Pregnancy is a time full of changes, where parents must take many things into account so that everything goes well; one of them is food. At this stage, not only do we have to eat more, but we have to take care of what we eat, we have to have the best nutrition for pregnancy. In this article, we are going to review this topic.
The Importance of a Good Diet
A pregnant woman needs to ingest between 350 and 450 additional calories into her regular daily diet. This does not represent a lot of food, but it is important to take care of the sources from which those calories are obtained since they contribute significantly to the development of the baby. The baby’s nutrition will be based on the mother’s food intake since it is from her who they obtain the necessary nutrients to develop correctly. That is why doctors prohibit the intake of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances during pregnancy. Additionally, the calories you eat should also contain nutrients, such as calcium, iron, vitamins, and other minerals. The consumption of certain vitamins and minerals will have to be higher due to the growth of the baby
The Best Nutrition for Pregnancy
A diet that is considered healthy should have the amounts you need of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, minerals, water, etc. To get an idea of what you consume, you should see the products’ label, and you should check the RDA recommendations (although these should be a little higher in pregnancy). Here are some of the nutrients that are essential during pregnancy and the sources in food to have the best nutrition for pregnancy:
Lipids: this biomolecule mainly helps to obtain energy and to store it. This can be obtained from dairy products, tree nuts, fish, oils, peanut butter, whole milk, and meat. It would be best if you avoid saturated fats and trans fats.
Protein: This biomolecule helps cell growth and blood production. It is recommended to obtain it from foods such as fish, chicken, beans, peanut butter, soy, lean meats, and egg whites.
Carbohydrates: These are used to have energy during the day and carry out our activities. Carbohydrates can be obtained from rice, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, pasta, bread, rice, and cereals.
Calcium: This mineral has many functions in our body, but the main ones are the strength of the bones, the functioning of the nerves, and the functioning of the muscles. It is recommended to obtain it from milk, sardines, salmon, cheese, spinach, and yogurt.
Iron: serves mainly for the production of red blood cells. Iron can be obtained from spinach, cereals, and bread with iron, and lean red meats.
Vitamin A: Helps the skin, vision, and bones. This is obtained from sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, and carrots.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is important since it helps to absorb the iron we eat; it also helps the gums and bones and can be obtained from tomatoes, fruit juices, and citrus fruits.
Vitamins B6 and B12: These are essential for the development of red blood cells; they also help absorb other biomolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and keep the nervous system healthy. These vitamins are obtained from ham, whole grains, banana, chicken, fish, milk, and pork.
Vitamin D: This is important to help the absorption of calcium, which can be obtained from dairy products, bread, and cereals.
Folic acid: This is important because it activates many enzymatic functions; it also helps in the production of blood, and this is found in dark yellow fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and peas.
The Most Important Nutrients for the Baby
You’ve probably heard that women take folic acid during pregnancy. Doctors recommend its consumption during pregnancy and especially in the first month, as it helps to avoid deformities or abnormalities in the neural tube of the developing fetus. Calcium is also a fundamental mineral for pregnant women. When a fetus is growing, its calcium requirements are very high, so this mineral is recommended in the diets of pregnant women since there can be a significant loss of calcium in the bones. It is best to ask a doctor’s opinion to include this mineral in the diet in the correct amounts.
Many people today are vegetarians, and many women have been mothers even on vegetarian diets. In these cases, you must be very careful. It is best to consult a specialist doctor to guide us in the best diet for pregnancy without animal origin products, something that can be quite complicated but not impossible. In this case, the safest thing is for a doctor to administer supplements so as not to affect the development of the baby or the health of the mother and the child.
What Not to Consume in Pregnancy
Some foods are harmful to the fetus, and it is better to avoid them during pregnancy. The first thing to avoid is alcohol at any level, as it is a harmful substance for a developing baby. Vitamins or herbal-based naturopathic products can be harmful, and it is best to consult a doctor before consuming any of these products. Many doctors believe that moderate consumption of caffeinated products is not harmful to the fetus. However, caffeine consumption in pregnancy has been associated with miscarriages and other problems, so we recommend avoiding it or substituting decaffeinated for it.
During pregnancy, a disease that originates from certain foods can be dangerous for the fetus, such as toxoplasmosis or listeriosis. That is why you should avoid consuming the following foods.
- Unpasteurized soft cheeses
- Unpasteurized milk
- Juices and cider vinegar
- Raw egg and desserts containing raw egg
- Raw or undercooked meat
- Raw or undercooked fish and shellfish
- Ultra-processed meats and sausages
- Fish high in mercury (tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy)
Remember to visit a specialist doctor so that he can guide you in the best nutrition for pregnancy and that neither you nor your baby suffers any risk. Do not self-medicate supplements or vitamins; take care of your health.