Healthy eating during pregnancy means optimizing what types of food and fluids you have every day to make sure you and your baby get the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The healthier you are, the better your baby can develop. Eating from a variety of food groups and knowing what to avoid are keys for a safe and successful pregnancy, along with getting appropriate exercise and quality sleep.
Get All the Nutrients for You and Your Baby
Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits is an important part of healthy meals during pregnancy. When consuming grains, choosing whole grains is helpful, and fat-free or low-fat dairy are good options. Good habits also include limiting sugar, saturated fats, and sodium (salt).
You should make sure to include the following in your diet:
- Folate and folic acid: a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects (especially in the brain and spine). You can find it in fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and some dried beans and peas.
- Calcium: supports not only strong bones and teeth, but also blood circulation, muscles, and the nervous system. Dairy products, broccoli, and kale are good sources.
- Vitamin D: promotes bone health, including good bone and teeth development for your baby. Fatty fish is a good vitamin D source.
- Protein: is a key element in your baby’s growth throughout your pregnancy. Natural sources include lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Iron: helps the production of hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that transports oxygen to your organs. During pregnancy, you need more iron than usual to ensure your baby’s health. Lean red meat, poultry, fish, and beans are good natural sources.
Staying hydrated is crucial when you are pregnant and making sure to drink enough water every day makes a significant difference for your health and your baby’s development. Drinking plenty of water helps to prevent constipation and the risk of early labor.
Learn What Foods to Avoid
Just as certain foods are especially beneficial to you and your baby during pregnancy, others are detrimental.
When pregnant, you should avoid:
- Fish high in mercury (tuna, king mackerel, shark, swordfish)
- Raw or rare (undercooked) seafood
- Unpasteurized cheese
- Raw or rare meat, poultry, or eggs
- Unpasteurized juice
- Raw sprouts
- Hot dogs and deli meats
Limit Caffeine and Avoid Alcohol
If you are a regular coffee or tea drinker, doctors recommend that you switch to decaf and, if possible, unsweetened options. Limiting sugar has many benefits for your health, including when you are pregnant. Avoiding sugary drinks, including soda and sport or energy drinks, is also a good idea.
Don’t drink any alcohol when you are expecting a baby. No amount is safe during this time.
Take Prenatal Supplements
While you should focus on getting your nutrients via your food choices, many doctors recommend taking a prenatal supplement during pregnancy, and if possible, even starting it 3 months before conceiving.
The three main prenatal supplements for daily intake are:
- Folic acid
Your medical provider can recommend specific supplements for these key elements and help you determine whether additional supplements are necessary for your pregnancy, such as DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that helps with your baby’s brain and eye development. If you are thinking of adding herbal supplements to your diet when expecting, you should always talk to your doctor first as some of those can be harmful during pregnancy.
Our team at Soza Weight Loss can teach you how to build healthy habits at all stages of your life, including pregnancy. Give us a call today at (504) 475-9817 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.