Better Nutrition For Expectant Mothers
A healthy pregnancy is best build upon an optimal supply of useful nutrients. Just like the basic principles of healthy eating, an expectant mother has to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats. Conversely, a few nutrients deserve special attention in every pregnancy diet. Apart from building a foundation for a healthy baby, pregnancy nutrition supplies the expectant mother with a tasty blend of highly nutritious foods that improve her fertility and make it easier for her during labor. Here is a quick rundown of what entails optimal pregnancy nutrition for women.
Protein is important for the baby’s growth during the second and third trimesters. This mineral also influences the development of the child’s brain and growth of the mother’s uterine tissue and breasts. Popular sources of protein include eggs, lean meat, fish, poultry, peas, dried beans, dairy products, tofu and peanut butter.
Calcium is useful for the development of strong teeth and bones in both the mother and the baby. Consequently, this mineral also helps the muscular, circulatory and nervous system of the expectant mother run normally. Ideally, an expectant mother should consume about 1,000mg of calcium each day. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, kale, broccoli, breakfast cereals and fruit juices.
Folate and folic acid
Folate is categorized as a B vitamin useful in preventing the development of birth defects. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, popularly found in fortified foods and supplements. Supplement pregnancy nutrition with folic acid has proved to decrease the risks involved with preterm delivery.
An expectant mother should consume a minimum of 800mgs of folate or folic acid throughout pregnancy. Fortified cereals are a suitable source of folic acid. Naturally, occurring folate can be derived from foods such as citrus fruits, peas, leafy green vegetables and dried beans.
An additional intake of prenatal vitamin is useful in maximizing the usefulness of the folate/ folic acid supplement. A prenatal vitamin should be taken about three months before conception.
Vitamin C promotes metabolic processes, wound healing as well as development of teeth and bones. Nutrition experts recommend a daily minimum consumption of 85mgs of vitamin C. Good sources rich in Vitamin C include fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D is a critical dietary supplement useful in building the baby’s teeth and bones. The recommended daily intake of the mineral is 600 international units (IU) per day. It is found in plenty in foods such as salmon, orange juice and fortified milk.
Iron is useful in increasing blood volume and preventing anemia. However, this is possible when consumed together with potassium, sodium and water. The body’s need for iron is doubled up during pregnancy to accommodate for the baby’s blood supply too. Insufficient supply of iron can often lead to fatigue and exposure to major pregnancy infections. Naturally, low intake of iron leads to low birth weight and pre-term delivery.
The daily-recommended intake is 27mgs during pregnancy. Daily sources of iron include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, iron – fortified breakfast cereals and lean protein.
Additional nutritional concerns
Pregnant mothers do not have to bind themselves on a restrictive diet. Consequently, consumption of certain foods could easily cause harm to the developing baby. Some additional nutritional concerns for expectant mothers include:
· Thoroughly cook all the meats to avoid exposure to harmful bacteria such as salmonella and toxoplasmosis. Foods likely to contain high levels of mercury such as tilefish, swordfish and mackerel should be avoided too.
· Avoid inclusion of alcohol, tobacco and other harmful drugs in your diet. Alternatively, drink plenty of water to keep your body and that of your baby hydrated.
· Avoid skipping meals but rather eat enough to gain weight at the recommended rate. Consider eating at regular intervals to protect your blood sugar level from peaking or dipping.
· Reduce or eliminate the daily intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda.
· Discuss with your healthcare provider before adding any extra supplements to your diet.
· Maintain a reasonable workout program throughout the entire period of pregnancy. Some healthy activities during pregnancy include swimming and walking.
Expectant mothers can ensure a healthy rate of development of their babies by following the tenets of good nutrition outlined above. Together with rest and a reliable fitness program, expectant mothers should find this period of life much enjoyable.
For more diet tips play the video below to see a Mom-to-be and a dietician go through a grocery store and find the right foods to eat and which foods to avoid.