What a woman eats and drinks during pregnancy is the main source of food for her and her baby. Pregnant women need a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to provide the essential nutrients that the baby needs for growth and development. Remember that the foods you eat during pregnancy must be healthy and nutritious to promote the growth of your baby and keep your health in check.
At Natural Care Chiropractic, our nutrition services can help you make the right decisions for your health and well-being - both during pregnancy and for the health of your child. Listen to your body and try to use foods that support your baby at all stages of pregnancy. In this article, we’ll tackle some of the most common complaints during pregnancy and tips to manage them:
Managing Morning Sickness
The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown, but it can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as bacteria, viruses, or even a combination of both. Nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms of morning sickness are common in women. It definitely doesn’t just happen in the morning, and it can happen at any time of day. It is better to eat a small amount of odorless food to relieve the symptoms, as the smell can also disturb the stomach. In addition to promoting healthy tissue and brain growth in your baby, vitamin B6 could help to ease morning sickness, including leafy vegetables and creamy fruits.
Many women have different kinds of cravings during pregnancy, so avoid eating things that are not part of your pregnancy diet. Cravings are most common for sweet foods such as chocolate, ice cream, and chocolate milk. Often, the desire stems from thirst, which the body supposedly needs to quench thirst rather than for a particular food. If you have heartburn during pregnancy, you should make sure you eat more meals in smaller amounts.
You have no idea how much weight you will gain during pregnancy or what your pregnancy cravings are. A balanced diet will help to ensure adequate nutrient intake and support healthy weight gain during pregnancy, especially for mothers who are underweight or overweight. So, if you are pregnant, it is important to increase the intake of those foods which contain essential nutrients and make sure you stick to your diet plan.
Essential Nutrients During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the goal is to eat nutritious food most of the time but finding the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in your diet, from fruits and vegetables to nuts and seeds, is a challenge. Vitamins and minerals are best during pregnancy which is why pregnant women should focus on fruits and vegetables, especially in their second and third trimesters. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, lentils, and seeds help maximize prenatal nutrition. In the next sections, we will share tips and tricks to help you eat the right foods during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, women are advised to increase the amount of folic acid to the level usual in daily prenatal vitamins. Women can also get it in the form of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. It is important to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid per day during pregnancy and ideally to start before pregnancy. Although folate-rich foods are part of a balanced diet, experts recommend that you take a 400 microgram-a-day folic acid supplement at least three times a week, ideally before pregnancy and up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
When you buy dietary supplements, remember that most multivitamins contain folic acid, but not all of them have enough to meet the nutritional needs of pregnant women. If you are pregnant, you need to take folic acid supplements to ensure you get everything you need.
Most of the carbohydrates that pregnant women consume every day should come from fruits and vegetables. These food groups are an important source of energy in one’s diet and are packed with fiber.
Many dairy products are also enriched with calcium, a nutrient that helps the baby’s bones and teeth develop. When a pregnant woman does not consume enough calcium, this mineral is taken from the mother’s bones and given to the baby to meet the additional requirements. This is used to build the baby’s bones and teeth. In additions, calcium can also be enriched by other sources such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as well as from milk, eggs, dairy products, and other foods that are rich in calcium.
Getting too little iron during pregnancy can lead to iron deficiency, a condition that leads to fatigue and an increased risk of infection. Pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron a day. This additional amount of the mineral is needed to gain more blood to oxygenate the baby. To increase iron absorption, food choices that are a good source of vitamin C should be added to your meals when eating iron-rich foods.
Pregnant women should include good sources of protein in every meal to support the baby’s growth and should take at least 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Protein is also known as one of the building blocks of nutrients because it contributes to the building up of body cells such as brain cells, liver, kidneys, and other organs. It contains fiber, iron, and B vitamins and is an important source of energy for one’s diet. More protein is needed during pregnancy, and it can be found in dried beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
Protein-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, along with fish, including salmon and sardines, are a good source of lean protein and also contain healthy fats that are good for the heart.
Foods You Should Avoid:
There are a number of foods you should avoid and keep out of your diet if you’re pregnant.
Moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy does not appear to contribute to miscarriages or premature births. However, consumption in large amounts can lead to issues with the baby’s development.
Anything that Contains Mercury
Mercury is a metal that can be harmful to your baby’s developing brain. Methylmercury is a toxic chemical that can pass through the placenta and be harmful to the developing brain, kidneys, and nervous system of the unborn baby. High levels of methyl mercury are present in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn babies and should be avoided during pregnancy. Canned tuna is safe for pregnant women to eat twice a week and is safe during pregnancy. However, the amount of alpha tuna and white tuna that have high levels of mercury should not be more than 6 ounces per week.
Alcohol in the mother’s blood can pass directly to the baby via the umbilical cord and can harm the baby. Heavy drinking during pregnancy is also associated with a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other health problems.
Pregnant women are more likely to contract listeria bacteria, which causes the parasite listeria and other types of infections, when consuming raw milk. Pasteurization heats products to high temperatures to kill harmful bacteria, making pasteurized milk safer to consume Hot dogs, meat, and sausages are steamed before eating, which kills bacteria, while chilled meat products, such as those store-bought options with salads, can cause listeria in pregnant women and unborn babies as well.
Toxoplasma infections, which can be caused by eating raw meat, is a group of infections that can be passed to the baby by the mother. Raw meat, including poached eggs, can increase the risk of other types of food poisoning, including diseases caused by salmonella and E. coli bacteria.
It is also advised to avoid spicy foods, foods high in sodium, such as meat, dairy products, eggs, and dairy products.. Meals that come with these types of food should also only include small portions in a pregnancy diet.
Importance of Prenatal Vitamins
Pregnant women should take prenatal vitamins and supplements to maintain a balance of nutrients that are difficult to obtain from foods such as folic acid and iron. While all the vitamins you need during pregnancy should come from your diet, a daily prenatal vitamin can help fill the small gaps if you are unintentionally not getting enough important nutrients.
Pregnant women need to take prenatal vitamins daily to obtain nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. A healthy diet is important, and you can get a nutritional boost from prenatal vitamins, when it is not possible to get all the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy from food alone. A well-balanced diet that contains calcium and iron can give you the nutrients you need for yourself and your baby during pregnancy.
Your doctor or nutritionist may recommend other prenatal vitamins and mineral supplements to ensure that you receive the appropriate amounts for your pregnancy to help promote good health and well-being of your baby. Although these supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet, most pregnant women still need to take these recommended prenatal vitamins to ensure their body gets adequate minerals and vitamins.
Ask your doctor which prenatal vitamins are best for you and your baby and how much folic acid and calcium you need. If you are taking multivitamins, make sure they are specifically made for pregnant women. It should be noted that it is important to consult with a doctor or midwife before purchasing any additional supplements. This also includes supplements that contain choline, which is not found in prenatal vitamins but is a great source of iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and other vital nutrients.