Is healthy pregnancy diet a difficult goal for moms to achieve? It may seem practically difficult and give you a cause for concern, but I think healthy pregnancy nutrition during pregnancy is within your grasp. And you will discover why?
Eating well has never been easier during pregnancy than it is now. Eating healthy while pregnant is the best gift you can give your growing baby. Follow me closely, you’ll find out how to eat right, eat well, and get optimum nutrition for you and your baby, now that you’re pregnant.
Normally, your body requires a well-balanced nutritional diet to function properly. It’s not different, even now you’re pregnant. In fact, proper nutrition is a vital prerequisite for having a healthy pregnancy.
Your nutritional diet plays a critical role to ensure your baby develops and grows properly, as healthy as possible, without suffering malnutrition, fetal gestation or birth defects. However, a healthy pregnancy diet benefits you – the pregnant mom, as much as your baby.
A Healthy Pregnancy Diet Is In the Best Interest of You and Your Baby
What you eat has a direct consequence on how well your body copes and recovers from all the physical changes it undergoes during pregnancy. It also provides you with the energy and stamina to overcome both the physical and emotional challenges of childbirth.
Research studies have shown that pregnant moms who eat healthy throughout their pregnancies usually have a safe and uncomplicated pregnancy. Other studies have also evinced that some pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia or high blood pressure can be directly linked to nutritional deficiencies or gaps in pregnancy diet.
Eating right is a lifeline for your baby. Your baby has only a short time to develop all its vital organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and so on, including all its body systems. Good pregnancy nutrition therefore plays a key role in the welfare of this growth.
Since your diet is the only source of all nutrients; the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fat and fluids that your baby needs to grow and develop, not eating well during your pregnancy definitely presents dangerous risks.
Whatever you eat, your growing baby eats as well. So, you have to make sure you eat balanced, nutritious meals for the benefits of you both.
Everybody seems to have an opinion about what a pregnant woman should or should not eat. But the rule for a healthy, pregnancy balanced diet is simple:
Eat a variety of healthy nutritional foods to make sure you and you baby get the sufficient amounts of nutrients across all classes of food every day.
The above suggestion hinges on the fact that no single food can satisfy all your nutritional requirements. A healthy diet should therefore contain a variety of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and fat to make sure that you and your baby don't get too much of one nutrient, and not enough of another.
The USDA Dietary Guideline for Americans, purposely for Americans from ages 2 years and above, including those at increased risk of chronic disease buttresses this fact. The guideline recommends that Americans should focus on eating a healthful diet — one that consist foods and beverages that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease.
Let us also look at the USDA Food Guide Pyramid consisting of about 5 classified food groups which you need to eat from every day. Below are the food groups and recommended servings you are expected to take from each group;
The food pyramid essentially guides you to take enough of different nutrients that you and your baby require from the foods you eat daily.
2-3 servings of dairy a day make for a healthy pregnancy diet according to the food pyramid. Dairy foods provide your baby with calcium – required to develop healthy growing bones and muscular system. Milk is the best source for your fill of calcium, but you can also get calcium from cheeses, yogurt or even ice cream.
Also, 3 servings of protein are required daily. Protein contains amino acid which is one of the most important building blocks for your baby's cells, tissues and muscles. This nutrient also helps in its brain development. Protein is very easy to come by and your options to source protein are endless.
Fruits and Vegetable Groups are important sources of vitamins and minerals including fibre. You need to eat about three-five servings from vegetable group every day.
Vegetables provide you with vitamin A, C and folic acid (vitamin B), including iron. While two to four servings from Fruit Group provide you with a healthy amount of vitamin A and C, as well as potassium.
Another important food group comprises carbohydrates and starches. Eating eight or more servings of foods in this group provides complex carbohydrates, vitamins E and B, minerals, and fibre.
Are you overwhelmed by the foods you’ll have to include in your healthy pregnancy diet every day?
Let me break it down for you. Here are some examples of what counts as a serving;
1 Serving: Milk, Yogurt and Cheese Group
1 Serving: Vegetable Group
1 Service: Bread, cereal, rice and pasta Group
1 Serving: Fruit Group
1 Serving: Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts Group
1 Serving: Fats, oils and sweets ( Cut back on these )
Let’s examine a few pregnancy vitamins and minerals that should be included in your diet for optimum health during pregnancy.
Folate, a nutrient in the vitamin B family, helps to lower the risk of certain birth defects such as spina bifida (neural tube defect) and what is called anencephaly ( a defect in brain and skull formation).
So, it’s generally recommended every woman trying to conceive or pregnant should start taking folate as early as possible to have adequate amount of folic acid in her system at the time it would be required during fetal gestation.
Food sources of folate include leafy green vegetables, dry beans, citrus fruits, whole-grain breads and cereals, liver, and so on. Your healthcare provider should prescribe this supplement by default to compensate for the insufficient amount you get from the foods you eat. Check with them if they don’t.
Calcium helps in building strong bones and teeth; including healthy muscular development. Food sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, dark-green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, blackstrap molasses, among others.
You need about 1200 milligrams of calcium every day of your pregnancy. Unfortunately, most women get much less from their foods. I will show you how to effectively supplement calcium deficiency in your diet.
Iron helps your body make new blood, and also assists your baby grow. Your body's demand for iron will be greater during pregnancy and you have to boost its supply.
Food sources of iron include red meat, dry beans, chicken, leafy green vegetables, dried fruits, iron-fortified cereals or whole-grain breads, among others.
Inadequate iron supply in your body could lead to anemia. If you’re not getting enough iron, talk to your doctor to get a good supplement prescription such as Trévo.
Basically, nutrient needs should be supplied primarily through foods consumption. But I have realized that even though one’s diet is healthy and balanced, it’s practically difficult to get all your nutrients, in sufficient amount, from the foods you eat only.
Of course the reasons are obvious!
Eating healthy foods is one side of the coin, another thing
is the ability of your body to effectively absorb the required amount of nutrients from the foods you eat. The problem of poor nutrient absorption, among other influencing factors, creates nutritional gaps that you must fill or