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Nutrition During Pregnancy – What Is Healthy?

I had the wonderful opportunity to discuss nutrition and stress with a group of women. This compelled me to discuss nutrition during pregnancy and weight gain. I will start by unpacking nutrition.

When you first find out that you are pregnant, a lot of questions start popping up in your mind. You start thinking about your diet for the next 40 weeks, possible exercising options during this period, everything you can do for your baby’s well-being, and – most importantly – nutrition and weight gain. While some weight gain is normal during pregnancy – as you’ll be carrying a growing baby inside – the point of concern for many is how much of it is healthy. To be honest, you need to discuss your options with your healthcare provider and follow a proper plan to ensure that you not only get the much-needed nutrition during pregnancy but also maintain a healthy weight.

Why Is Nutrition Very Important While You’re Pregnant

During pregnancy, it is very important for you to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. It is not just good for your health, but also for the health of your unborn baby. 

Your baby gets all the nourishment from whatever you eat during pregnancy and, therefore, it is vital for you to consume nutrient-rich foods. When you get proper nutrition, it helps promote the development and growth of your baby. 

Furthermore, putting yourself on a nutritious diet in pregnancy can result in proper brain development as well as healthy birth weight. It can also help avoid many different birth defects in the baby. Proper diet also eliminates the risks of serious health conditions like anemia and can help avoid common pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue. 

A balanced diet in pregnancy should include:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Whole Grains
  • Vegetables and Fruits
  • Iron-Rich Foods
  • Enough Fats
  • Folic Acid
  • Choline and other such nutrients

Furthermore, as you get into the second trimester, it is particularly important to get prenatal multivitamins for ensuring that your body gets all the minerals and vitamins it needs in pregnancy. You should also try to consume foods that have omega-3 fats in them as they can be vital to the brain development of the growing fetus. 

Do Eating Habits And Preferences Change In Pregnancy

Vegan and vegetarian diets have become popular in recent decades all over the world. That’s because people believe they can prevent serious illnesses like cancer, coronary heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. Even though plant-based diets tend to lack nutrients like iron, proteins, calcium, vitamin D, omega-3, iodine, etc. there’s evidence available that when planned well vegan diets are safe in pregnancy as well as lactation. So, if you are on a vegan diet, you should discuss with your healthcare provider and put together a proper diet plan for your pregnancy. 

Generally, however, your eating habits should change in pregnancy as you have to eat for two. Here are some common changes you should expect in your eating habits during pregnancy. 

  • With changing nutritional needs as well as intestinal function, your body requires more nutrients for feeding the growing baby. So, you have to maintain enough supply.
  • You can also expect a change in your body cravings. Make sure that you respond to them by making good, nutritious choices.
  • Your portion sizes also change during pregnancy. You should better eat lighter and smaller portions slowly but frequently. This habit is pretty much in line with the upset stomach you may have in pregnancy. On some days, however, you may graze all day like a toddler as your cravings come into play.
  • As the requirements for your daily caloric intake increase, you should start consuming 300-500 calories extra every day.
  • Your eating habits, in pregnancy, should also change to accommodate your specific nutrients requirements. When pregnant, your body needs proteins, vitamins, fats, carbs, minerals, and water. So, you should be getting the perfect mix of all these nutrients. It is recommended that 15% of your daily caloric intake should be from proteins, around 50-60% should come from carbs, and almost 20-30% should be in the form of fats. In addition, you should have the recommended daily allowance of minerals and vitamins too.

    I’ve given you a bit to unpack. I hope you find this helpful. Next week, we’ll unpack the “ideal” weight gain during pregnancy.

**The information given is helpful, but it is not a substitute for your care provider. He or she will have specific information about you and will be able to help tailor your care for your personal circumstances. These are guidelines and the best care will sometimes mean doing things different than or in addition to what will be outlined today. Information is not being endorsed by any government or public entity. The views expressed are only those of the author**

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