A healthy pregnancy diet guarantees the perfect health of your baby because your eating habits affect some major aspects of fetal development during every growth stage. The amount of protein the baby is getting through food is of primary importance. Protein is the growing organism’s main building material, so the future mother should eat a lot of products containing it.
Some foods can do a lot of harm to your and your baby’s state of health, thus you should exclude them from your diet.
Putting together a pregnancy diet plan, nutritionists take into consideration an important physiological peculiarity: a future mother’s body needs different nutrients depending on the pregnancy term.
Each trimester requires a pregnant woman to make corrections in her eating schedule.
- During early pregnancy stages, a future mother’s nutrition should be well-balanced and contain a usual number of vitamins and micronutrients. At first, pregnancy diet doesn’t differ from an eating schedule of any average healthy woman. It can be easily explained: despite the formation of all the important internal organs, the fetus is still very small and the usual eating schedule can provide it with necessary calories. Of course, you should eat a lot of calcium-containing foods.
- In the second trimester of pregnancy, the fetus begins to actively grow. This process requires a lot of proteins, so make sure you’re supplying the baby with foods containing them.
- During the third trimester the formation of the nervous system, skeletal growth, and the internal organs’ development continue. That’s why a healthy pregnancy diet should include a lot of micronutrients and vitamins. Calcium consumption is especially important.
Therefore, the eating schedule of pregnant women should take into account the pregnancy term. Small differences in the pregnancy diet during different pregnancy stages are caused by the physiological needs of the fetus.
Eating Habits of a Pregnant Woman
In the first 3-4 months of pregnancy, the future mother can eat 4 times a day. She also should keep to the following calorie balance:
- 30% of daily calories should be consumed during breakfast;
- 15% – during lunch;
- 35% – dinner (the most important meal of the day);
- 20% – supper.
Since the 4th–5th month of pregnancy you’ll have to eat 5-6 times a day but in smaller portions. This is necessary so that your full stomach won’t put pressure on the fetus. That’s why you’d better finish your meals before you feel heaviness in your stomach.
The products consumed during the day should be managed correctly. Eat more proteins during breakfast and lunch: meat, fish, and eggs. They are slowly digested and usually irritate the nervous system’s receptors. Have vegetables and dairy products for supper.
A pregnant woman should eat for the last time three hours before going to bed. Don’t overeat before sleep!
If you are starving, have a snack – an apple, a pear, a glass of milk.
It’s important for your health that you regularly empty your bowel, so include the following products into your pregnancy diet:
- Various kinds of bread made from bran or whole-wheat flour;
- Fresh carrots;
- Apples and dried fruit.
Fresh juices with pulp are also good for you. They contain a lot of fiber that will help with constipation.
Healthy Pregnancy Diet: No Excess Weight!
A healthy pregnancy diet should be based on a few principles. Here they are:
- A future mother should eat often but in small portions. Eat only if you really feel hungry and not because you’re upset or have nothing else to do. You should eat for two, but the nutritional value of the food is related to its diversity and digestibility, not to its amount.
- Steamed, boiled, stewed, and bakes foods are preferable.
- Count the calories. You should consume at least 2000 calories every day during the first trimester, 2500 – during the second trimester, and 3000 – during the third trimester.
- You should exclude smoked products, spicy marinades, and roasted foods from your pregnancy diet.
- In order to prevent edema, a pregnant woman should limit the consumption of salt – it holds the fluids inside of your body, which is leading to the swellings.
- Chew your food thoroughly: it improves digestion, so your baby will get more nutrients.
- Avoid eating fast-food! You can eat it only when there is no healthy food available. If there is a choice between eating fast-food and starving it’s, of course, better to choose fast-food. You shouldn’t feel hungry for long. But in order to eliminate such a choice altogether, just put some fresh fruit or a few sandwiches into your bag before leaving the house.
- Drink little by little during the day. Don’t drink coffee or soda; you’d better prefer water and fresh juices. The daily amount of fluid is 4 pt.
A Healthy Pregnancy Diet During the 1st Trimester
During the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, you should supply your baby with a sufficient amount of calcium. So, your pregnancy diet should include such products as:
- Milk and dairy products;
- Green vegetables (especially broccoli!);
For the successful development of the placenta and the fetal bladder, you’ll also need manganese contained in:
- Spinach, carrots, and bananas.
After the fifth week of pregnancy, a lot of women begin to experience morning sickness. You will be able to relieve the unpleasant symptoms if you eat a crouton or a cracker first thing after waking up. Wash it down with a glass of water before you get out of bed.
Your daily ration should include light products, such as fruit and vegetables. Instead of rich food (eggs and meat), a future mother can eat more nuts, soy, beans, cheese, and yogurt.
You can also consume sauerkraut and pickles in small amounts.
In order to improve the functioning of your digestive tract, include into your pregnancy diet plan:
- Prunes and raisins;
- Cereals and whole-grain bread.
Pay attention to your strange food cravings in the first trimester. They are not a whim; they usually mean that your body lacks some essential nutrients.
When you leave the house, grab an apple, lemon, and a small bottle of water: these will help you get rid of morning sickness if the need arises.
A Healthy Pregnancy Diet During the 2nd Trimester
Your diet during this period of time should increase in calories. The actively growing fetus requires a high amount of protein.
Now your appetite is very high and may lead to excess weight, so make sure not to overeat. Preventive measures against obesity are of major importance because they help to avoid diabetes.
Now the eating schedule of a future mother should be aimed at iron restoration in the organism. Include into your diet plan these products:
- Beef liver;
- Tomato juice;
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) plays a considerable part in the successful course of pregnancy. It can be found in:
- Asparagus and green beans;
- Green peas;
- Citrus fruit and avocado.
By the end of the second trimester of pregnancy, the baby’s visual and hearing organs start developing. This important process requires a lot of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Here are the foods rich in these components:
- Yellow bell peppers;
- White cabbage.
You can’t speak about a healthy pregnancy diet without including those vegetables in your ration. You also should remember that the digestion of vitamin A requires fats, so add some vegetable oil when you make a salad.
A Healthy Pregnancy Diet during the 3rd Trimester
Healthy eating during the third trimester is able to prevent late toxicosis – a serious condition that includes hypertension, kidney failure, edema, and protein in the urine.
In order to prevent swellings, limit the consumption of salt!
During the last trimester your diet should include only healthy food:
Forget about pasta and buns. Your diet plan should also include no canned, salty, spicy, fatty, and roasted food. Chocolate, citrus fruit, and peanuts are strictly forbidden – they may cause an allergy.
In order to prevent constipation eat figs, dairy products, and dried fruit.
To avoid heartburn which is a frequent occurrence during this pregnancy stage, include the following foods into your diet:
- Boiled poultry;
- Fish and meat;
- Steamed omelets;
- Soft-boiled eggs;
- Fruit and vegetables;
- White bread toasts;
- Low-fat cottage cheese.
In the 8th month of pregnancy, the baby’s skeleton is growing, the brain is developing, so make sure you eat a lot of calcium-containing products and fatty acids. An expectant mother should consume more sunflower seeds, fat fish, nuts, green vegetables, and red meat.
During the last weeks of pregnancy, the healthy pregnancy diet should strengthen a future mother’s organism and prepare it for childbirth, so the daily ratio should include a lot of carbohydrates contained in vegetables and cereals: these foods should be the cornerstone of your pregnancy diet at the time.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.