Being a mother is a bliss for every woman. It is the responsibility of every mother to keep her child healthy and this should be started from the time they have realized they are pregnant. Lack of proper food and nutrition can kill the child in the mother’s womb itself. So, it is important that both the mother and child get proper nutrition during pregnancy. Not being able to provide proper nutrition to the baby during pregnancy can cause a negative impact on the baby’s development. There are certain foods that can benefit your baby’s health during pregnancy and there are others which can harm your baby. Improper nutrition can lead to birth complications in many women. So, I have listed out 15 best foods to eat for pregnant women. So keep scrolling to-be-mamas!
1. Whole grains
Carbs are important for pregnant women to get the essential amount of calories each day. Now, it should be noted that carbs can be found in various foods but half of your carb requirements should be obtained from whole grains. Whole grains are rich in fibre and almost all the B vitamins which are must needed during pregnancy. Magnesium and vitamins are what most pregnant women lack. These are abundantly available in whole grains. Include brown rice, oatmeal or whole wheat pasta provide your body with these nutrients.
2. Dry fruits
Although dry fruits are rich in calories, they contain all the essential nutrients that are present in a fresh fruit form. Add dry fruits like dates and prunes to your diet as they are rich in iron, potassium, vitamin K and fibre. But this does not mean you eat many dry fruits at once, keep a count of your calories. Do not eat the candied variety of dry fruits as they are just added sugars and too much sugar intake during pregnancy is not good.
3. Leafy greens
Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach are rich sources of antioxidants, which can eliminate the oxidative damage caused in your body. Moreover, they are known to prevent low birth weight of babies. They also contain enough amounts of fibre which can prevent constipation. They are sources of A, C & K vitamins along with calcium, iron, potassium and folate.
4. Dairy products
Protein and calcium are the major nutrients required for development of the baby. So extra calcium and protein are should be consumed somewhat in an extra quantity by pregnant women. Dairy products have both types of protein in them, casein and whey. They help in the healthy development of fetus. Calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and B vitamins are also present in dairy products. Probiotics containing dairy products like yogurt aids in digestion.
Fish like salmon and mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Studies show that most pregnant women do not contain enough omega 3. They help in forming the brain and eyes of the baby. Salmon also contains vitamin D which is found in very few foods. Buy eating fish too frequently should be avoided as they may contain mercury and other contaminants that can be harmful.
Chicken is a great source of protein and iron, both of which are essential for pregnant women, especially in the third trimester. As the amount of blood develops during this period, adequate iron is necessary. Low iron levels can iron deficiency which may lead to premature delivery of the baby.
Bananas are known as instant energy boosters and are rich sources of potassium. They help in relieving from nausea and constipation by easing your stomach muscles . Fatigue is commonly observed in pregnant women. They help in fighting the pregnancy fatigue. Add bananas in your oatmeal or have it as a smoothie.
We all know how beneficial nuts are for our body. Nuts like walnuts and almonds help in a healthy development of the baby’s brain. They are a great source of healthy fats but should not be consumed in large quantities. Have them as one ounce per day or take them in the form of nut butters like peanut butter almond butter etc. Be sure not to take more than 2 tablespoons of nut butter each day.
9. Sweet potatoes
Beta carotene is the plant compound that has the ability to get converted into vitamin A after entering your body. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, thereby producing vitamin A in the body. About 20-40 % increase in vitamin A intake is recommended for pregnant women, as it is essential for growth and differentiation of cells and tissues in the baby. They also contain fibre required for satiation and to reduce blood sugar spikes.
Legumes are excellent sources of plant based protein, iron, folate, calcium and fibre. Chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas, soybeans and peanuts come under the legume family. Folate content is low in many pregnant women and can lead to low birth weight of baby and increased risk of infections in their later life.
11. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of protein and other nutrients like magnesium, zinc, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. As the baby grows in your womb, the muscles in your body, mainly the abdominal and hip muscles, tend to stretch in different ways. Enough protein is essential to support the muscle health of pregnant women.
12. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are sources of abundant vitamin C. Though they come in three different colours- yellow, red and green, red bell peppers are known to contain the most vitamin C content when compared to the others. It nearly contains three times more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C is very essential to improve the immune system of both mother and baby to fight infections and diseases.
Pregnancy literally implies a sweet tooth. Craving are very much common during pregnancy. Instead of having sugary foods try having beetroot as it has many advantages like purifying the blood, prevent anemia, supporting fetal development, regulates blood sugar, boots immunity and lowers the risk of birth effects.
Tomatoes contain many vital nutrients like folic acid, vitamins, minerals, carbs and fiber. They serve as an energy booster and an antioxidant. Many women face issues with blood pressure during pregnancy. Tomatoes help by cleansing or detoxing the blood. But remember that too much tomato intake can cause indigestion and abdominal pain.
Though water does not necessarily come as a food, but being hydrated is a priority when it comes to pregnant women. As the blood volume increases in pregnant women, it is important to provide the baby and your body with enough water. Drinking enough water can eliminate the risk of urinary tract infections and constipation. If you are not a huge fan of drinking so many litres of water everyday, be sure you include foods in your diet that have more than 50% of water content in them, like watermelon, oranges, cucumbers etc.
So now that you have a good idea of how these foods benefit the well being of you and your baby, do follow them avoid certain foods like undercooked meals, uncooked meat, unpasteurized dairy products, caffeine and alcohol.