Nutrition is important at any point in your life, if you want to live a long healthy life and feel good you need to eat right, we all know this already. But when you are pregnant, nutrition is extra important for a few key reasons.
First of all, poor nutrition can impact not only your health, but the health of your baby. So if you want a healthy baby (who doesn’t?) you need to eat well. But in addition, the process of pregnancy puts new types of stress on your body and your own health is tested more than at any other time.
In other words, you need to look after yourself and your baby, so let’s look at some specifics of what you need and how to get it:
Calorie Intake Matters
Everyone knows that you have to eat more when pregnant, because you’re eating for two right? But in reality, most pregnant women use this as an excuse to over eat and the result is gaining more weight than is necessary.
When you are pregnant you have a heavy load to carry around with you anyway, so gaining unnecessary weight isn’t going to help. As a rule you only need an extra 300 calories per day to grow a healthy baby, which isn’t actually that much.
Try to make sure you get your required calories but not too much more, and above all, make sure that those calories are nutrient dense, don’t just eat empty calories because you feel like you need the extra.
Obviously, all of your vitamins and minerals are as important as ever, so eating a balanced diet is essential. But pregnancy comes with its own set of nutrition requirements. Some women choose to take a pregnancy nutrition supplement and that’s not a bad idea, but eating a balanced diet is important too.
Here are some of the nutrients you are most likely to be short of and how to get them:
Ideally you should start taking this 3 months before you become pregnant, or otherwise as soon as possible after finding out that you are. Folic acid plays an important role in the growth of a baby’s brain and skeleton, all of which are most important in the first few weeks of a pregnancy
A deficiency in folic acid can lead to birth defects which affect the brain and/or the spinal cord. Which is a great reason to eat lots of broccoli and spinach!
A deficiency in iron is actually very common during pregnancy as your blood supply is being shared between you and your baby. The volume of blood in your body will steadily increase and if you don’t get enough iron in your diet you can become anaemic.
Eat plenty of meat, fish and dark vegetables as well as dried fruits and prune juice and your baby will have all the iron it needs to grow properly. Your baby also needs to build up a store of iron to last the first 6 months after birth.
Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium is obviously important to build strong bones in you and your baby. During pregnancy your body uses more calcium than usual and if you don’t eat enough your own bones can become weaker due to calcium being used by the baby.
Vitamin D helps you to absorb more calcium from your food, which helps to avoid calcium deficiency. So try to:
· Get outside for at least an hour or so each day
· If you live somewhere with little sun, consider a supplement
· Try not to over consume vitamin D, stay below 2000 IU per day
· Eat lots of Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Tofu, Broccoli etc…
Omega 3 and omega 6 are the important ones, they help in the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. Fish is an excellent source of omega 3, but be careful as fish also contains mercury, which can be harmful to the baby. A good, safe source of omega 3 is flaxseed, but it is also added to some other foods.
For omega 6, get plenty of nuts and nut oils, soy and other non-hydrogenated oils. Also be aware that some oils don’t handle heat well. Olive oil is great on salad, but if you cook with it, the fatty acids may be denatured, which negates the benefit.
Hi there, my name is Jonathon, I work at Natures Best, who sell a range of supplements and natural remedies to keep you fighting fit and healthy. Check us out here, to learn more. Thanks for reading!