Pregnant women should consume an extra 300 calories from a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and protein. Fats and sweets should be kept to a minimum, a well-balanced and healthy diet during pregnancy can also help to reduce symptoms such as constipation and nausea. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that the most important components of a wholesome lifestyle during pregnancy is regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, adequate weight gain and the right amount of minerals and vitamins.
It is also important that pregnant women consume the right amount of fluids each day, this should be made up of water, juices and soups. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and artificial sweeteners during pregnancy. In this article you will learn why is good nourishment so important during pregnancy? and the natural sources and supplements you need to consume while you are carrying.
Why is Good Nourishment so Important During Pregnancy?
Many expectant mothers want to know why is good nourishment so important during pregnancy. A healthy diet is essential to healthy living whether you are pregnant or not; however, it is of greater importance when you are pregnant because it will help the baby to develop and grow. You don’t need to go on a specific diet, but you do need to eat a range of foods every day to get the right balance of daily nutrients.
Natural Sources and Supplements
You can get the vitamins and minerals you need from foods and supplements, these include the following:
Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables provide the minerals, vitamins and fibre you will need during pregnancy. You should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, they can either be canned, dried, juiced, frozen or fresh.
Starchy Foods: Starchy foods provide fibre; vitamins and they are a good source of energy. They help to keep you full without consuming too many calories. Starchy foods include cornmeal, yams, oats, millet, maize, noodles, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals, potatoes and bread. You can also include French fries in your starches, but they should be low in salt and fat. Starches should make up one third of the food you eat, and you should consume high fiber or wholegrain starchy foods instead of refined white starchy foods.
Protein: You should consume protein as a part of your daily diet, you can get protein from the following foods:
- Meat (avoid liver)
You should eat lean meats and take the skin off any poultry, it is also advised that you use a limited amount of oil and fat when cooking meat. Any meat should be cooked all the way through, it should not contain any juices or pink meat. You should eat at least two portions of fish a week, make sure one of them is an oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, or salmon. If you are planning to get pregnant, or you are already pregnant, stay away from fish such as marlin, swordfish, or shark. You should also avoid eating more than two portions of fish per week when you are pregnant. Do not eat partially cooked or raw eggs when pregnant because it can increase your risk of getting salmonella poisoning.
Dairy: Dairy foods such as yoghurt, fromage frais, cheese, and milk are important during pregnancy because they are a rich source of calcium and other vital minerals required for you and your baby. Wherever possible, you should choose low fat varieties such as low-fat cheese, low-fat, low-sugar yogurt, skimmed, one percent or semi-skimmed milk. If you choose not to consume dairy and choose alternatives instead go for unsweetened, soya yogurts or drinks or calcium fortified versions.
Foods You Should Not Eat During Pregnancy
There are some foods you should limit and some that you should avoid altogether during pregnancy because they can harm you and your baby.
- Liver: Liver is high in vitamin A and can damage your baby. Avoid products containing liver such as haggis, liver sausage, and liver pate.
- Game: Its best to stay away from game altogether during pregnancy because some of them are shot with lead pellets.
- Shellfish: Avoid shellfish during pregnancy, these include clams, scallops, prawns, crab, lobster and muscles. They can contain harmful viruses and bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
- Cold Meats: Avoid eating cold meats such as pepperoni, chorizo, prosciutto and salami during pregnancy because they are not cooked but fermented and cured. This means that they might have toxoplasmosis-causing parasites in them,
Folic Acid: The United States Public Health Service advises that all women who are in their child bearing years should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. Folic acid is a nutrient available in leafy green vegetables, some vitamin supplements, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, citrus fruits, nuts and most berries. Folic acid helps to reduce the risk of birth defects of the spinal cord and the brain. It is the most beneficial during the first twenty-eight days after conception, this is when the majority of neural tube defects occur. The problem is that the most women are not aware that they are pregnant within this time frame; therefore, it is advised that you start taking folic acid before you get pregnant and continue to take it during your pregnancy. Your midwife or healthcare provider will let you know the safe amount of folic acid to take.
Supplements: Prenatal Plus is a powerful multivitamin for mother and baby, it contains a host of vitamins and minerals that will support mother and baby throughout pregnancy and beyond. You can purchase your supplements here.