What to eat in pregnancy is as important as knowing what not to eat in pregnancy – this is because you are eating not for your own self but for two of you (your baby and you). And you need to pay close attention to your diet and overall health since the required nutrients and minerals for your body are now more than what they used to be when you weren’t pregnant. With that being said, if your diet isn’t good, your baby’s development might get affected in any way.
Before we get started with sharing foods that aid in pregnancy, here’s a thing that we want to share with you; there might be few things that will put you in stress-mode but eating should definitely not be one of them. By saying that, having a good diet has nothing to do with making you stressed – in fact, it’s one of the best things you can do when you are pregnant.
What to eat in pregnancy:
In order to answer what to eat in pregnancy, here’s our list of top foods you can start with right away.
1 – Dairy Products:
Dairy products top the list of foods that are said to be green-zoned for when you have a pregnancy. This is because dairy products have lots of calcium and protein to get benefits from. And during pregnancy, having more of calcium and protein are what one requires.
In case you don’t know, dairy products come up with 2 types of proteins: whey and casein. Not only do these products help in fulfilling calcium and protein requirements, but also aid in getting much of phosphorus, various B vitamins, magnesium and zinc for one’s body.
Taking probiotic supplements when one is pregnant can easily reduce the risk of complications such as gestational diabetes, vaginal infection, preeclampsia, and allergies.
The most effective of dairy products is Yogurt, especially a Greek Yogurt, for women that are pregnant.
2 – Fortified Breakfast Cereal:
Remember when your doctor recommended you to be consuming folate the first few weeks of pregnancy? That doesn’t stop here and stays like that for 9 months, as it is. This is because folate is one of the nutrients that is required for one when she is pregnant – all thanks to Vitamin B.
Many experts advise to be getting 400 micrograms of folate per day through either vitamin supplements or fortified foods, and another 200 micrograms through foods that are rich in folate, naturally, such as black-eyed peas, and asparagus.
3 – Eggs:
Eggs contain lots of protein which is as essential as it gets for when one is pregnant. Amino acids found in eggs that make up protein are actually the building blocks of every cell that exists in your body – and will exist in your baby’s body.
And it doesn’t just stop here; eggs also contain many more vitamins and minerals, of which choline is one.
In case you don’t know, choline is found to aid in brain and spinal cord’s development of a baby while also preventing neural tube defects.
You can combine eggs with either cheese or veggies that you have access to, to be more healthy.
However, don’t eat eggs when you have typhoid.
4 – Salmon:
Remember that omega-3 fatty acids rich food we discussed in our article [what to eat when bp is high], Salmon? That’s one of the best foods to answer what to eat when in pregnancy as well.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important and essential for one’s baby’s healthy development while also aiding one to boost up her mood.
It is advised to eat salmon at least 400 grams once every week.
5 – Beans:
Beans are another one of good sources of protein. And not just that, they also contain iron, folic acid, potassium, essential fatty acids, and magnesium – all of which are important for one when she’s pregnant.
Beans are also a great source of fiber, meaning, you can stay full for a longer period of time while also preventing two common pregnancy discomforts: hemorrhoids and constipation.
6 – Sweet Potatoes:
A beta-carotene rich food, sweet potatoes are essential for your body and baby because its plant compound is later converted into Vitamin A after you’ve consumed it. And in case you have no clue why Vitamin A is of great importance here, it is because it is essential for growth and differentiation of most tissues and cells. It is really very important for healthy fetal development.
It is commonly seen that pregnant women are often advised to be taking around 10-40% of Vitamin A through sources that are not animal-based – animal-based sources of Vitamin A causes toxicity if when eaten in bulk or excess.
Apart from beta-carotene, sweet potatoes also contain lots of fiber to keep you full all day long, reduce blood sugar spikes, and help improve digestion.
With as low as 100-150 grams of consumption of sweet potatoes, you can fulfill your entire Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
7 – Broccoli and Dark, Green Vegetables:
Many of dark green vegetables, like Kale and Spinach, are found to be most effective and nutritional for pregnant women’s needs. This is because broccoli and dark, green vegetables, contain vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, fiber, calcium, folate, iron, and potassium. And not just that, these leafy green veggies and broccoli also are rich in antioxidants and plant compounds that improve digestion as well as the immune system.
The higher amount of fiber found in these vegetables are found to aid in preventing constipation and that’s one of the issues most women experience e when they are pregnant.
8 – Whole Grains:
If you are finding it hard to increase your calorie intake to meet the level of required calories, especially when you are going through second or third trimesters, eating whole grains might be an answer for you.
Whole grains contain lots of vitamins, fiber, and plant compounds which not only aid in preventing constipation but also help improve our overall body system.
Additionally, whole grains are also packed with vitamin B and magnesium, both of which are effective and supportive to pregnant women.
Some of the best foods you can start with are oats and quinoa – this is because they are packed with a fair amount of protein as well, which is important for pregnancy.
9 – Bananas:
To fight off pregnancy fatigue, banana is your friend to start with – thanks to potassium, lots of potassium found in bananas.
It is one of the easiest ways to answer what to eat in pregnancy as you can eat bananas in any way or anytime you want. However, it is more effective to be eaten in breakfast along with yogurt.
10 – Walnuts:
Plant-based omega-3 rich food, walnuts are one of the best choices you can make when choosing pregnancy-aiding foods.
Apart from a good source of omega-3, they are also packed with lots of protein and fiber to keep you full and healthy while preventing constipation.
You can either choose them for an on-the-run snack or eat some mixed into your salad.
11 – Oatmeal:
If you want an energetic start while also supporting your healthy pregnancy, trading your usual morning eatables for an oatmeal is one of the best choices you can make. In case you are wondering why, it is because oatmeal is found to aid in lowering cholesterol levels while keeping you satisfied (full) for a longer period of time which also allows preventing constipation.
However, it is advised to buy the oatmeal that has the lowest amount of sugar added.
12 – Dried Fruits (berries, cherries, and cranberries)
Dried fruits such as cherries, cranberries, and apricots, help when you want to prevent urinary tract infections, a disease most common when women are pregnant.
These dried fruits (berries, cherries, and cranberries) are also packed with lots of healthy carbs, fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, allowing you to absorb iron effectively while staying healthier. Also, they do not cause major blood sugar spikes.
The best part about these eatables is that they are easy to grab and can be eaten anywhere, at any time.
13 – Soy Foods:
In case you are wondering whether it’s safe to follow the vegetarian eating plan or not while you’re pregnant, here’s an answer: yes, as long as you pay close attention to the required nutrients your body needs such as protein. With that being said, adding foods like tofu to your diet plan is one of the good options to consider.
14 – Oranges:
Oranges are packed with lots of vitamin C, fiber, and folate. Also, since they are around 90% of water, your need to fulfill the daily fluid intake becomes easier with consumption of oranges – keeping your fluid intake level satisfied prevents feeling fatigued which is commonly found in women that are pregnant.
15 – Lean Meat:
High-quality proteins are needed in bulk when one goes through pregnancy, along with other important nutrients like iron, vitamins, and choline. If you are to decide to eat something that covers all of these important nutrients/ factors required in pregnancy, we would recommend you to try lean meat; beef, pork, and chicken are found to have lots of high-quality proteins along with iron, choline, and vitamin B.
In case you don’t know, iron is an essential factor when staying healthy during pregnancy – it is because iron is capable and important for delivering oxygen to all cells in our bodies and when a woman is pregnant, her blood volume is increased over time so you need more iron present in your body to transfer oxygen to the newly generated cells.
If iron is found to be lower in one’s body, chances of low birth weight and premature delivery can occur.
Lean meat also answers what to eat when bp is low – it’s because it increases your blood pressure levels to make them stable and okay.
16 – Fish Liver Oil:
Fish liver oil, not known to most people we believe, is an oil that is made from the oily liver of fish which is very beneficial and supportive for when one is pregnant.
It makes it to the list of foods when one questions what to eat in pregnancy – this is because fish liver oil is packed with the omega-3 type of fatty acids which are essential for the development of fetal brain and eyes.
And not just that, fish liver oil also contains vitamin D, a type of vitamin that is necessary to keep your blood pressure stable and your body healthy.
People with lower levels of vitamin D are found to have higher blood pressure along with swelling of the hands and feet.
It also contains vitamin A and it is strictly not recommended to consume more than one serving per day; enough preformed vitamin A is sometimes (often) very dangerous for the fetus.
17 – Avocados:
Due to having lots of monounsaturated fatty acids, avocados are called unusual fruit which comes with a high amount of fiber, vitamin B, vitamin K, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Because of these important nutrients, avocados make it to the list of top foods to eat when you are pregnant.
Folate prevents neural tube defects while healthy fats found in avocados help build the brain, skin, and tissues of your fetus. Potassium, on the other hand, helps in relieving leg cramps which are commonly found in pregnant women.
Now that we’re done with answering what to eat in pregnancy, here are some extras that will aid you more in dealing with pregnancy.
What to drink in pregnancy:
1 – Nonfat Milk:
Milk needs no explanation when it comes to staying healthy during pregnancy. It is one of the best fluids mothers-to-be should be drinking – that’s because it’s full of calcium and proteins.
If is found that when a woman is pregnant, her body absorbs twice as much calcium from foods so the daily needs for her body remain the same. What makes it complicated is that not most of us get that amount of calcium; most women get too little calcium which is non-healthy. Drinking more of nonfat milk can increase your calcium intake to the required levels, and is a smart move you can make.
2 – Fresh Fruit Juice:
Another drinkable you can consume when dealing with pregnancy is fresh fruit juices. This is because fresh fruit juices have lots of vitamins. Keep in mind that fruit juice contains quite a lot of sugar so it’s best to consume them along with cold water in 50:50 ratio.
3 – Soups and Broths:
Soups and broths can also be consumed to meet your fluid needs. However, some of these fluids contain lots of sodium (salt) which is not something you should be having to meet your daily fluid needs. For this very reason, not many women like the idea of soup with sodium intake when they are pregnant.
When to see a doctor?
What you need to be eating during pregnancy is crucial – it’s because you are not only trying to stay healthy when your body needs are being increased but also willing to help the development of your baby to be just fine. With the list above, you can easily achieve both of these goals. However, it’s still the best practice to visit your doctor and see if he/ she suggests you anything based on your body’s condition and overall system.