10 Best Foods To Eat While Pregnant For You & Your Baby’s Health

Date
June
10
2022
Compiled By Otella Ritzy
Medically Reviewed By M Lieberman, [MD] FACT CHECKED

Childbearing is a period when you should consider what you should eat and prioritize your health while pregnant.

From conception, a good diet is critical to nourishing your baby well. So when you find out you are pregnant, it is natural to start questioning your eating habits.

However, like everyone else, you might be searching for several tips about healthy pregnancy and could be tempted to seek advice from your friends, your mother, or even the internet. You might also rely on your previous pregnancy practices.

You might not realize it, but each pregnancy is unique. For example, environment or age could influence hormonal or physical changes that might affect pregnancy.

Therefore the body’s response could differ. Everyone benefits from a well-balanced diet, but it is especially vital to make nutritional adjustments during pregnancy to meet your individual needs.

You might find discomfort due to pregnancy symptoms, such as edema, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, constipation, migraines, leg cramps, and so on.

Knowing what foods are healthy to consume throughout pregnancy might help you manage these pregnancy symptoms while providing adequate nutrition for your baby.

For expectant mothers, there is no fixed meal regimen. As a result, some people have no problems with the food they eat, while someone else might start to have problems.

Certain foods could aggravate their symptoms, while some different foods might help to alleviate them.

This issue with foods is one reason you should consult a nutritionist who could provide accurate advice on food limitations.

Food limits during pregnancy depend on various factors, including physical condition and lifestyle.

This article will look at the best food to eat while pregnant and food to avoid.

Best Foods To Eat While Pregnant

Here are some of the best food to eat while being pregnant:

  1. Proteins

    Protein-rich foods help your baby grow while also providing nutrition for your body to create and repair tissues, such as hair, muscles, nails, and skin.

    Although protein demands differ from person to person, a pregnant woman, especially in their second and third trimesters, requires[1] extra protein for her baby’s growth.

    Beans, almonds, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, and peanut butter are high protein foods that encourage heart development and a healthy brain in your infant.

    Whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, grains, and quinoa are healthy choices to make while pregnant.

    They are high in folic acid, fiber, B vitamins, and iron which are good for physical growth.

    Grains might also aid in the relief of hemorrhoids and constipation.

  2. Eggs

    You are probably aware that eggs are simple to cook, and a low-cost source of protein. A single egg contains 5 grams of protein.

    With 40 IU per large egg, eggs are one of the few food sources of vitamin D.

    Vitamin D is important for your baby’s development of strong teeth and bones. It also keeps your immune system in top shape.

    Furthermore, data implies that obtaining enough vitamin D might lower the risk of low birth weight, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.

    Eggs are also high in choline, which is an important ingredient[2] for the development of the brain along with the nervous system.

  3. Folic acid and iron

    The most frequent vitamin shortfall during pregnancy is iron insufficiency, according to observational studies[3] conducted on pregnant women.

    Beans, spinach, poultry, red meat, fish, and fortified cereals are examples of foods high in iron.

    Folic acid is used to help your body create the additional blood it requires during pregnancy.

    Early in pregnancy, adequate folic acid consumption lowers the chance of birth abnormalities affecting the spinal cord.

    Pregnant women should ingest 500 micrograms of iron every day. Your prenatal vitamins include this amount.

  4. Lentils

    This vegetarian protein source deserves a spot on your plate whether you eat meat or not.

    A cup of cooked lentils contains around 18 grams of protein and 5 milligrams of iron.

    Lentils are also high in folate. It is a B vitamin that is essential for the development of your baby’s brain along with the nervous system.

    It also has a strong protective effect against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. It is a birth defect in which the spine does not form properly.

    Lentils are also high in fiber, which might help prevent constipation and keep your digestive system running smoothly during pregnancy.

  5. Vegetables

    Vegetables of every kind, in every form, are good for you and your kid when you are pregnant.

    Veggies make sure that your body gets enough minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

    Fresh vegetables are preferred, but if you must consume canned vegetables, make sure to purchase a low sodium variety.

    The more leafy greens you have, the better. If you do not like vegetables, especially during the first trimester, consider hiding them in smoothies.

  6. Salmon

    Fatty fish has earned a reputation as one of the healthiest foods to consume while you are pregnant.

    Salmon and cold-water fish are high in DHA omega-3s, which are important for a variety of reasons.

    They are not produced by the body. They aid in the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins, such as E and A.

    They might lessen the risk of postpartum and prenatal depression.

    They are essential for your baby’s brain and vision development. Both the retina and brain are primarily composed of DHA.

    Vitamin D and iodine are also quite abundant in salmon.

  7. Water

    When you are pregnant, staying hydrated is quite important for yourself and your kid.

    Hydration[4] makes you feel better and it also helps you avoid morning sickness, such as nausea.

    Dehydration might cause contractions and preterm labor. Along with consuming naturally found water in foods, aim for 8 glasses of fluids per day.

  8. Nuts

    Nuts are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They are also high in minerals and vitamins, such as potassium, vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium.

    They are also convenient to carry about which makes them a great pregnancy snack.

    Nuts come in a variety of nutritional profiles, and they could be included in a balanced pregnant diet.

    There are a few nuts that are very worthwhile. Peanuts are high in folate, almonds provide a calcium boost, and walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

  9. Fruits

    Fruits could help you satisfy any sugar cravings you might have while pregnant. It also provides nutrients to your baby.

    Although some people advise avoiding eating fruit while pregnant, this is a fallacy. Moderation is crucial, as it is with every food.

    As fruit contains a lot of sugar, it is crucial to keep track of how much you eat. Also, be careful with your meal preparation.

    Thoroughly rinse the fruits under running water for 35 seconds to avoid foodborne diseases which might be harmful to you and your baby.

  10. Quinoa

    If you did not eat quinoa before you got pregnant, this is the time to start. It contains minor amounts of potassium, calcium, zinc, and magnesium.

    Per cooked cup, the whole grain provides 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of iron.

  11. Seeds

    Seeds may be able to help your body in a hassle-free consumption of nutrition-filled substances. For example, you could turn to seeds when your body needs high amounts of nutrition to maintain energy. Seeds could also aid in the neurological development of your baby.

    You could consider seeds with a high nutritional value during pregnancy. For example, Chia Seeds are rich in antioxidants and have many essential vitamins and minerals.

    Also, other seeds, such as Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax Seeds, Watermelon Seeds, etc., have high nutritional value.

    These may be consumed in the morning and could help you deal with maintaining proper throughout the day. In addition, you could also consider sunflower seeds rich in Vitamin E, which could eventually help build red blood cells.

    Although Flax seeds are rich in Omega-3 Fatty acids, you might want to keep their consumption restricted to low or moderate quantities because it might create a hormonal imbalance if their consumption is on a higher side.

    Also, watermelon seeds are rich in Vitamin C, which could help develop a fetus. Further, these may help in dealing with muscle cramps during pregnancy.

    The consumption of seeds during pregnancy could significantly affect the baby’s brain and retina development.

Conclusion

Your infant is growing at the prospect of consuming the nutrient-dense foods found in a well-balanced diet of healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

When you are pregnant, it is critical to stay away from beverages and foods which might harm you or your baby.

Although most beverages and foods are entirely healthy to consume, some should be avoided, such as high mercury fish, raw fish, alcohol, and unpasteurized dairy.

To support a healthy pregnancy, several beverages and foods, such as foods high in added sugar should be avoided.

Keep your healthcare staff updated about your food habits and also let them help you develop a supplement plan if necessary.

There are a plethora of delectable options to provide you and your kid with what you require. This is a fantastic place to start if you want to have a well-nourished and healthy pregnancy.

+4 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Rajavel Elango*, Ronald O Ball. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements during Pregnancy. Adv Nutr. 2016 Jul; 7(4): 839S–844S. Published online 2016 Jul 11. doi: 10.3945/an.115.011817.
  2. Chessa K. Lutter, Lora L. Iannotti, Christine P. Stewart. The potential of a simple egg to improve maternal and child nutrition. Matern Child Nutr. 2018 Oct; 14(Suppl 3): e12678. Published online 2018 Oct 17. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12678.
  3. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Nutritional Status During Pregnancy and Lactation. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1990. Nutrition During Pregnancy: Part I Weight Gain: Part II Nutrient Supplements. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235217/
  4. Kristen S. Montgomery, PhD, RN. Nutrition Column An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond. J Perinat Educ. 2002 Summer; 11(3): 40–42. doi: 10.1624/105812402X88830.

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