Pregnancy diet and nutrition is significant for the health and nourishment of both mother and baby. As per the experts opinion, whoever in the pregnancy should eat a variety of healthy foods and drinks to provide important nutrients for the growth and development of your baby.
Key pregnancy nutrition
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG ) recommends that for pregnant women, it is essential to intake nutrition like calcium, folic acid, iron, and protein.
- Folic acid:
Folic acid otherwise known as Folate is an important nutrient that is found in foods which are also Vitamin B. This nutrient is very essential for preventing birth defects in a baby’s brain and spinal cord, which is a neural tube defect. During pregnancy, it is advised to women to increase the amount of folic acid intake up to 600 micrograms a day.
Calcium is a key mineral that helps in the growth and development of baby’s bones and teeth. If a pregnant woman skips consuming enough calcium, the necessary calcium for the baby will be taken from the mother’s bones to meet the bone development needs of the baby. As per the research of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, many dairy products contain Vitamin D which when accompanied with Calcium fasten the growth of bones and teeth in babies.
An intake of 27 milligrams of iron a day will be essential for a pregnant woman. ACOG recommends that an additional amount of iron is needed to produce more blood in mother so that it can be transferred to the baby’s body. With a little iron, it will lead to fatigue and increased risk of infections.
A pregnant woman should increase the protein intake in food as a good means of prenatal nutrition. Protein is the main source that helps in building important organs like the heart and brain for the baby.
What to eat?
Pregnancy demands the right food intake that has enough nutrition to make both you and your baby healthy. To increase prenatal nutrition, it is necessary to intaking five groups of food such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy products. Let’s see how these five essential foods can help to gain nutrition in a pregnant woman:
- Fruits and vegetables:
As a pregnant woman, you need to consume more fruits and vegetables, especially when you are in the second or third trimester. The best part is that the fruits and vegetables are low in calories and it has an abundance of fiber, minerals, and vitamins that can meet your baby’s growth needs.
- Lean protein:
Including protein sources in every meal is good support for baby’s development. Some of the protein-rich food that you need to intake includes fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, nuts and seeds, poultry, etc.
- Whole grains:
Whole grains are the primary source of energy and it gives enough fiber, iron and Vitamin B to your diet and thereby making your body capable of maintaining a healthy body. Some of the recommended whole grains for a pregnant woman include oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, etc.
You can aim for 3-4 times of dairy products intake a day. The dairy products such as yogurt, cheese are very vital sources of calcium, Vitamin D and protein.
According to ACOG, apart from a healthy diet, it is also necessary for the pregnant woman to consume prenatal vitamins daily so that it can add more nutritional value other than what you get from diet.
It is advisable to also limit some food like caffeine products like coffee, chocolates as it’s excess intake will lead to miscarriage or premature birth. Even though fish is a lean protein which has omega-3-fatty acids, limit its intake and only eat 8 to 12 ounces of cooked fish and seafood a week. You need to also avoid alcohol, fish with high levels of mercury, unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods, raw or undercooked meats, and poultry.
Typically a pregnant woman in the second trimester has to intake extra 200 calories in their diet and 300 calories during the third trimester so that the baby can grow quickly.
Are you concerned about the dietary plan and required nutrition during your pregnancy period? Come and talk to the expert doctor, Dr. Shwetha Y Baratikkae at Janisthaa Fertility Center and Hospital located in Basaveshwara Nagar, Bengaluru to get the most personalized advice on diet and nutrition intake according to your trimester and other body factors.
Book a free consultation today and unlock your doors to parenthood!