You are what you eat. Your eating habits don’t just affect you. Research has shown that what pregnant women eat can have lifelong serious effects on the mental and physical health of their unborn children. Many celebrities like Blake Lively and Courtney Stodden have gone viral with their diet suggestions and experiences. So, what should an expectant mom like you be eating to protect yourself and your unborn child?
Fruits and Vegetables
This food group provides myriad vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients essential for an unborn baby’s growth, development, and prevention of congenital disabilities. All this vegetarian dining helps expectant moms, too. Such foods provide energy, prevent constipation, and provide other benefits.
Pregnant women should plan to eat up to two cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables per day, and make sure to include vegetarian items with specific nutrients (like folic acid and potassium) in pregnancy meal plans. Fruits and vegetables to include in pregnancy diets:
Beta carotene contained in carrots is very good for both mother and fetus. Very rarely, some individuals report allergies to carrots. Cooking before eating can alleviate this.
Broccoli protects both mothers and fetuses from certain cancers and can boost an unborn baby’s immune system. Expectant mothers should be warned that this vegetable will add to their already considerable gassiness.
This vegetable contains folates and vitamins that can prevent congenital disabilities and eclampsia. Too much spinach, however, can affect B12 vitamin absorption. Overconsumption has also been linked to the formation of kidney stones.
Cucumbers offer vitamins and nutrients essential to developing babies. Expectant mothers are warned that this vegetable is a diuretic, and should not be consumed to excess as it can cause fluid imbalances.
Offers the same benefits as broccoli for mothers and babies, plus asparagus offers heart benefits. It also should not be consumed by those prone to kidney stones, or by people with diabetes.
Apples contain nutrients that have been linked to the prevention of a number of types of cancer. Apples can also lower cholesterol levels and help prevent constipation in expectant mothers. It’s possible to develop an apple allergy, but this is rare.
Good source of folic acid, vitamins, and calcium. Avocados can help to prevent congenital disabilities (especially bone deformities) and eclampsia. Expectant mothers are warned that this is a high-calorie fruit.
Like apples, mangos have been linked to the prevention of some cancers in developing fetuses. Mangoes are also high in folic acid. On the downside, mangoes can cause gestational diabetes and diarrhea in mothers.
This fruit’s high quantities of folic acid and vitamin C are very important to developing fetuses. Oranges can also prevent pregnancy nausea and constipation in mothers. Too much of this highly acidic fruit, however, can also damage an expectant mother’s tooth enamel and stomach lining.
Fruits and vegetables should be equally divided between raw and cooked produce. Thoroughly wash all raw produce before eating it.
Protein is an expectant mother’s diet that is essential in all stages of fetal development. Protein is used to help develop cellular systems, form the brain, and aid in all over fetal growth. An intake of sufficient amounts of protein is especially important in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy when fetal growth rates greatly increase.
Pregnant women should be consuming on average at least 75 grams of protein a day. The best proteins to consume are the so-called “animal proteins,” which include fish and other types of seafood, lean meats, and eggs. Other protein sources such as nuts and products from vegetarian diets are fine, but these should not be an expectant mother’s exclusive or primary source of protein. Among the protein food sources recommended for pregnant mothers for healthy babies:
Lean Red Meat
This includes hamburgers. Make sure that all meat of this type is thoroughly cooked.
Chicken and turkey are great low-calorie, low-fat sources of protein.
Fish And Seafood
Such products provide other nutrient benefits besides protein but are cautious here. All food of this type should be thoroughly cooked before consumption when pregnant. Sorry, sushi lovers! Also, some foods of this type are prone to toxic contamination (mercury) that can injure fetuses. Expectant mothers should talk to their doctors about safely incorporating fish and seafood into their diets.
A handful of nuts is both a tasty snack and a great source of “non-animal” protein. “Tree” nuts (like almonds) are among the most beneficial legumes here.
Dairy products are fine, as long as they are done in moderation. This includes eggs and milk products. Cheese, milk, and yogurt should all be low fat if possible, and ice cream should only be an occasional treat.
Carbohydrates provide expectant mothers with energy and fiber, as constipation is a frequent problem during pregnancy. But what are the carbohydrate benefits for unborn children? Absorbed carbohydrates provide antioxidants and vitamins plus calories to help in the successful development of a growing baby. Carbohydrates are essential for placenta health and growth as well.
But as important as carbohydrates are for mother and child, they’re also tricky. Pregnant women should be aware that carbohydrate food sources are categorized into “simple” and “complex” groupings. High in sugar content, candy is probably the most notorious of simple carbohydrates. “Starchy” and high grain foods are examples of complex carbohydrate products.
There’s nothing wrong with the tasty, quick energy boost of an occasional piece of candy during pregnancy. But too many products of this type provide only empty calories for both mothers and unborn babies. They’ve also been linked to childhood obesity and behavioral problems. Milk and fruit also provide simple carbohydrates in addition to many other nutrients, making them a much healthier alternative.
Pregnant women should consume 175 grams of carbohydrates a day, with 28 of these grams containing fiber. At least 50 percent of all grain products consumed should be multi-grained ones. Among the carbohydrate food sources recommended for pregnant mothers for healthy babies:
Bananas, pineapples, pears, and grapes are just a few examples of healthy high carbohydrate and simple sugar choices.
Oatmeal, (plain) shredded wheat and cornflakes, and multi-grained cereals are the best choices for breakfasts and snacks during pregnancy. Avoid the urge to eat sugarily or add much sugar to cereals, and remember to use low-fat milk.
Brown rice, whole wheat, barley, and corn should be in your baked products as well during pregnancy. Avoid products of this type labeled as “refined” or “enriched” during pregnancy.
Other “Starchy” Foods
Pasta, noodles, potatoes, and sweet potatoes all contain essential vitamins and nutrients in addition to carbohydrates. Avoid noodle and pasta products made with refined and enriched flour.
Finally, keep in mind that not all pregnancy diet plans may be appropriate for all expectant mothers. Some women may need to have specialized diets for reasons ranging from disease to weight control. Because of this, all expectant mothers should involve their doctors in pregnancy meal plans. Doing so not only ensures a smoother pregnancy but increases the odds of delivering a healthy baby.
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.