What Do You Eat While Pregnant? Diet In Pregnancy
About Pregnancy And Diet Of A Pregnant Woman
Pregnancy is the time when a lot of changes, both emotionally and physiologically, take place in the mother to be. She has to eat both for her increased requirements and that of the growing fetus as also for the lactation that will follow later.
This does not mean that she has simply to increase the quantity of food eaten. Though quantity of food has to be increased but correspondingly it has to be seen that the food eaten, is much higher in overall nutrients as well as certain critical nutrients. These are especially needed at this stage and are necessary for the mom to be so that the growing fetus can draw its requirement from the mother.
Want to know what do you eat while pregnant? Below are some ideas for the diet of a pregnant woman.
Eating a balanced diet is a prerequisite no doubt but at the same time it has to be ensured that it provides increased levels of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals too. It has to be ensured that considerable fat is stored for the increasing requirements of the growing fetus, the soon to follow lactation and other requirements if need be..
A weight gain of 10 - 15 kgs during pregnancy is desirable for a woman of normal weight.
This hub will also answer some questions like :
- What do you eat while pregnant?
- What foods should a pregnant woman avoid?
- Fruits to eat during pregnancy?
- What vitamins should pregnant women take?
- Herbs to avoid during pregnancy?
- Herbs considered safe during pregnancy?
Given below is a list of some must have foods to eat when pregnant. The wonderful thing is that these foods are available the year round and can be prepared easily and quickly.
What Are The Increased Requirements
Pregnant women need to increase fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water consumption.
An extra 15 grams of protein every day, over and above the daily requirement for women, is needed. This can be met from sources like nuts, milk, whole grains, pulses, eggs and cheese.
Though the fetal organs are rich in fat stores, the essential fatty acids have to be supplied on a daily basis. This is very important.
Vitamins A to maintain cells and vision, Vitamin D for calcium absorption and metabolism, Vitamin E to prevent chances of abortion, Vitamin K to prevent bleeding and hemorrhages, Folic acid to prevent anemia, to aid in normal growth and prevent birth defects in the fetus.
A good supply of calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc,iodine is to be ensured to help in the normal growth of the fetus and ensure a complications free pregnancy.
Constipation is a common condition in pregnancy. Hence fiber rich foods like whole grains, whole legumes, vegetables and fruits with the skin should be consumed to ensure enough fiber intake.
The importance of enough water cannot be over emphasized in pregnancy. It is needed to ensure proper hydration of the body, prevent constipation, piles and fissures, swelling of the feet and ankles, and to remove toxins from the body.
The 15 Must Have Foods In The Diet Of A Pregnant Woman
Below is a list of the nutritionally very important foods a pregnant woman must have as often as she can, preferably everyday.
Milk should become an integral part of the diet of the to be mom and should be consumed daily. It is better to consume skimmed milk which provides more than 300mg calcium and 8 grams protein in a cup. This is helpful in meeting the increased demands of both the growing fetus and the pregnant woman.
Just a single serving of plain yogurt provides 25% of the daily needs of protein. It also provides enough calcium and a number of vitamins and minerals.
The best yogurt is the one prepared at home but if you have to buy it then buy the one that is labelled as having live cultures as this type of yogurt helps to keep the digestive system functioning smoothly.
Do not buy the ones in which the fruits are mixed as they are loaded with sugar. Instead you can add honey or fresh fruit of your choice to the homemade or the purchased one.
They are good sources of protein and zinc which are needed for optimum muscle health. During pregnancy the various muscles get stretched in different ways.
Pumpkin seeds also contain decent amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus to keep the muscles healthy and well hydrated.
Sesame seeds are a powerhouse of calcium stores. The growing fetus requires calcium for good bone development. The seeds also contain good amounts of vitamin B1, copper, phosphorus and manganese.
The seeds can be either mixed in plain yogurt, stir fried or added to salads. Sesame seeds paste or tahini can also be used in other foods that are prepared for consumption.
It contains the essential Omega-6 fatty acids that maintain the cell health, the nervous system and the immune system in optimum shape, for correct development of milk glands, placenta and uterus.
Figs are a super fruit, with more potassium than bananas, lots of calcium and iron, and more fiber than most fruit or vegetable.
One medium sized fig, about 50 grams in weight, provides:
- 6% of fiber
- 4% of vitamin B6
- 3% of copper
- 3% of manganese
- 3% of potassium
- 3% of pantothenic acid
You can safely munch on fresh figs or dried figs during pregnancy. Do not go overboard on it though.
Frozen blueberries retain almost all of the fresh berry's nutrition. If wild blueberries can be found it is best as they contain almost double the quantity of antioxidants than the cultivated ones.
A healthier eat would be to mix some blueberries with the homemade or store bought plain yogurt. You can add a few almonds to increase its nutritive value.
It is a very good source of iron which helps to prevent anemia and produces hemoglobin rich blood to benefit the fetus.
Muesli is a healthy addition to a pregnant woman's diet.
Kidney beans are an excellent provider of antioxidants, iron ,protein and fiber. Iron helps in the developing fetus's sensory development apart from being anti anemic in action.
They can be made into a thick soup or added to other soups and salads.
Tulsi leaves are rich in iron, calcium and folate which help in formation of healthy blood, good strong bones and teeth and proper fetal growth.
Consume fresh leaves if possible, about 10 every day.
1 tablespoon of molasses provides 15% of the daily requirement of magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron. About 7-8% of potassium and Vitamin B6.
Manganese is required for skeletal growth, B6 maintains the sodium/phosphorus balance. Potassium and B6 reduce the swelling of feet and ankles in pregnancy.
It is a grain very much akin to wheat but having a wider range of nutrients and without the intolerance associated with wheat which some people experience.
It is easier to digest than wheat and because of its higher fiber content benefits more in constipation. It can be cooked and mixed with vegetables. Bread can be made from its flour.
Barley is an excellent way to get folic acid, the vitamin they are rich in. Folic acid prevents birth defects like cleft lip, spinal bifida and other defects.
This green leafy vegetable is a super rich source of beta carotene. Beta carotene is required in cell and tissue development. It has a high content of Vitamin C benefiting the teeth, bones and connective tissue.
Swiss Chard is an excellent source of iron, can be cut finely, sauted in olive oil and added to some toasted sesame seeds or added to other vegetable soups.
The high fiber content prevents constipation as well as gestational diabetes.
Muffins made of wheat bran control food cravings.
Salmon are a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. They are much safer than other salt water fish since they are low in mercury.
The omega 3 fatty acids help in brain development and increase IQ, are good for the development of eyes in the fetus, and a good source of lean protein for the mom to be.
The above list will give you a fair idea of what do you eat while pregnant. Read on, to find out :
- what foods should a pregnant woman avoid
- foods to avoid during pregnancy
- herbs to avoid during pregnancy
- fruits to eat during pregnancy
- what vitamins should pregnant women take
Daily Nutrient Requirements Of Non Pregnant, Pregnant And Lactating Women
Vitamin A IU
Vitamin D IU
Vitamin E mg
Vitamin C mg
Vitamin B6 mg
Folacin micro gm
Foods To Avoid In Pregnancy
The following is a list of foods to avoid in early pregnancy since they could cause food poisoning or harm the fetus.
- Sea foods high in mercury
Some of these to avoid are King mackerel, shark, tile fish,clams, oysters and swordfish. Avoid raw and under cooked seafood, and refrigerated sea food to avoid bacteria which these harbor.
Safe to eat sea foods are; shrimp, crab, cod, tilapia, catfish, salmon, canned light tuna.
- Avoid under cooked meat, poultry and eggs. Eggs cooked till yolks and whites are solid can be consumed. Under cooked stuff can caused bacterial poisoning.
- For the same reason unpasteurized milk, soft and mold ripened cheeses like brie, feta, blue cheese, Mexico style cheeses are to be avoided unless they are labelled as pasteurized. Raw milk should be boiled before consuming.
- Avoid unwashed vegetables and fruits, and cut off the damaged portions. Do not eat raw sprouts. Cooked sprouts can be consumed.
- Avoid large quantities of Vitamin A as it can lead to birth defects. For this reason stay off liver and liver products as they contain lots of vitamin A. Also, avoid vitamin A supplements, fish liver oil and high potency multivitamin supplements.
- Avoid excess caffeine consumption (over 200 mg/day) as it can affect the fetus heart rate and can increase risk of miscarriage.
- Avoid alcohol consumption as it has no safe level for the fetus. It can lead to low birth weight, cause heart problems, mental retardation and facial deformities.
Vegetables And Fruits To Eat During Pregnancy
Eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruit can be had fresh, frozen, juice, canned or dried form. Eating fruit is healthier than consuming its juice. Wash vegetables and fruits well before eating.
- Some very good choices of fruits are:
All berries like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, cantaloupe, oranges, bananas, avocado, peaches, pears, apples, mangoes, grapes, apricots, guava, kiwi, cantaloupe, pineapple.plums.
- Some very good choices of vegetables are:
Green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, spinach, kale, lettuce, green peas, bell peppers, beets, broccoli, summer squash, parsley, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash.
What Vitamins Should Pregnant Women Take
Try to get vitamins from a healthy diet rather than going for vitamin supplements. Supplements should only be taken on the advice of your health care provider. They are not a substitute for a healthy diet.
The vitamins that are generally advised in pregnancy normally contain the following vitamins and minerals though the dosages vary from brand to brand:
Vitamin A ...................4000 IU
Vitamin C....................80-85 mg
Vitamin E....................15 mg
Vitamin B12................6 mcg
Folic Acid....................600 mcg
Reference : http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/nutrientsvitaminspregnancy.html
Herbs To Avoid During Pregnancy
Though herbs are natural and safe, not all are safe to be taken during pregnancy since they are taken in medicinal doses that are larger than when routinely added to foods. The following includes herbs that should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Rosemary - when used orally has uterine and menstrual flow stimulant effects.
- Saw Palmetto - it has hormonal activity.
- Dong Quai - It stimulates and relaxes the uterus.
Other herbs to be avoided, that could be too strong or irritating like, having a laxative effect, containing bitter principles/alkaloids, are uterine stimulants, abortifacients, or having menstruation regulating effects like :
- Ephedra, yohimbe, passion flower, black cohosh, pennyroyal, Roman chamomile, blue cohosh.
- Aloe, ginseng, evening primrose, fever few, kava kava, senna.
Herbs Considered Safe In Pregnancy
- Red Raspberry leaf - It tones the uterus, relieves nausea, eases labor pains and increases milk production.
- Peppermint leaf - Relieves nausea and morning sickness, flatulence.
- Ginger Root - Relieves nausea ans vomiting.
- Slippery Elm bark - relieves nausea, heartburn and vaginal itching.
- Oats and oat straw - relieves anxiety & restlessness, itching of skin.
- Garlic, Capsicum (cayenne), black psyllium.
Please note that it is always advised to consult a trained and experienced herbalist/health provider before taking any herbs during pregnancy.
Reference : http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/naturalherbsvitamins.html
Eat intelligently ensuring you have a wide variety of foods that provide all the necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber, calories and phytonutrients.
Do not skip breakfast. In fact, you should eat small meals frequently during the day if you find it difficult to eat large meals as the baby grows.
If you feel hungry between mealtimes go for healthy snacks.
Cut out junk food and alcohol.
This hub is for informational purposes only. You are advised to consult your medical doctor or healthcare provider before starting any natural remedy, alternate therapy or any new health regime.
A great natural remedy by hubber dhannyya
Some of my other hubs on health topics
- Healthy Water - The Benefits Of Alkaline Water And The Oxidation Reduction Potential Of Water
Sickness or disease is a combination of eating the wrong kind of foods as well as drinking unnatural water that includes sodas and various other types of water. To learn about the health benefits of drinking alkaline water, as well as, know what oxid
- The Health Benefits Of Magnesium
Magnesium is a macro mineral that is involved in over 300 essential metabolic reactions in our body, most of us are deficient in magnesium. To know, the magnitude of importance of this mineral and how its deficiency affects our body, read on...
- Why Take Vitamin D ? The 5 Amazing Health Benefits O...
Vitamin D has been a very underrated vitamin. Research studies now show that the health benefits of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, extend to many life threatening and life crippling diseases as well. To know more, read on...
- MSG - MonoSodium Glutamate - The Common Food Additive, Its Allergy Effects And Its Long Term Adverse
MSG or mono sodium glutamate is the salt of the non essential amino acid glutamic acid that is added to a mind boggling number of foods. It is therefore all the more important to be aware of the far reaching health implications of this flavor food ad
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly
More by this Author
Milk is a universally available natural food. It contains all nutrients necessary for our growth. Read on to find the health benefits of drinking this white nectar...
About 75% of pregnant women experience morning sickness in varying intensity. Though it a very common condition, natural Ayurvedic home remedies can relieve this condition and give relief. Read on to learn about them....
Chia seeds, the wonder food, also called the "Running Food" was much used by the ancient Aztec and Mayan people not only as a food but for its amazing benefits.