What you eat during pregnancy provides all of the nutrients to your growing baby. Therefore, make sure that it isn’t plain junk food or just calcium and folic acid enriched foods, because you just found out that they are very important. Vitamins, carbohydrates and fats are also essential for health as well as absorption of various minerals. A healthy diet means a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats and a lot of water, all imperative for nutrition during pregnancy.
Optimum Weight Gain in Pregnancy
A woman with normal weight before pregnancy should gain anywhere between 11 kg and 15 kg. Those who are carrying twins should expect to gain more, between 18 Kg and 20 kg. If you are overweight or underweight, the weight gain during pregnancy should be around 7 to 11 kg or 12 to 18 kg, respectively.
Importance of Folic Acid, Calcium and Iron
Folic acid -
During early pregnancy, it is recommended by doctors to consume folic acid because it greatly reduces the chances of baby being born with a neural tube defect. Your daily dose should be 400 mcg to 800 mcg from a mix of food items and supplements. If you are expecting twins, increase the dose to 1000 mcg. If you have a family history of neural tube defects or other defects, consult your doctor as you might need more amount of folic acid.
Essential for the development of bones, calcium must be included in your daily diet throughout the pregnancy. Drink three to four glasses of milk everyday. If you are not a dairy person, eat mustard and turnip greens, kale, bokchoy, watercress, spinach, broccoli, sardines or salmon with bones, tofu and drink orange juice that is calcium-fortified.
Additional iron supports the growth of placenta and the baby. In the first three months, your regular intake is fine but in the second and third trimester, you should take additional 30 mg of iron supplement everyday. Check with your doctor as most prenatal vitamins are inclusive of iron. If you are pregnant with twins, increase the intake to 60 mg daily. Iron supplements are best absorbed in small amounts so distribute the intake through the day and ensure that you consume vitamin C for better results. The natural resources of iron are spinach, lean red meat, iron-fortified whole-grain breads and cereals.
Eating Healthy in Pregnancy
A great approach towards eating healthy during pregnancy is including different kinds of foods in right proportions. Here is a list of minerals and vitamins, along with their resources, that you must consume during pregnancy:
Required for cell growth and blood production and is found in tofu, peanut butter, beans, lean meat, poultry and egg whites.
Must be consumed for daily energy production and you should eat fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, rice and potatoes.
Vitamin A -
Great for good eyesight, healthy skin and growing bones. You should eat more carrots, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens.
Vitamin C -
Found in citrus fruits, tomatoes and broccoli, vitamin C assists in iron consumption and promotes healthy gums, teeth and bones.
Vitamin B6 -
This vitamin is essential for formation of red blood cells and better use of protein, fat and carbohydrates. You should eat whole grain cereals, bananas, pork and ham.
Vitamin B12 -
Apart from red blood cell formation, this one is known for maintaining nervous system health and you can consume it through milk, meat, fish (cold water fish) and poultry.
Vitamin D -
This vitamin promotes healthy bones and teeth and helps in calcium absorption. To get sufficient amount, drink fortified milk and eat dairy products, cereals and breads.
Unsaturated fats -
Olive oil, canola oil, nuts and fish (cold water) are the best resources for unsaturated fats.
Fruits and vegetables are always a bonus as they provide fiber, alongside vitamins and minerals. So maintain a well-balanced diet for the holistic growth of your baby.