Every expectant mother knows that their pregnancy diet is vital to the health of their child. Your doctor will have sat you down and told you about the dangerous foods that you should avoid, highlighted the additional vitamins and nutrients you would need, and… scared you senseless.
Then there’s the myth of eating for two. In reality, during your second and third trimesters, your baby needs you to eat additional calories, yes. However, experts reckon around 500 is more than enough. Hoeing into a kilo of chocolate a day because you’re eating for two now, is not only bad for you – but it could actually be harmful to your baby if you overdo it.
Your eating habits can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy or birth, and increase the likelihood of gestational diabetes. So, it’s important, which is why we want to provide you with some key foods that you should make sure are in your pregnancy diet. Let’s take a look.
Okay, so dairy is an entire food group, but it’s an important one. You and your growing baby need plenty of calcium and protein and you can get plenty of it from sources like milk which contains whey and casein. Additionally, Greek yogurt is an excellent option. Dairy will provide you with good bacteria, a host of B vitamins, calcium, zinc, and protein.
Omega 3 fatty acids are another crucial ingredient that pregnant women need. Most of us don’t get enough of them. While seafood can be dangerous for pregnant women due to mercury, it’s safe to enjoy wild salmon twice a week. This will ensure you get plenty of omega 3 fatty acids. There’s an additional benefit to enjoying salmon, it’s packed with vitamin D which will protect your bones and your immune system.
This is an excellent source of vitamin A, which your body will need to ensure for healthy development for your fetus. Generally, women are advised to increase their vitamin A intake by up to 40% during pregnancy. Animal-based products are generally an excellent source of vitamin A, but pregnant women are advised to limit their intake of these products. Thus, sweet potatoes are ideal. Also, sweet potatoes contain plenty of fibre, which helps you feel fuller for longer.
Eggs are the perfect food. A large one contains just 77 calories, and it is packed with fat, protein, and all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Choline improves health and brain development and most people aren’t getting enough of it. Choline deficiency can lead to a number of issues during pregnancy, and one egg contains 25% of your daily choline intake.
Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale (we’ll count broccoli, too) are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, fibre, folate, and iron. They’re also antioxidant rich. Dark, leafy greens can help you avoid constipation, improve digestion, and boost the immune system.
In particular, berries and avocados. Berries are nature’s candy and provide you with antioxidants, healthy carbohydrates, fibre, and vitamin C. They’re also on the low side of the glycemic index which means you can avoid blood sugar spikes. Meanwhile, avocados are the healthy fat that you need. They also contain vitamins B, C, E, and K, as well as potassium and fibre.
Don’t go overboard. But you should enjoy your pregnancy, enjoy being able to enjoy a few extra delights with the knowledge you’re likely to gain a little weight anyway – and just relish being pregnant in every way possible.