Pregnancy is a beautiful stage of life. However, it demands extra care of body to ensure healthy mental and physical growth of fetus. Your body requires added nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Dietary regime lacking in key nutrients may affect baby’s development negatively.
Here is a list of highly nutritious foods you must include in your diet when you’re pregnant:
- Dairy Products
Additional calcium and protein is required to meet requirements of growing fetus. Dairy is known to be the best dietary source of calcium, and offers very high amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins. Greek yogurt is very beneficial for pregnant women. Apart from calcium, it also contains probiotic bacteria, which is helpful for digestive health. This is a great alternative for lactose intolerant individuals. Probiotic supplements during reduces risk of health complications such as vaginal infections, preeclampsia, allergies, and gestational diabetes. However, it is important that you consult a gynecologist before taking these supplements.
Rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids, pregnant women should get ample omega-3 through their diet. These are very essential during pregnancy (DHA and EPA). Found in higher amounts in seafood, it is extremely helpful in building brain and eyes of fetus. Seafood intake in pregnant women is restricted to twice a week, due to high quantities of mercury and other contaminants found in fatty fish. Salmon is a natural source of vitamin D and very important for a wide range of processes in the body, including immune function and bone health.
- Whole Grains
Including whole grains (rich in B vitamins, fiber and magnesium) in diet can help pregnant women meet their increased calorie needs, especially during the second and third trimesters. Whole grains are powerhouses of essential fiber, vitamins and plant compounds. So make sure you include oats, quinoa, and other grains in your diet.
- Stay Hydrated
Body’s blood volume increases by up to 1.5 liters during pregnancy. Hence, it is crucial to stay hydrated. If you neglect water intake, you may become dehydrated and it will affect the fetus. Pregnancy stages week by week guidance by your gynecologist suggests that increasing water intake will help relieve constipation. It will also cut down the risk of urinary tract infections (a common condition during pregnancy). According to general health guidelines, a pregnant woman must drink about 2 liters of water per day.
Drinking water will increase blood volume during pregnancy, prevent constipation and urinary tract infections.
Eggs are brilliant sources of choline, needed for numerous processes in the body, including brain development and health. Low intake of choline during pregnancy will lead to a risk of neural tube defects and decreased brain function in the fetus.
- Lean Meat
These are brilliant sources of high-quality protein. Chicken is rich in choline, iron, and other essential B Vitamins. These nutrients are needed in higher amounts during pregnancy. Pregnant women require more iron in their body during the third trimester. Low levels of iron can lead to anemia, which significantly increases the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.
- Leafy Greens
Make sure you include broccoli and dark, green vegetables in your diet during pregnancy. These are great sources of vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K, vitamin A, iron, calcium, folate, and potassium. Since the fiber content is high, these vegetables also prevent constipation. Consumption of green, leafy vegetables also reduces risk of low birth weight.
To Sum Up
Whatever you eat during pregnancy will affect your health, overall energy and well-being. Additionally, it directly affects health and development of your growing baby. Pregnancy tends to increase a woman’s caloric and nutrient needs. Hence, it is crucial to add good amounts of healthy and nutrient-rich, foods.