No matter where you are in your pregnancy, whether you’ve just found out or have been pregnant for a while now, what you eat is a factor in having a healthy pregnancy.
Fresh, Unprocessed Foods
Strive to eat a variety of fresh, unprocessed foods in what nutritionist Jill Stansbury calls “a rainbow of natural food colors.” Healthy amounts of vitamins, iron, calcium, protein, fiber and unsaturated fats naturally show up in fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy foods, fresh nuts and grains, lean meats, poultry and fish. You should also take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid daily.
Choose foods high in:
How they help your body:
Good food sources:
Strengthens blood vessels, aids in healing, helps body resist infection and absorb iron
Brightly colored vegetables, fresh fruits and juices
Aids body growth, brain and immune systems, hormone regulation, and blood cell production
Bananas, fresh vegetables, dried beans, fresh nuts, whole grains, blueberries, strawberries
Builds red blood cells, important for carrying oxygen throughout the body
Lean meats, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, dark molasses, dried fruits, nuts
Builds healthy bones and teeth (yours and baby’s), aids blood clotting and muscle function
Dairy foods, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, seaweed, tofu, nuts
Formation of baby’s spinal cord and brain systems, tissue growth, cell division
Broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans and peas, asparagus, sunflower seeds, oranges, berries, whole grains
Builds muscles and skin, used for body repairs and maintenance, makes up most of your body’s essential weight (aside from water)
Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, soy and milk products, nuts, whole grains, dried beans
Essential Fatty Acids
Help control blood pressure, used to make hormones and build cell membranes
Fresh nuts, seeds, canola oil, flax seed oil, avocados, salmon, sardines, fortified eggs
Aids digestion, reduces constipation
Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
With so much emphasis on eating, sometimes it’s hard not to worry about weight gain during pregnancy. In a world of different cultural foods and customs, there’s no single right diet to follow during pregnancy.
To gauge your caloric needs, pay attention to your hunger cues: That way you’ll follow a naturally healthy weight-gain pattern. Don’t wait until you’re ravenous. If you do, you’re more likely to eat large amounts of unhealthy foods.
Other Changes to Your Body
Your pregnant body is carrying not only a growing baby, but also a growing placenta, amniotic fluid, increased blood volume, and growing breasts and uterus. It’s also storing the fat it will need for making breast milk. These all are welcome changes, and aren’t anything to fear or feel anxious about.
Every Woman is Unique
Take a glance around and you’ll see that people come in different sizes, especially during pregnancy. Even women who eat similar foods and exercise about the same amount vary greatly in how much weight they gain and how their bodies carry that weight.
Trade in the energy you spend worrying about the number on the scale for energy spent loving your body and your growing baby, no matter what size you are. This love may be just the inspiration you need to nourish yourself and your baby with healthy foods, and to accept and forgive yourself when you make choices that you know could have been better.
Additional Pregnancy Tips:
A Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator is your trusted partner for one of the most important journeys of your life.
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