Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Eating a nutritious diet is essential for a healthy lifestyle at any time, but it is especially critical when pregnant.
Without a doubt, a healthy diet will help you cope with the additional demands on your body as your pregnancy progresses, as well as other unpleasant pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and morning sickness.
Key vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are must-haves for optimal pregnancy outcomes.
Although all vitamins and minerals contribute to the proper functioning of the human body, some essential macronutrients that play a major role in all stages of growth of the embryo and the fetus include:
Let’s take a look at each nutrient:
Getting the appropriate amount of folate is very crucial. Folate, also known as folic acid, is a B vitamin that is essential for healthy cell growth and the prevention of neurological birth defects.
Foods high in folate include leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans, peas, orange juice, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, fortified bread, and fortified low-sugar breakfast cereals.
Iron is instrumental in building the red blood cells required to deliver oxygen to your growing foetus during pregnancy.
Beans, leafy greens, lean meats, nuts, tofu, beef, turkey, liver, and shrimp are all good sources of iron.
Oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli, and peppers are among the foods that help your body absorb iron.
Calcium is a mineral that is imperative both during pregnancy and lactation, for the proper development of fetal bones and teeth, for secretion of breast-milk rich in calcium as well as maternal bone health.
The finest calcium sources are milk and other dairy products like cheese and yoghurt. For those that do not eat dairy, calcium can also be found in broccoli, fortified foods (cereals, bread, and juices), almonds and sesame seeds.
Vitamin D works with calcium to aid the development of the fetus’s bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also necessary for good skin and vision.
Fortified milk and breakfast cereal, fatty fish (salmon and mackerel), fish liver oils, and egg yolks are all good sources of vitamin D.
Many people are deficient in vitamin D. If your ob-gyn suspects you may be deficient in vitamin D, a blood test can be performed to determine your level.
You may need to take a vitamin D supplement if it is below normal.
Choline is important for the brain development of your foetus. It may also aid in the prevention of some birth abnormalities.
Chicken, meat, eggs, milk, soy products, and peanuts all contain choline. Although your body creates some choline on its own, it is insufficient to supply your entire choline requirement when pregnant.
Because most prenatal vitamins lack choline, it’s critical to receive them from your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Adequate maternal Omega-3 fatty acids consumption throughout pregnancy is important for constructive outcomes.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of fat that can be found in a variety of fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in brain development both before and after birth.
Flaxseed (ground or oil) is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Broccoli, cantaloupe, kidney beans, spinach, cauliflower, and walnuts are all good sources of Omega-3s as well.
B vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, B9, and B12, are key nutrients that play a vital role in supplying energy for your fetus’s development.
Eating foods high in B vitamins is particularly important during pregnancy to minimize the risk of birth defects as well as relieve some uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy.
Incorporate foods such as liver, pork, chicken, bananas, beans, and whole-grain cereals and bread into your diet to keep your baby’s brain development on track.
Vitamin C is essential to support you and your growing baby throughout pregnancy. It aids in maintaining a healthy immune system as well as the development of strong bones and muscles.
Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes, as well as in your daily prenatal vitamin.
Enjoy being pregnant, and nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods alongside it to ensure your little one grows into a healthy, bouncing baby!
If you have any dietary restrictions or concerns that you may not be getting enough of certain vitamins or minerals, be sure to ask your OBGYN about supplementation options or dietary recommendations. And do not forget to undergo periodic prenatal care check-ups.
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