Pregnancy is perhaps the most delicate period in every woman’s life. It is a time when a woman has to pay a lot of attention to every aspect of her health, including the diet. What mother eats, directly affects the baby’s health and development. Mothers are supposed to eat approximately 300 more calories daily, than they did before they become pregnant. Getting more calories can lead to overweightness and associated problems during pregnancy. Keeping a well balanced diet in pregnancy may be challenging because of the food cravings and problems with nausea and vomiting in the course of the first few months. However, a woman should try to follow a well balanced diet and keep herself and the baby healthy.
Crucial nutrients for pregnant women
Folic acid, also known as folate is one of the key nutrients in pregnancy. This acid helps to increase the mother’s blood volume and lessen the risk of Neural Tube Defects (NTD). Women can even substitute this ingredient in the first three months of pregnancy, to make sure they meet the daily needs.
Iron is extremely important as it supports production of hemoglobin and ensures optimum oxygen and nutrient supply to placenta and growing fetus. Iron rich foods include lean red meat, fish, poultry, dried fruits, whole-grain breads and iron-fortified cereals.
Calcium is extremely important for healthy bones and teeth. Moreover, this mineral helps baby to develop a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles and a functional heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. Milk and dairy products are loaded with calcium as well as the canned fish and calcium-fortified foods such as cereal, juice, soy and rice drinks, and pastry.
Vitamin D in high dosages may reduce pregnancy risk of complications like gestational diabetes, preterm birth and infections. Fortified milk and fatty fish are common food sources of vitamin D but a human body cannot synthesize this vitamin without sunlight. Daily sun exposure to the natural light may help prevent vitamin D deficiency in both mother and her child.
Diet tips for pregnant women
Simple tips can help to make dietary changes required in pregnancy easier. First of all, women should eat a great variety of foods of all colors, to make sure all of the nutrients are equally obtained. Foods high in fiber can help promote regular bowel movements, help with constipation and prevent food cravings. Having a snack a couple of times a day is also recommended to ensure optimum calorie intake without overeating. It would be the best to choose at least one good source per day for all of the most important nutrients, including vitamin C.