Eating a balanced diet is essential for everyone, but it’s that much more vital when you are expectant because whatever you consume becomes your baby’s primary source of nutrients. However, not every woman can get sufficient supplies of iron, calcium, folate, protein, or Vitamin D. This means that you should increase your consumption of foods containing those nutrients when pregnant. To meet the increased need for essential nutrition during pregnancy, you can eat lots of fruits, whole grain, protein, and whole grain. Below are some essential nutrients to consider consuming when pregnant.
1. Prenatal Vitamins
Mineral and vitamin supplements are essential during pregnancy, but they cannot be a replacement for healthy dieting. Doctors tell pregnant women that taking prenatal mineral and vitamin supplements every day alongside a balanced diet is vital. While this gives you and the baby a sufficient amount of crucial nutrients, you should not overdo it. Too much of the supplements can harm you and the baby. Instead, get these nutrients from food sources. For example, you can get Vitamin A, which helps in the growth of teeth and bones, from vegetables, milk, eggs, potatoes, and liver, among others. Vitamin D, which promotes strong bones and teeth, is available in milk, sunshine, and fatty fish.
A pregnant woman needs iron amounting to 27milligrams per day. This is twice as much as is required for a non-expectant woman. These added minerals are essential for making more blood to provide oxygen to the baby. If iron levels are too low during pregnancy, you could get anemic whose early sign is fatigue. It can also increase your risk of getting other infections.
Some of the best sources of iron are meat, fish, poultry, iron-fortified cereals, dried peas, and beans. For iron to be absorbed quickly into your body, consider taking iron-rich products alongside any Vitamin C products. For instance, after consuming a bowl of iron-rich cereal, wash it down with a glass of apple juice.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil is obtained from oily liver, mostly cod. Liver oil from fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. They are essential in the development of the baby’s eyes and brain. This liver oil is a good source of Vitamin D. Therefore, if you are not a regular eater of seafood or any supplements rich in Vitamin D and omega-3, consider taking cod liver oil every day.
Low levels of Vitamins D lead to increased chances of getting preeclampsia, which is a dangerous complication. Its signs and symptoms are swollen feet and hands, protein in your urine, and high blood pressure. By consuming cod liver oil in the early stages of your pregnancy, your child will weigh higher than one who is deprived of the oil. It will also lower the risks of the baby falling sick later in life.
One serving (15ml) of cod liver oil gives you more than the required daily dose of Vitamins A, D, and omega-3. However, you should never take more than one serving every day since too much Vitamin A can affect your fetus. Besides, too much omega-3 can lead to blood-thinning.
Protein’s role in fetal development is very crucial as it helps to ensure the growth of tissue, such as the brain. Protein is also useful in the growth of uterine tissue and breasts during pregnancy. It increases the blood supply in the body, which helps the baby get more of it. You are allowed to eat as much as three servings per day. Some good sources of protein include beans, salmon, peanut butter, lean pork and beef, chicken, and nuts.
Calcium is mainly used in building a baby’s teeth and bones. A pregnant woman must take enough calcium; otherwise, it will be obtained from her store in the bones and get supplied to the baby. Thus, calcium intake helps to meet the added demands that come with being pregnant.
If you’re pregnant and at least 19 years old, you will require to take calcium amounting to 1,000 milligrams a day. If you are a pregnant teenaged between 14-18, you should take 1,300 milligrams per day. The best food sources for calcium are cheese, yogurt, milk, kale, sardines, salmon, bok choy, and calcium-fortified foods and juices.
These are just a few of the essential nutrients that you need when expectant. Remember that it’s always good to consult with your nutritionist and doctor before taking on any meal plans, especially supplements. While taking care of the inside is vital, you should never forget to cater for the outside as well. What you wear when pregnant can either make you comfortable or uncomfortable. Always strive to wear comfortable clothing, and they shouldn’t be too tight. To find the right maternity dress, check out the varieties available from reputable online stores.