The Most Beneficial Prenatal Diet
It can feel like a gigantic puzzle with a lot of missing pieces when there is so much to learn about being pregnant. Your doctor, friends, books, and articles will help you fill in the gaps along the road.
Thinking about the nutrients you need and the advantages they bring in pictures instead of words may help you remember them better (plus it’s a lot more fun than attempting to remember a bunch of nutrition laws).
10. Dairy + Canned Sardines = Strong Baby Bones
To construct your baby’s teeth and bones, you’ll need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. You could also be harmed if you don’t get enough. “Inadequate calcium intake in moms may cause bone loss and teeth damage,” says OB-GYN Sharon Sutherland, M.D., an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University’s Lerner College of Medicine.
Because your body removes calcium from your bones to strengthen the baby’s, you may develop osteoporosis as you age.
9. Dry Toast + Apple + Ginger Tea = Morning Sickness Relief
Morning sickness affects each woman differently, and no single food or treatment will assist everyone, according to Heather Blazier, R.D., L.D., a clinical dietitian at Tuomey Healthcare System in Sumter, South Carolina.
Keep a bag of soda crackers by your nightstand and eat a few before getting up. Eating bland foods at regular intervals—every three hours—will help keep your blood sugar levels consistent, preventing nausea. Plain rice, mashed potatoes, dry cereal, and yogurt are all excellent choices.
8. Chicken + Yogurt + Nuts = Cell Growth and Repair
Protein-rich diets are essential for both your and your baby’s tissue growth. “Protein intake during pregnancy must fulfill the requirement for placental, breast, and uterine growth, as well as the mother’s larger blood volume,” says Mark Dykowski, M.D., an OB-GYN at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. Protein also aids in the healing of cells that have been damaged by the changes brought on by pregnancy.
7. Avocados + Fish = Baby Brain Boost
Healthy fats, which are vital for your baby’s brain and vision, should make up 25% to 30% of your daily calorie intake. Blazier explains, “Dietary fat is one of the primary building blocks in the creation of fetal cells.” “Fish fat has been discovered to help your baby’s brain tissue and central nervous system develop.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a kind of omega-3 fatty acid found primarily in cold-water fish, is this brain-building lipid. Choose wild Pacific salmon, mussels, and other safe species to prevent mercury and other toxins.
6. Lentils + Fortified Grains = Preventing Birth Defects
Folate (a B vitamin found in some foods) and folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) can help prevent neural tube disorders like spina bifida. Before and during pregnancy, getting at least 400 micrograms of folate or folic acid (found in supplements and enriched grain products like cereals, pasta, and white rice) can prevent neural-tube abnormalities by up to 70%.
Because birth abnormalities of the brain and spine frequently emerge in the first few weeks of pregnancy, before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant, it’s critical to begin obtaining the required daily quantity as soon as possible, ideally before conception. If you’re already pregnant, the daily dose should be increased to 600 micrograms. If your diet and prenatal vitamin don’t provide enough folic acid, you’ll probably need a supplement, but talk to your doctor first.
5. Strawberries + Red Peppers = Preventing Preterm Delivery
Vitamin C supplementation (at least 80 milligrams per day) may help you avoid preterm labor. This is because vitamin C helps to strengthen your body’s membranes, notably the amniotic membranes, which can induce premature labor if they break.
Vitamin C-rich foods also aid iron absorption; iron is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body. According to Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., L.D., a Chicago-based American Dietetic Association spokesman, “eating vitamin C foods with vegetable sources of iron can help the iron get absorbed into your body.”
4. Lean Red Meats + Spinach = Production of Red Blood Cells
The daily iron need nearly doubles during pregnancy, reaching 27 milligrams, and a lack can lead to anemia. Iron’s principal function is to make hemoglobin in red blood cells, which is responsible for transporting oxygen to your tissues and the fetus.
Vitamins B6 and B12 (both found in many protein sources) are also required to aid in the expansion of blood volume as well as to maintain healthy brain and nerve function. “These vitamins assist the baby and mother in utilizing protein, carbs, and lipids for energy and the development of the baby’s cells,” Sutherland continues.
3. Whole Grains + Water = Consistency
Constipation can be caused by the iron in your prenatal vitamin, as well as pregnancy itself.
Every day, you’ll need roughly 25 to 35 grams of fiber in your diet. Try to obtain approximately 10 grams of fiber every meal at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day; fiber alone won’t move things along as rapidly as it could.
2. Eggs + Beans = Muscle and Organ Development
Protein is the building block of human tissue, and pregnant women require 60 to 70 grams each day. Sutherland explains, “Protein delivers amino acids that unite to make the baby’s muscles and organs.” Protein-rich diets are especially vital during the third trimester to assist the fetus grow as much as possible. The majority of protein sources are also high in iron and zinc.
1. Sunlight + fortified milk = Osteoporosis Prevention
“If you don’t get enough calcium, your baby will leech it out of your bones,” Blatner explains. This can lead to a loss of bone mass and degeneration of bone tissue, increasing your risk of fractures as you get older.
In addition to 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day, you must also consume 200 international units of vitamin D. (IU). “Without vitamin D, you can’t absorb calcium,” Blatner explains. Make sure the milk you buy is vitamin D-enriched, and attempt to get 15 minutes of sun exposure every day to obtain enough.