Top 5 Useful Nutritional Needs for Every Expectant Mother
Worrying about nutrition during pregnancy is a natural concern, especially for new expectant mothers.
With the abundance of studies showing how a mother’s food intake and general lifestyle during pregnancy impact the fetus and the baby once it is born, greater focus has been given to what would help mothers ensure their baby receives all the necessary nutrients while still in the womb.
Are you one of those moms unsure about what food to eat, that would work well for both your health and your baby’s development? If so, then this simple guide should help you choose the best foods confidently, and ensure you enjoy them as well.
What To Eat
During pregnancy, you need to pay extra attention to your intake of certain nutrients which play a vital role in the development of your baby while still in the womb. Among the most important nutrients you need to consider having on a daily basis include the following.
●Protein and calcium
Both highly essential to fetal development, abundant sources of protein include milk and dairy products which also happen to be rich in calcium, vitamin B complex, zinc, magnesium as well as phosphorus.
As long as you are not allergic to dairy, one of the best protein and calcium-rich foods you may want to consider including in your diet is Greek yogurt. Other options include soft cheeses made with pasteurized milk, dried beans and lentils, lean meat, eggs, nuts and soy food.
Women with inadequate iron intake are at a risk for anemia, and this risk increases with pregnancy. Pregnant women usually need 22mg to 27mg of iron per day, and you would do well to include iron-rich food in your diet such as lean red meat as well as other lean meats, green leafy vegetables, legumes and iron-fortified whole grain cereals.
For better iron absorption, have your iron-rich food with a side of fresh vitamin C-rich fruit juice.
This nutrient, which is a type of vitamin B, is essential to your baby’s overall health and development.
Folate-rich food sources include avocado, dark leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beans, peas, legumes and lentils, citrus fruits, and nuts and seeds.
This essential mineral is important for learning, motor skills and hearing development. Make sure you don’t skimp on iodine-rich food sources such as seaweed or kelp, sardines, tuna and other fish, eggs, cheese, milk, bananas, strawberries, sweet potatoes, onions, peanuts and barley.
Important for bone development, vitamin D is absolutely necessary for the growth of your baby and for your own bone health.
The best food sources for this nutrient include cheese, egg yolks, oily fish, certain wholegrain breakfast cereals and fortified food products, and beef liver. The best vitamin D source, though, is sunlight. Your doctor may also prescribe vitamin D supplements as needed.
With your compromised immune system, vitamin C is even more important for protecting you from infections. It is also essential for collagen production which plays a major role in blood vessels.
Among your best options for vitamin C are citrus fruits, papayas, bell peppers, guavas, most vegetables, kiwi and strawberries.
During pregnancy, you may experience constipation due to an increase in the production of the hormone progesterone, thereby relaxing the smooth muscles in your body (including the digestive tract), so it helps to always have adequate fiber in your diet.
Great sources of fiber include dates and other fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain cereal products. Make sure to drink plenty of water as well.
What to avoid
Along with what you should eat, you should also know what you need to avoid to prevent any complications during your pregnancy.
Another thing to consider would be checking if you have any food-related allergies so you know exactly what to cross off permanently on your list.
If you have any pressing health concerns, your doctor is the best person who can help identify any inadequacies in your diet or vitamin deficiencies, and may prescribe vitamin supplements to ensure you and your baby have optimum nutrition at such a crucial stage in both of your lives.