Guest Post by Charles Riley
Scientists estimate that it takes about 55,000 extra calories for pregnant women to make a healthy baby. And this translates to about 300 extra calories every single day which is not much because it is just equal to a small glass of milk, an apple, and slice of bread. However, even without counting the number of calories that you will need, nutrition is still an essential part of pregnancy because what you consume will determine everything from the mental to physical development of the fetus.
But you should not have a hard time with your pregnancy diet because you will only need to make a few adjustments to what you eat. Check out below for diet tips during pregnancy and also for some helpful ideas on what and how to eat.
Whether you are pregnant or not, vegetables and fruits should always form the largest serving on your plate. But, they are even more essential for pregnancy because they contain most of the essential nutrients that the fetus requires for healthy development. Key among these nutrients is folic acid and vitamin C, and it is important to know that a pregnant woman will need at least 70mg of this vitamin every day during the nine months.
Fruits such as baobab, orange, honeydew, and grapefruits are some of the best sources of vitamin C while green leafy vegetables like kale are a rich source of folic acid. Baobab fruit powder is an excellent source of this essential nutrient (vitamin C) because it contains up to ten times more of what you get from oranges. It is important to eat as much variety of vegetables as possible and also prepare them well to preserve the important compounds. Eating veggies raw as salads is what most nutritionists recommend, but you can also steam them to improve the taste.
Poultry, eggs, fish, meat and beans contain the protein, iron, and B-vitamins that are essential for the development of the fetus. Your baby will require a lot of protein in the last two trimesters, and so you have to make sure that you consume enough of it. The iron that you get from these protein sources will also be essential for transporting oxygen to the developing baby and also to your muscles so as to prevent things like fatigue and depression. About 27mg of chicken, lamb, lean beef or turkey is enough per day.
Fish and other seafood can also be excellent sources of protein, and the best thing about them is that they also contain omega-3 which is essential for the child’s brain development. However, you should be very careful with seafood because some fish types have very high volumes of mercury which can harm the child.
Cereals and bread contain some essential carbohydrates which are the primary source of energy to the body during pregnancy. Whole seeds and the enriched products that they make will provide a pregnant woman with vital nutrients like the B-vitamins, iron, fibre and even a small amount of protein. Also, it is important for a pregnant woman to know that she can get most of the folic acid that she needs every day from cereals and fortified bread. Nutritionists will recommend that you consume anywhere between 6 and 11 servings of grains daily, but this will depend on an individual's dietary needs and weight.
The body will require a minimum of 1000mg of calcium every day to support a pregnancy. Calcium is an essential mineral that you can get from dairy products, and it has numerous functions in the body. It helps in the development and strengthening of bones and teeth, and it is also vital for normal blood clotting. Because the fetus will require a lot of calcium, the body will take it from your bones; if you do not eat foods that replenish it you are likely to suffer from conditions like osteoporosis in future.
The best sources of this nutrient are baobab powder (which is perfect for pregnant women), milk, yoghurt, cream soups, and puddings. But, some beans types, green vegetables, and seafood also have a little amount of calcium. Doctors recommend that you should take at least four servings of dairy products every day.
Your diet should be the principal source of nutrients and vitamins but there will always be some gaps, and this is regardless of the food types that you eat. Prenatal vitamins can help fill up the gaps and ensure that you give birth to a healthy baby. The good idea is to go for organic otc prenatal vitamins and start taking them a few months before the pregnancy so that you can get maximum benefits from them. Also, consuming other things like organic baobab fruit powder will be beneficial to your pregnancy because it will help to bridge any vitamin C gaps that your diet might leave. It is always advisable to talk to your physician before you take these supplements so as to get recommendations or advice on what will work best for your pregnancy.
Most mothers will dedicate a lot of time to coming up with the best diet plan for their pregnancy, but some will forget about their fluid requirements. Drinking enough fluid is vital during pregnancy because it helps to prevent constipation and aid with the expanding blood volume which is essential for carrying essential nutrients and oxygen to both mother and child. You should have a bottle of water everywhere you go during your pregnancy so as to ensure that you take enough of it. Also, remember to drink other nutritious beverages like baobab juice or orange juice.
Pregnancy comes with numerous changes, but cravings are by far the most common ones. Whether you like snacking or not you will always get the urge to eat something after every few minutes or couple of hours when pregnant. Cravings are almost inevitable but what you choose to snack on is what matters. To ensure your health and that of the baby, you should eat healthy snacks like salads, smoothies, and energy bites and avoid the fatty and sugary ones.
Knowing the foods that you should eat and what to avoid is the most important aspect of pregnancy diet, but you will still need to come up with daily or weekly menus. To get maximum benefits from the food that you eat the best idea is to have servings from all the food groups and ensure that you eat as much variety as possible. And if you also take the over the counter prenatal vitamins you can be sure of a healthy and stress-free nine months of pregnancy.
Blog Post written by Charles Riley
Charles is a blogger at MomDiscuss and loves providing many useful tips and guides for all parents or to-be parents on pregnancy stages and baby care.