Nutrition During Pregnancy
Most of us know that we should be eating a far more nutritious diet than we currently do. But when you’re pregnant, healthy eating takes on a whole new level of importance. No longer are you eating just for yourself, you are now your baby’s number one source of nutrition. Good nutrition during pregnancy is important because it can help reduce the risk of things like birth defects or pre-term labor. With that in mind, here are some tips on good nutrition during each trimester.
First Trimester Pregnancy Nutrition:
For women who have just found out they are pregnant or for those trying to conceive, folic acid (or folate) is one of the most important nutrients to include in your diet. Folic acid reduces the risk of babies developing spinal and neurological defects. Prenatal vitamins are the best way to get your daily recommended dose of folic acid.
If folate is the most important nutrient in early pregnancy then Iron runs a close second. Iron is used to help transport oxygen-rich blood around the body. Without enough of it in our diet, we feel tired, fatigued and lethargic. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States and it can sometimes worsen during pregnancy. Iron can be found in the following foods:
- Red meats and poultry
- Fish such as halibut, haddock, perch, salmon, or tuna
- Plant foods like spinach, kale or broccoli
- For those unable to get enough iron in their diet, pregnancy supplements with iron are a great alternative.
Calcium plays an important role in building strong bones and teeth. During pregnancy, this becomes even more vital. Additionally, calcium also helps the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run normally. Studies show that calcium might prevent against high blood pressure during your pregnancy.
Second Trimester Pregnancy Nutrition:
By the time the second-trimester rolls around you’ve probably got a healthy eating routine. But here are a few things to keep in mind:
You’re not eating for two. You’re just eating healthy
Everyone has heard the old myth that while you’re pregnant you should eat for two. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, you’re providing nourishment to your growing baby but it’s important to stick to the key principles of healthy eating –such as plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. Remember, you do not need to eat twice the amount of food you usually do. To put things in perspective, consider that in your second and third trimester you only need an extra 300 calories per day. Stick to healthy eating in moderate amounts.
Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated
Not many people are big water drinkers but it’s important that during your pregnancy you stay well-hydrated and drink lots of water. As your blood pressure drops, staying well-hydrated will help to keep you from feeling faint. Additionally, it’s a good way to combat constipation and flush out any toxins and medications from the body.
Third Trimester Pregnancy Nutrition:
You’re now on the home stretch with just a few weeks left to go. You’ve got your diet in perfect order, you’ve been taking all your vitamins and you’ve been staying well-hydrated. All that’s left is to keep up with the healthy eating and to follow a few of these general tips to avoid any last minute problems:
Stay Caffeine Free – It would be best if you avoid consuming caffeine in any form during your pregnancy. This means laying off the coffee and avoiding aerated beverages.
Avoid alcohol – Most experts recommend zero alcohol consumption during pregnancy, so do follow this advice strictly.
For vegans or vegetarians – Those that follow a vegetarian or vegan diet should always consult their healthcare providers to make sure that they are meeting all their pregnancy-related nutritional requirements.
Pregnancy is a beautiful time, and you should be sure to enjoy every moment of it. Following the aforementioned do’s and don’ts will help you get through those nine months easily. Along with being mindful of nutrition, make sure you sleep on time and regular exercise. This will help you get through your pregnancy without any trouble or worry.