Nutrition is something you should always consider to be important, but this need becomes even greater when you start considering bringing a life into this world. If you were already on a very healthy diet when you got pregnant, your baby got off to a great start.
However, many expectant mothers don’t plan their dietary needs in advance. This is where this nutrition for pregnancy guide comes in.
This makes getting your dietary plan nailed down during your pregnancy even more important. In order to give your fetus a healthy environment to grow and develop, you have to give them the nutrients they need to become a fully-grown baby.
You can supplement your diet with prenatal vitamins, but the natural benefits they’ll get from food can’t be truly replicated.
It’s good to start balancing your diet immediately, but you also have to think about how you’ll need to eat more as you move along in your pregnancy.
You won’t need extra calories for the first six months of pregnancy, but you will need to increase your diet by about 200 calories a day during your last trimester if you’re expecting one child. If you’re expecting twins, you’ll need to take in 600 more calories. If you’re expecting triplets, quadruplets, or higher order multiples, you’ll need to increase your caloric intake by 1,000 calories.
In any case, this is a discussion you’ll want to have with your doctor, gynecologist or midwife. That said, the question is: what foods do you really need to promote fetal health and how do you increase this intake during your last 3-6 months?
6 Pregnancy Nutrition For You
First and foremost, you’ll need to include lots of carbs in your diet. If you were on a no-carb diet before getting pregnant, be prepared to change that now. This includes foods like potatoes, cereals, oatmeal and other grains.
If you can, aim for eating wholegrain foods. These offer you more fiber, more iron, and more natural vitamins. They also help keep pregnancy constipation at bay.
Note: Gluten can affect negatively the gut (which is the heart of your immune system), I’d recommend you to limit your consumption of gluten-containing grains.
2. Fresh Produce
Fruits and vegetables will be one of your best friends while pregnant. Why? Fruits provide you with natural healthy sugars, and a good diet means cutting out fatty, sugary desserts. If you love sweets, be prepared to supplement them with fruit every day.
Dark green vegetables are especially healthy because of their folic acid content. Folic acid is the most important vitamin for child development, so you’ll need to eat a lot of spinach and kale when expecting.
Also use vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli as well as fruits like strawberries, kiwi, and citrus to help boost your vitamin C.
Additionally, the fiber they contain will help you with constipation you might be experiencing.
3. Milk And Dairy
Leave sugary dairy items behind and instead go for high-fat and calcium-rich dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and whole milk. Not only will they help with your own teeth and bones, they’ll also help your baby’s.
4. Meat And Fish
If you don’t like fish, you should probably get accustomed to the taste. Oily fish contains lots of essential fatty acids your baby needs to grow, especially for their brain and visual development. You should also aim to eat lots of red meat due to its high iron content.
Note: Aim for quality over quantity, and for organic farm-raised meat and wild fish as much as you can, so that you avoid toxins that might impair your baby’s growth and health.
5. Eggs And Beans
Beans, eggs, and lentils offer you a lot of protein. They aren’t necessarily essential, but they do help you mix things up and give you some extra protein when you may be lacking it. When eating eggs, make sure they’re cooked, as raw eggs are not recommended when you’re pregnant.
6. Increase Calorie Intake
It’s actually easier than you think. The trick is to keep track of your calories, which may sound overwhelming when there’s already so much on your plate with the baby alone. Get a calorie counter app and try your best to keep track of how much you eat regularly each day.
When it comes to your last trimester, try something simple, like eating a portion and a half for one meal. Try to consume more snacks regularly to keep your calorie count high, but remember – 200 calories isn’t a lot, and it’s not an excuse to overeat.