Consumption Of Animal Liver
Animal liver is a superfood full of vitamins and minerals. But its extremely high content of vitamin A can be toxic to the fetus, leading to birth defects.
Understandably, many pregnant mothers want to include as many nutrients as possible in their diet by choosing the right foods.
Why Drinking Water Is So Important?
From the very beginning of pregnancy women retain a little water. Amniotic fluid is formed and at the end of pregnancy it will reach 1 liter.
The blood circulation requires water, because by the end of pregnancy the blood will be about 50% more. Water relieves pain, balances blood pressure and provides energy.
In addition, proper hydration will help prevent chronic constipation and urinary tract infections. Experts recommend taking 2.5 liters of water a day, but this amount varies according to the characteristics of each individual.
Are You A Vegetarian Mother?
Most vegetarian mothers are worried about whether the pregnancy will go smoothly and without problems. If you feel good over time, you can continue with the vegetarian diet.
The rules you have to follow are no different from those for any ordinary person. Healthy eating means to eat a wide variety of foods and make sure you get all the nutrients through your diet.
If you eat fish, milk and eggs, you will find it easier to obtain the need for iron, calcium and protein.
Are You A Vegan Mother?
If you do not consume any foods from animal products, then you should seriously consider and plan your diet. Vegans have trouble getting enough zinc, vitamin B12, iron, calcium and folic acid.
To avoid this, try to:
Eat foods rich in calcium at least 4 times a day. In the vegetable kingdom, these are broccoli, kale, dried beans, cereals, rice and soy milk enriched with calcium.
High levels of vitamin D are key to calcium absorption. If you do not spend enough time exposed to sunlight (UV rays are necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D), you may want to consider supplementing with a quality dietary supplement.
Add quality, high-calorie foods. This is especially important if you have a problem with weight gain. Good sources are dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Consume these foods in moderation.
Take nutritional supplements. It is advisable to test the serum levels of vitamin B12 for deficiency. In any case, don’t miss consulting your doctor!
A Few More Tips Regarding Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
- In case of nausea and vomiting, eat toasted baguette, rusks or salty cookies. Frequent daily consumption of small amounts of food is advised.
- In case of constipation, eat more foods rich in fiber – wholemeal bread, raw fruits and vegetables. Increase your fluid intake – water, milk, fruit juices, light soups.
- Avoid fried food. Drink water between meals, not during meals.
- Walks after meals are recommended.
- Say “NO” to alcohol and smoking, limit your consumption of coffee and caffeinated beverages.
It is important to remember that during pregnancy, the healthy eating and the diet we follow directly affect both ourselves and the health and proper development of the fetus. I hope that this article will be a good basis for your happy and problem-free pregnancy.