What Every Expectant Mother Should Eat
If there’s ever a time when eating healthy cannot be overemphasized, it is when a woman is pregnant.
And this is because what a woman eats and drinks during pregnancy, becomes her baby’s primary source of nourishment.
Owing to this, experts have recommended that a mother-to-be should choose a variety of healthy foods and beverages that are essential for the baby’s growth and development.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an expectant mother needs more calcium, folic acid, iron and protein than a woman who is not expecting.
However, in this article, you will not only find out what to eat when pregnant but also why calcium, folic acid, iron, and protein are good for an expectant mother.
Calcium is a mineral used for the building of a baby’s bones and teeth. Its usefulness is very important for both mother and baby.
Food sources of calcium: milk, yoghurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juices and foods, sardines or salmon with bones.
2. Folic acid
Folic acid, which is also known as folate when found in foods, is a B vitamin which helps to prevent neural tube defect: A birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine.
Food sources of folic acid: leafy green vegetables, fortified or enriched cereals, bread, and pasta.
On the average, a woman needs thirteen to fourteen milligram per day. But when she’s expecting a baby, the number should double, because additional amounts of the mineral will be needed to make more blood to supply the baby with oxygen.
As the nutrient for building, protein helps to build important organs in the baby, such as the brain and heart.
Food sources of protein: meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, eggs, nuts e.t.c
What to eat during pregnancy?
In other to get an adequate nutrient, fill your plate with a different variety of vegetables.
Choose vegetables that are dark green (broccoli, kale, spinach), orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash), yellow (corn, yellow peppers), and red (tomatoes, red peppers).
When dieting on fruits, it best that you choose fresh, frozen, canned (in natural juice, not heavy syrup), and dried fruit or 100-percent fruit juice.
Try as much as you can to Include at least one citrus fruit (orange, grapefruit, tangerine) each day because citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C.
Limit fruit juice consumption to maximumly one cup a day; juice is high in calories compared with whole fruit, and it does not deliver the fibre that whole fruit does.
It is for the good of every pregnant woman to include rich sources of protein at every meal to support the baby’s growth; such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, milk e.t.c
4. Whole grains
These are an important source of energy in the diet. It is recommended that expectant mother should eat a minimum of six servings of grains per day; at least fifty percent of those grains should be whole grains.
Examples of whole grain are bread, cereals, crackers, and pasta.
Whole grains provide fibre, which is very important during pregnancy. Eating a variety of fibre-containing foods helps maintain proper bowel function and can reduce your chances of developing constipation and haemorrhoids.
An expectant mother should aim for three to four servings of dairy foods a day, such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese, which provide good dietary sources of calcium, protein and vitamin D.
In conclusion, it is important to state that maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy cannot be overemphasized. Because during this time, your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
As a matter of fact, you may need 350–500 extra calories each day during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
A diet that lacks key nutrients may negatively affect the baby’s development. Poor eating habits and excess weight gain may also increase the risk of gestational diabetes and pregnancy or birth complications.
In other words, choosing a healthy, nutritious food will help ensure your health and that of your baby.
And it will also make easy for you to lose the pregnancy weight after you’ve given birth.