A Food & Nutritional Guide for Pregnant Women: Diet for Healthy Baby

Too much of pregnancy diet advice at your disposal! What to eat, not to eat, eat for two, etc, etc. Well, we are here to help. First things first! If it is a planned pregnancy, you should start eating healthy right from the ‘TTC’  (the time between ovulation and your expected period) period. When you see the positive sign on the strip, you are most likely four weeks pregnant.  Your body should be strong and healthy enough to carry and nurture a new life for the next few months. And of course, your pregnancy diet while being nutrient-rich  should not pile in too much extra body weight!

A baby eats what his mom eats, and as it grows, the nutritional requirements of the mom’s body increase to support the nourishment of the growing fetus. Here we discuss a pregnancy food guide for all you to-be-moms and their healthy developing babies.

Pregnancy foods to eat- Diet for a healthy baby

What nutrients do I need in pregnancy?

Ideally, you should start a folic acid supplement once you decide to conceive. Fill your plate with all colors of organic fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy, to derive maximum minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Drink 6-8 glasses of water and other fluids to keep your body hydrated and derive some essential nutrients. Here are the four most important nutrients that your diet must contain during pregnancy.

Folic acid

Folic acid, one of the B vitamins, when found in foods is known as folate. Along with a daily recommended dose of 400 micrograms of Folic acid prenatal vitamin, eat foods rich in folates like leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, cereals, fortified bread, and more. It is crucial in preventing neural tube defects in babies; which means that folic acid helps your baby’s neural tube develop into her brain and spinal cord.

Calcium

Calcium is needed to support the healthy development of teeth and bones of the baby. If there is a deficiency of this nutrient, the baby pulls away all the nutrition from the mom’s body, leaving it deficient and weak. Women need a good supply of calcium to keep their bones, muscles, and joints healthy, recover speedily after childbirth, and breastfeed their newborn. Eat dark leafy green vegetables, cheese and dairy items. Milk and dairy products are also fortified with Vitamin D, which together with calcium works in developing the baby’s bones and teeth.

As per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):

  • Pregnant women age 19+ need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily

Iron

During pregnancy, your body requires additional iron to increase blood supply. This ensures that enough oxygen is supplied to both you and your baby. Women, who are deficient in iron, suffer from a condition called anemia which results in fatigue, weakness, and low immunity levels. Along with iron-rich foods, you should include Vitamin C in your diet as it helps in absorbing iron from food. Eat iron-rich foods like poultry, meat, iron-fortified cereal, peas, dried beans, legumes, and fruits.

Protein

Known as the “builder nutrient”, protein helps in the development of the baby’s heart and brain. You can derive this nutrient from meat, poultry, legumes, eggs, nuts, dried bean, Tofu, and more.

For women struggling with nausea and morning sickness, eating all kinds of nutrient-rich foods would be a struggle. By the second trimester, however, you will feel better and you can eat your pregnancy food. Try and limit your caffeine intake, and for a healthier option, switch to caffeine-free herbal pregnancy teas. You should also steer away from alcohol, raw, processed and junk foods as they fill extra calories in your body and might even be harmful for your baby.

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