A healthy pregnancy diet should always be a top priority, but especially if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
Here are the reveals which foods to eat while pregnant and the best foods that are high in essential vitamins and nutrients, which you should be consuming if you’re expecting.
Looking after yourself when you’re pregnant or planning for a baby is important not just for your own well-being, it’s also critical for the health and vitality of your precious baby.
Eating the right foods is important to ensure you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy, and that your baby receives all the nutrients they need to thrive.
Foods to eat while pregnant
A balanced diet is a key to maintaining general good health.
But there are some essential vitamins and nutrients that are especially beneficial for you and your baby that you can include in your diet before, during, and after pregnancy.
Low iron during pregnancy can result in fatigue for women and it can also contribute to premature birth and low baby birth weight. Pregnant women need an increased 27 mg of iron each day.
The most efficient way to get adequate iron is by eating red meat, but iron is also found in legumes, fortified whole grain breads and cereals, as well as green leafy vegetables.
To maximize absorption of iron, eat your iron-rich and vitamin C-rich foods together – e.G. Serve your steak with a side of broccoli or spinach or followed by kiwifruit or orange.
Your doctor may recommend an iron supplement that contains vitamin C to assist with absorption if you’re not able to get enough iron in your diet.
It’s recommended that women increase their folate intake even before they become pregnant and maintain this throughout the course of their pregnancy.
Your doctor is also likely to recommend you take a folate supplement from at least a month before you conceive and for the first three months of pregnancy to ensure your folate intake is adequate.
Iodine is an important contributor to a healthy thyroid.
In addition, increased iodine intake is important prior to conception because it helps to regulate metabolism and the menstrual cycle.
Most foods only contain small amounts of iodine, making it difficult for pregnant women to get enough iodine through diet alone.
However, the main sources of iodine include fortified bread, dairy, and seafood.
You can get half of your daily choline needs by eating just two eggs – you can also find choline in beef, soybeans, quinoa, mushrooms, chicken, and potatoes.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
It’s essential to include omega-3 in your pregnancy diet to support your baby’s brain and eye development, and an omega-3 deficiency during pregnancy can have permanent effects on your child’s cognitive function.
You can get omega-3 in low mercury fish like salmon, tuna, and trout. There are plant-based sources as well, including nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
There may be times when the foods you eat don’t give you enough of the vitamins and nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Whilst a good diet goes a long way in maintaining good pre-conception and pregnancy health, there are also other lifestyle changes that can make a big impact on your health too.
Keep on moving
Women who maintain regular exercise throughout their pregnancy may experience improved mood, better weight control, and fitness levels (helpful for the marathon of childbirth!).
Regular exercise can also help to decrease the risk of developing complications such as pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Chat with your doctor about the type and level of exercise you should be aiming for to stay healthy and avoid injury or exertion while you’re expecting.
Get your beauty sleep
Pregnancy may disrupt your regular sleep patterns as your hormones change and your body becomes less comfortable as the baby grows.
For your body to cope with growing a baby though, it needs to recover each day with enough sleep.
Sleep is essential for your own brain function and the health of your immune system – and critically, it helps to regulate growth hormone levels which are very important during pregnancy.
To promote better sleep, eat a balanced diet including the foods mentioned above, include regular exercise in your daily activity, and try to avoid things like caffeine and other stimulants that may impede sleep.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
Do not exceed the stated dose except on medical advice. If you have had a baby with a neural tube defect/spina bifida, seek specific medical advice.