Making sure that you are getting the right nutrition throughout the 9-month period that you have to carry your little one in your belly is essential for the optimum growth and development of your child. You need to eat healthy in order to prepare your body for the numerous hormonal and physical changes that you will have to go through.
Although it may be difficult to strictly follow all the guidelines in keeping a healthy diet when you’re pregnant due to cravings for a particular food as well as the sudden distaste for certain types of meal that you would otherwise happily crunch on, it is critical that you stay mindful of the the key nutrients that your body needs.
It is extremely vital that you eat folate-rich food early in your pregnancy for the proper development of your child’s brain and spinal cord. It is even recommended for those who are trying to conceive since that neural tube defects normally develop in the first month of pregnancy. The most common forms of neural tube defects are spina bifida, a condition in which the spinal column does not close out completely, and anencephaly, a condition in which parts of the brain and skull are missing or not fully developed.
Top Sources of Folate:
- Dark green vegetables (e.g. brocolli, spinach, asparagus, lettuce, okra, celery)
- Citrus fruits (e.g. grapefruits, mago, lemons and limes, oranges, papaya)
- Berries (e.g. strawberries, raspberries)
- Beans (e.g. pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans)
- Nuts and seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds, peanuts, flax seeds, almond seeds)
- Lentils and peas (e.g. split peas, green peas)
- Fortified cereals and bread
Sufficient amount of calcium is essential not just for your baby but also for you especially in the third trimester. Your baby needs calcium for the development of his bones, and you need calcium to avoid preeclampsia and hypertension. If you don’t get enough dose of calcium during your pregnancy, your baby will draw the required nutrient from your bones. This will eventually pose risks to your own health.
Fortunately, your body’s capability to absorb calcium from food sources increases significantly when you’re pregnant. However, it is still imperative that you ensure that you get your daily dose of calcium.
Top Sources of Calcium
- Milk and dairy products (e.g. cheese, yogurt, buttermilk)
- Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, turnips, kale, collard green, bok choy)
- Soy and tofu
- Fish (e.g. sardines, salmon)
- Nuts and seeds (e.g. almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts)
- Fortified cereals
Getting enough iron ensures that enough oxygen is transmitted to your unborn child and to other parts of your body. It is also essential since that your body needs twice as much iron for the production of hemoglobin for your baby. Moreover, the risks of low birth weight and preterm delivery can be prevented through the sufficient intake of iron.
There are two forms of dietary iron. The first one is non-heme, which can be obtained from plant sources, and the second is heme, which can be obtained primarily from animal sources, although meat contains bith heme and non-heme iron.
Top Sources of Iron
- Seafood and meat
- Liver and other organ meats
- Iron-fortified cereals and bread
- Beans and seeds (e.g. white beans, winged beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soybeans, garbanzo beans)
- Nuts and lentils(e.g. cashew nuts, almonds, hazelnuts)
- Mushrooms (e.g. morel, white)
- Green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, parsley, brocolli, kale)
The need for protein is particularly high in the second and third trimester when your baby’s growth is rapid. The components of protein are amino acids, otherwise referred to as the building blocks of your body. It is also essential for the development of your little one’s brain.