Pregnancy is truly a miracle of nature. A woman’s body accommodates the growth of beautiful, precious life within, making way for a new bundle of joy to enter the world. During this crucial time, mother and baby both need extra care and attention; and you as a mother need to look out for a healthy and balanced diet for your own health, as well as that of your child’s.
The notion that a pregnant woman eats for two is not entirely true; in fact, other sources suggest that gaining excessive weight can cause health complications and difficult birth. The food that you consume must be chosen wisely.
For the health of you and your baby, there are specific nutrients that your body needs during this time.
Folic Acid or Folate
Found naturally in foods, folic acid is essential for the early days of pregnancy. If you are trying to get pregnant then increasing your folic acid intake may actually help you conceive. Once conceived, continue taking the folic acid through the whole course of pregnancy.
Some foods to look for that prove folic acid include:
Iron deficiency is a universal problem. When you are pregnant, you are more prone to develop anemia (iron deficiency). Vegetarians are more under threat here. A non-pregnant woman needs 15 to 18 milligrams, and a pregnant woman needs 27 milligrams or more. Iron deficiency in the mother can contribute to reduced infant weight as well as complications in delivery and labor.
These foods can help provide you with enough iron:
- Pumpkin seeds
***Legumes are rich in Vitamin C. Eat legumes to help enhance the absorption of iron.
Vitamin D is essential for every woman as it helps the body with calcium absorption. But for expecting women, it is even more important because it strengthens the growing fetus’s bones. Sun exposure is the best and cheapest way to get an essential dose of vitamin D.
A pregnant woman needs approx. 600 IU of Vitamin D in a day. Usually, pregnant women do have sufficient amounts of vitamin D in their bodies already and shouldn’t need to take extra supplements. However, a vitamin D-deficient person might experience breathing issues later in life, so being diligent is always recommended.
In addition to daily sun exposure, cod liver oil is also a good source of vitamin D.
71 grams of protein per day is the recommended amount for pregnant women, however, it depends on the body mass of the person.
These are some of the best plant-based sources of proteins:
The fetus needs calcium for bone building. If you are calcium-deficit; the baby will take the calcium from your calcium assets. This will cause deficiency in the mother and will leave the bones brittle and weakened. A pregnant woman is recommended to consume 1400 milligrams daily. The common idea to meet calcium requirements is to add dairy products to your diet; however, dairy products are acidic and may spontaneously leach the calcium from the mother’s body.
These foods are good sources of calcium:
- Turnip greens
- Sea vegetables
- Sesame seeds
- Collard greens
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The common belief is that fish is the only source for getting omega 3, however, the dark side of eating fish is that some types have mercury and can cause harm (especially for pregnant women!). Replace the seafood with some other source of omega 3, as mercury can cause cerebral palsy, mental retardation, deafness, and blindness in the fetus.
It is recommended that a pregnant woman consumes 300 milligrams of omega-3 per day and some rich sources include:
- Nuts and seeds
A vegan mother is strongly recommended to add B12 to her diet. B12 is essential for developing the baby’s brain. It is necessary for the mother to take B12 before, after, and during the pregnancy as well as during breastfeeding.
The B12 within the mother’s body will first go to the fetus. Continue taking B12 in a sufficient amount while breastfeeding. Make sure your baby is getting an adequate amount of B12. Those mothers who are B12-deficit suffer from irritability, lethargy, and developmental delays. The recommended amount for B12 is 2.6 micrograms for pregnant women and 2.8 micrograms for those who breastfeed their infants.
Pregnancy is a beautiful time of your life; however, you need proper care and diet to stay strong and healthy. By considering these suggestions before each meal, you can help ensure that everyone is healthy and that your pregnancy flows as smoothly as Manuka honey.
Director, Editing and Testing, ReadPlease.com
Cheryl conducts hands-on reviews and extensive testing of products as well as manages the editorial and testing teams at ReadPlease.com. In her spare time she runs an ecommerce store and loves spending time with her daughter and dog, Blue.