Pregnant women must take the special care of themselves, because they are no longer responsible just for their own health and well being but also for that of their unborn child. Women who are about to become mothers have increased need for certain nutrients, such as folate, and they must avoid some foods and beverages, like alcohol.
Recommended daily intake of different food groups
A healthy, varied diet for pregnant women is an imperative. They must consume products of all the food groups.
It is recommended that pregnant woman have four to six servings of foods like bread, pasta, rice, cereals and similar foods. One serving can mean two slices of bread, one cup of pasta or rice, one and a half cup of breakfast cereals.
Foods that belong to vegetables and legumes should be divided into five or six servings. This includes all the vegetables, preferably fresh, and legumes are beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Fruit must be present in a pregnant woman’s diet, and the recommended intake is at least four servings. Fresh and organic fruit is preferred.
Dairy products, like milk, yogurt and cheese should come in two servings.
The body’s requirement of protein is best met with meat, fish, eggs and nuts. The recommended dose is one and a half serving.
Fats and oils can be covered with both spreads used on bread and with nuts, which contain high levels of beneficial fat.
Some weight gain is not only normal but also welcome for the mothers-to-be. What exactly a healthy weight gain is depends on the weight before pregnancy and on some individual characteristics and constitution and it is best to discuss it with the doctor.
Pregnancy is not the time to lose weight. Dieting may harm the baby and there will be plenty of time for that once the baby is born.
Vitamin and mineral requirement
Pregnant women require more vitamins and minerals. This particularly goes for iron, zinc, vitamin C, folate and iodine.
Iron can be taken as a supplement, in form of fortified foods or in its natural form- red meat and green leafy vegetables. Red meat is also a good source of zinc.
Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruit and in vegetables like broccoli, peppers, cabbage and cauliflower. A glass of fresh citrus juice is an excellent way to elevate the vitamin C levels.
Pregnant women need folate, which is a vitamin of the B group, in order to reduce the risk of birth defects for their baby. Folate should be taken as a supplement throughout the pregnancy.
Iodine is an essential mineral necessary for the pregnant women. Iodine deficiency can lead to problems with thyroid gland. The body needs only small amounts of this mineral, and one of its best sources is seafood.