The Importance of Nutrition During Pregnancy
The following are some of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises for expectant mothers:
- The gain in mass that is acceptable
- A diet that is just right
- Regular exercise
- Vitamin and mineral supplementation in the appropriate amount and in the proper time
Guidelines About Diet and Energy Intake
About 300 more calories are required each day during pregnancy to ensure that the woman remains healthy. These calories must come from a healthy diet with enough protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A moderate amount of sugary foods and fatty foods should be consumed. A nutritious and well-balanced diet may also help alleviate some of the discomforts associated with pregnancy, such as morning sickness and constipation.
Consumption of Fluids During Pregnancy
Consuming sufficient amounts of fluids is also essential to proper nutrition throughout pregnancy. Take into account the following guidelines regarding your consumption of juices during pregnancy:
- In addition to the fluids found in soups and juices, you may get adequate fluids by drinking several glasses of water each day. Other sources of fluids include soups and juices. Talk with your primary care physician or midwife about reducing the amount of coffee and artificial sweeteners you consume daily.
- Stay away from alcohol in all forms.
The Healthiest Items to Consume Throughout Your Pregnancy
Throughout pregnancy, eating foods like these may help your health and your baby’s growth in positive ways.
- Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, cooked greens, tomatoes, and red sweet peppers are some of the vegetables that may be used (for vitamin A and potassium)
- Cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, prunes, bananas, apricots, oranges, and red or pink grapefruit are some of the fruits that are included in this category (for potassium)
- Yogurt with no fat or very little fat, skim milk or 1% milk, and soymilk are examples of dairy products (for calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and D)
- Cereals made from grains, including those that are precooked or ready to eat (for iron and folic acid)
- Beans and peas, nuts and seeds, lean cuts of beef, lamb, pig, salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and pollock are all excellent protein sources.
Avoiding Certain Items When You’re Pregnant
While you are pregnant, you should stay away from the following foods:
- Milk that has not been pasteurized and foods that have been prepared with unpasteurized milk, such as soft cheeses such as feta, queso blanco, and fresco, Camembert, brie, or blue-veined cheeses (unless they are labeled “made with pasteurized milk”) are potentially hazardous to one’s health.
- Sausage links and deli meats for lunch (unless they are heated until steaming hot before serving)
- Seafood, eggs, and meat that are not fully cooked or served raw. Consuming sushi prepared with raw fish is strictly forbidden (cooked sushi is safe).
- Paté and meat spread that are stored in the refrigerator.
- Refrigerated smoked seafood
Safe Food-Handling Procedures
While preparing or handling food, be sure you abide by these basic standards for food safety:
- Wash. Before you consume, chop or prepare any fresh produce, thoroughly wash it under running water from the faucet.
- Clean. When handling and preparing raw food, thoroughly wash your hands, knives, surfaces, and cutting boards.
- Cook. A food thermometer should determine the appropriate internal temperature to cook beef, pig, or poultry.
- Chill. Immediately place anything that has to be refrigerated there.
Supplements of Vitamins and Minerals for Pregnant Women
To ensure that all of your nutritional requirements are satisfied throughout pregnancy, most medical professionals and midwives will recommend taking a prenatal vitamin before becoming pregnant or immediately following. But, a nutritious diet is still necessary for addition to taking prenatal vitamins and minerals.
The Value of Folic Acid in the Human Body
Folic acid should be taken at daily doses of 400 micrograms (0.4 mg), as the Public Health Service of the United States recommends for all women of reproductive age. Folic acid is a kind of vitamin that may be found in:
- Some green leafy veggies
- The majority of berries, nuts, legumes, citrus fruits, and cereals with added vitamins and minerals
- Some vitamin supplements.
Folic acid has been shown to protect against neural tube defects and malformations of the brain and spinal cord that might be present at birth. Neural tube abnormalities may cause paralysis, incontinence, and even intellectual incapacity. However, the severity of these conditions can vary greatly.
Folic acid is most beneficial in the first 28 days following conception, which is the period during which the majority of neural tube abnormalities appear. You may not know you’re pregnant until after the first 28 days have passed. Because of this, you should begin taking folic acid well before you conceive and continue doing so throughout your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider or midwife can advise you on the ideal quantity of folic acid to fulfill your specific requirements.
Folic acid may need to be taken in more significant amounts by pregnant women who are using anti-epileptic medicines, for instance, to avoid neural tube abnormalities. They should discuss the possibility with their primary care physician when considering attempting to conceive.