Nutrition needs of expecting mothers

When a woman is expecting, her dietary routine undergoes a significant change because of the changes taking place in her body. 

Several myths and misconceptions are surrounding healthy diet tips during pregnancy. The biggest myth is that the expecting mother should immediately start fuelling up her body with extra calories from the moment she discovers the woman is pregnant. Start eating twice the amount of her daily diet. The fact is that eating more is not required until the second trimester. Additionally, calorie intake has to increase by a minimal amount. What is of considerably more importance is to focus on eating the right food which is rich in proteins, calcium, iron, folic acid and other minerals.

All relatives and friends tend to advise pregnant women regarding a healthy diet and gaining weight. Just listening to all the conflicting opinions can be quite stressful, a bad sign during pregnancy. Instead, follow the tips listed below for a smart diet for pregnancy.

Nutrients to focus on for a smart diet for pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman has to be extremely cautious about choosing the foods with the right nutrients. A significant part of the diet should be focused on nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Low-fat dairy products and whole wheat grains whereas foods that are rich in fat like fried foods, sweets and chocolates etc. should be avoided. Here is a short overview of the essential nutrients which should be a part of the diet:

  • Iron: An essential nutrient which reduces stress and helps restore the immunity of the body towards diseases by promoting blood flow. Deficiency of iron in the body during pregnancy often leads to irritation and depression.
  • Protein: Protein is essential not only for maintaining the energy levels of pregnant women but is also very necessary for the growth of the baby, Eespecially concerning the development of his brain and muscle tissues. The best source of proteins is seafood, eggs and soy products.
  • Calcium: Calcium is a highly recommended nutrient for the development of the baby. Deficiency of calcium can result in the baby being born with weak bone or dental structure. To supplement calcium needs, pregnant women should have low-fat dairy products, especially yoghurt as well as green vegetables like spinach.
  • Folic Acid: During pregnancy, the body needs a lot of extra blood, not only to give life to the baby but also to make up for the blood loss during delivery. Folic acid is essential as it uses to make the extra blood. Best sources of folic acid are lentils, cereals, kidney beans and citrus fruits.

Top foods to be eaten when pregnant

Here is a list of the high pregnancy foods which will keep the mother healthy and protected from diseases and infections, at the same time ensuring optimum growth and development of the baby in the womb.

  1. Eggs – Hard-boiled eggs or scrambled eggs are not only easy to make but are an excellent spring of protein which is essential for the development of the brain tissues of the baby. Two eggs a day is necessary for the diet of an expecting mother.
  2. Yoghurt – Although all low-fat dairy products recommend. Yoghurt ranks on top of the list because of its extremely high calcium and protein content along with almost nil calories.
  3. Lean Meats – Another food item which is an excellent source of protein. Beef and pork are especially beneficial. However, one should stay away from deli foods like hotdogs or hamburgers.
  4. Beans – Beans recommend for supplementing the body with the fibre content, which can avoid gastrointestinal problems. Beans are also a great spring of iron, folate and zinc.
  5. Salmon – Salmon is considered a top food item for a pregnant women’s diet since it is amazingly high in protein as well as Omega3. Fish like canned tuna is also good but not as good as salmon.
  6. Berries – These are a good source of calcium, folate, fibre and vitamin C. Besides also being refreshing to eat and a tasty snack product. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries recommended.
  7. Whole wheat grains – Last but not the least, merely eating brown rice, brown bread, oats, barley. Wheat pasta during meals can fulfil all the iron, folic acid and fibre needs of the body of pregnant women. Oatmeal can be a great addition to the breakfast menu.

Some do’s and don’ts for a healthy diet during pregnancy

Apart from eating the right foods, here are some more tips which pregnant women must follow:

  • Do not drink alcohol as it causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome leading to significant congenital disabilities and premature delivery.
  • Limit salt consumption as excess salt can cause high blood pressure which pregnant women are susceptible.
  • Eat only cooked foods and avoid foods like raw eggs, sushi and undercooked meat as they may be a source of foodborne illnesses.
  • Do not go on a dieting regime. Gaining weight is an integral part of pregnancy which can quickly shed after the baby is born.
  • Avoid soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert or unpasteurized cheese.

A smart diet for pregnancy can be straightforward to follow and certainly has long-reaching benefits, especially for the baby whose development is entirely dependent on whether the expecting mother is eating right or not.