Complete Pregnancy Diet – Learn How to Get All Nutrients From Food

Healthy diet during pregnancy is vital for the growth and development of your unborn baby. Getting all nutrition the body needs doesn’t only contribute to the babies growth and development in it’s mothers womb, but also increases the likelihood of good health later in life.

Healthy pregnancy diet is equally important for the mother’s health. By having a healthy diet during pregnancy the mother ensures ideal conditions in the womb for the baby to grow and develop to be a strong and healthy child.

Start early with your pregnancy diet plan preparation

Having a good diet before getting pregnant lays a good foundation for the pregnancy itself. Structure of the placenta will be better which has good influence on growth and development of the baby. The mother being significantly overweight can cause infertility, a risk of developing gestational diabetes and pregnancy hypertension. They are also more likely to need a caesarian section.

Women who are under normal weight before pregnancy or have a poor nutritional status are at risk of having babies under normal weight. The babies might also be growth retarded. It is not known at what point the poor pregnancy nutrition has the greatest effect on the fetus. Studies suggest that it may be very early, and the physical condition of a woman when she becomes pregnant can be crucial for the child’s health in the future.

It is recommended that all woman who can become pregnant, consider their health by:

  • Eating a variety of healthy foods
  • Consuming folic acid daily
  • Exercising regularly
  • Being of normal weight
  • Not consuming alcohol or other drugs
  • Not smoking

Nutrition During Pregnancy

Desirable food during pregnancy contains a high proportion of the vitamins and minerals relative to energy. The vitamins and minerals we get from food is essential for the development of fetal tissue. During pregnancy, the need for them increases.

During pregnancy there is increased absorption of these substances from the diet. It is important to eat nutritious food in order to meet this increased need. All nutrition pregnant women get is also nutrition for the fetus/baby. The nutrients pass from the mother’s gastrointestinal tract into the circulatory status and to the children through the placenta and umbilical cord. If the food has poor nutrient, then the baby receives the nutrients it needs from the mother supplies, if they are present.

The mother may then suffer from deficiency of necessary nutrients, leading to fatigue, malaise and other complications. Despite having access to the mother back supplies, the fetus can not deal with every imbalances in the mother’s diet.

Gaining weight is part of a healthy diet and vital for growth and development of the fetus. If the mother is not gaining weight and eating well, her child may be smaller then it would otherwise have been. Therefore it may be more prone to various diseases in childhood. It is even believed that this can make the child more vulnerable later in life for health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

A woman who eats nutritious and versatile food satisfies both her own and her child’s energy and nutrient requirements while gaining healthy and appropriate weight during pregnancy. And if she develops a good eating habits before pregnancy, then does not have to change her diet a lot. However, consuming a daily dose of folic acid is recommended. Also, make sure to get enough vitamin D supplements.

What is the Meaning of a Varied and Healthy Diet During Pregnancy?

Diversity matters because you need to get all essential nutrients from your food consumption. Diversity and loyalty is best ensured by consuming the following on a daily basis:

  • All sorts of vegetables and fruits. Preferably as part of every meal and as snacks between meals.
  • Fiber rich cereals, such as oatmeal or whole grain bread
  • Fresh fish or meat, egg or beans/lentils
  • Dairy products
  • Water

Diversity also applies within food categories, i.e. different types of bread, cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat and fish. It is recommended to test various types of foods from day-to-day because some nutrients are found in many foods while others can be found in just a few as well as being in different quantities between foods.

There are great numbers of interesting and good ways to eat healthy and varied food. It is not the intention that every meal or every day provides the same amount of total nutrients. What's important is how the food is composed for a period of 1-2 weeks and that the overall composition has been good and varied from every food category.

I enjoyed her vlog about her pregnancy diet...

Is it Normal to Eat More While Being Pregnant?

Energy need increases steadily in the course of pregnancy and is highest during the last trimester of the pregnancy. Most pregnant women do not need eat more than they did before because they rest more and move less in the second half of pregnancy.

However, women who keep their movement patterns unchanged need more energy and women starting regular exercise during pregnancy will probably also feel a need for more energy.

If weight gain during pregnancy is at adequate level, then the energy intake is also at the correct level.

Pregnancy Diet Plan

Always have breakfast when pregnant

Expectant mother should take time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as two to three snacks throughout the day. This ensures that nutrients are consistently being passed along to the baby. This results in less fluctuations in blood glucose, hunger between meals will be less with less chance of volume eating. In addition, it is more likely that the mother and the baby gets all the nutrients their bodies need.

Take time to enjoy the food and eat sufficiently. It is good to eat warm meals (low-fat meat, fish – both fat and lean, or bean meals) every day, since the body has increased protein requirements during pregnancy. Dairy food is also high in protein.

Have more of fruit and vegetables

Vegetables and fruits have various advantages other then containing folate. The vegetables and fruits are rich of vitamins, minerals and fiber while being low on calories. ‘Five per Day’ is a good goal for the expectant mother – meaning, five servings of all kinds of fruits and vegetables a day.

Diversity should be a priority in the selection of fruit and vegetables just like with other food categories. The vegetables and fruit can be in any form:

  • Fresh
  • Dried
  • Frozen
  • Cooked

If you include juice in your diet make sure to drink only juices that have been pasteurized.

A few fish along the way

Fish and other marine products contain important nutrients that are found in found in small quantities in most other foods. This includes nutrients such as vitamin D, iodine and selenium. The fish fat is rich of omega 3 fatty acids which are necessary for the development of the central nervous system of the fetus. Therefore it is important to fulfill the need for this type of fatty acids during pregnancy. Pregnant women are strongly advised to eat fish at least twice a week.

Consumption of fish or fish oil during pregnancy can also reduce the risk of premature birth. It has likewise proven to have a positive relationship with birth size. Larger newborns seem less vulnerable to various diseases, both early on and later in life than babies who are born small.

On the other hand, raw fish of any kind, should be avoided during pregnancy due to bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes, which may be present in it. A few species of fish can accumulate contaminants such as mercury in undesirable proportion. This is especially the case with large predator fish.

Healthy Diet For Vegetarian Mom-to-be's

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Protein requirements during pregnancy can be satisfied even though neither meat nor fish is served on the table. If this is the case, then it’s important to ensure that milk and eggs are part of the diet and make sure that the food contains some form of beans or lentils on daily basis. Nuts and tofu are protein foods. If egg and milk are not part of your diet then it’s even more essential to have an eye on the diversity of every meal.

While pregnant, vegetarians may need more of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found only in foods of animal origin such as meat. Some vegetable products such as soya milk, tofu and cereals, have added vitamin B12 to the ingredient. Carefully read the contents of those products and make sure they contain vitamin B12.

It is especially important to get vitamin D. A few other nutrients may also need your attention, depending on your diet. Vitamin D is found only in foods of animal origin, but we also get it from sunlight. Foods supplemented with vitamin D are e.g. some types of soya milk and some types of cereal.

Calcium is found in milk and dairy products. Foods of plant origin that are rich in calcium include broccoli, cabbage, sesame seeds, almonds and soy products.

Iron is found mainly in red meat. Foods of plant origin that are rich in iron include soya beans, lentils and dried fruits (apricots, prunes, raisins), dark green vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, seeds, whole grain cereals and breads. It is good to note that the iron in food is used more effectively if vitamin C rich foods (such as fruits, fruit juices and vegetables) are eaten with iron rich foods.

Vegetarian food usually contains a lot of omega-6 fatty acids but low in omega-3. Foods of plant origin that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are eggs, flaxseed, canola and soya bean oils.

All other health issues for healthier pregnancy

Allergy

It is possible that a child can develop a peanut allergy before birth or while it is feeding. However, this has not been established by undeniable research. If peanut allergy is known to be in the immediate family, it is advisable to skip eating peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding duration.

Weird Pregnancy Cravings

Most people have heard stories of women who seek to eat something unusual during pregnancy. Some women start eating food that they usually wouldn’t eat and do not even like under normal circumstances.

Changes in sense of smell and taste cause pregnancy cravings. A recent study revealed that the most common cravings for pregnant woman are ice cream, oranges, other fruits, frozen popsicles or sweets. It was also revealed that many women stop drinking coffee and soft drinks, but tend to eat a lot of spicy foods, fried foods. The cravings usually stop after birth.

Previously it was thought that pregnancy cravings reflected the need for certain substances in food, but today it is not considered probable cause. The most likely explanation is thought to be changes in women sense of smell and taste during pregnancy.

Be Hygienic When Preparing Food

Hygiene in the kitchen around food and cooking and proper food handling is always important. This is even more important during pregnancy. Harmful bacteria and parasites can affect the health of both mother and child.

It’s good to keep the following points in mind when handling food:

  • Wash you hands before and after cooking. Also, after having touched raw foods, sand and dirt.
  • Wash all vegetables and fruits.
  • Frozen foods should be thawed in the refrigerator, but not at room temperature. Make sure that the food is in containers that ensure no leaks from the frozen food to other foods stored in the refrigerator. Thawing in the microwave is fine if the meal is then prepared immediately after.
  • Few bacterial are killed by freezing.
  • All leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator immediately after the meal.
  • Keep cooked food separate from raw food to prevent cross contamination.
  • Wash cutting boards and other utensils when changing from one type of raw material to another (For example, don’t use the same unwashed knife and cutting board earlier used to cut chicken and then use it on raw vegetables).
  • Switch dishwasher accessories regularly (rags, brushes, cloths).
  • Don’t allow pets to walk on benches and tables where food is prepared.

Foods to avoid when pregnant

Raw meats

You should avoid raw or slightly cooked dishes (meat, eggs and fish). It’s OK to eat meat though the center is a bit pink, because the center of the muscle meat is free of bacteria. The bacteria are found only on the surface of meats. Minced meat should always be well cooked.

Unpasteurized milk

Drink pasteurized milk only to reduce the risk of infection due to the same bacteria Listeria monocytogenes that can be found on raw fish.

It is not desirable to eat soft cheeses such as mature Camembert, Brie and molds manufactured from unpasteurized milk. There is a risk they might be growing various bacteria.

Sausages

Avoid consumption of all types of sausage.

Caffeine

Caffeine while pregnant can harm the fetus. Coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks contain caffeine. Studies have shown correlation between the consumption large doses of coffee and miscarriage in the first weeks of pregnancy. Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the heart rate of the fetus and the mother.

It is advisable not to drink more than the equivalent of one to two cups of coffee or three to four cups of tea a day. The amount of caffeine is also less in cola, energy drinks as well as chocolates, so consume these in small quantities.

Alcohol

Alcohol and other drugs will easily cross the placenta and can have devastating consequences for the child. Effects of alcohol on the fetus have been studied extensively, and the risks are coming more and more clear. Research suggests that even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful to the child.

Herbal and dietary supplements

Little is known of the many herbal remedies and herbal medicine from evidence-based research. Some of them may contain harmful chemicals and should not be used during pregnancy.

It is generally not recommended to use herbal and dietary supplements while being pregnant, as their effects on the fetus are uncertain or unknown. This refers to fat burning pills, spirulina, creatine, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, CLA and more.

Consult a doctor about the use of these substances.

Multivitamins

Women who have a healthy diet do not need extra multivitamin. However if you suspect the diet is not composed or varied well enough it’s of course useful to have one standard multivitamin tablet daily or other vitamin tablets that are specifically designed for pregnant women.

Multivitamin is recommended if a woman has eaten little during the first few weeks of pregnancy due to nausea or has lost weight.

It's not easy carrying that bundle of joy inside you. For first timers, it could be insurmountable sometimes. But with a few information and a good implementation, you can have the best experience of pregnancy.

Copyright © 2016 by Julie Nou.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses with proper accreditation.

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1 comment

Till D'Argus 7 weeks ago

This article is very useful for me and my wife. We were planning on conceiving a child soon and my wife wondered what could she do about her diet since she wants to make sure that she is providing the child with healthy nutrients. Looking at this nice and healthy food, maybe I will also start eating this food. :)

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