What you eat during pregnancy is extremely important not only for your health, but also for the health of your baby. What you eat and drink will be your child’s main source of nourishment, so it’s important that you consume the right foods. Your baby needs a variety of nutrients to grow properly, so you should always try to choose food and beverages that provide these healthy nutrients.
What to Eat
The important nutrients to include in your diet include iron, calcium, folic acid, and protein. Foods with iron include meat, poultry, fish, and dried beans and peas and eggs. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified juices. Some great foods to include ensure you get folic acid include leafy green vegetables, breads, pastas, and fortified or enriched cereals. Eating organic during this time will ensure your baby will be receiving nutrition free of pesticides and chemicals.
What Not to Eat
The biggest thing to avoid while you’re pregnant is caffeine. Since caffeine has been linked to a higher rate of miscarriage, low birth rate, and can raise your baby’s heart rate, it’s recommended to have no more than 200mg of caffeine per day. Many mothers choose to stay away from caffeine entirely to be safe. Alcohol should be avoided at all costs. You should also stay away from fish that contain high levels of mercury because mercury can pass through the placenta, causing issues with your baby’s brain, kidneys, and nervous system. Fish which is usually found to be high in mercury are mackerel, swordfish, and shark to name a few. Other foods to avoid include raw or under cooked meat as well as unpasteurized food.
The goal is to eat fruits and vegetables through most your pregnancy, though it’s okay to splurge on your pregnancy cravings occasionally. Aim to have around 2-4 servings of fruit and at least 4 servings of vegetables daily. Also, try to eat 6-11 servings of grains, 3 servings of protein, and 4 servings of dairy for a well-rounded diet that is healthy for both mother and baby.
Along with proper nutrition through diet, you should also take a prenatal vitamin. This will help fill in where your diet may be lacking. Pregnancy is unpredictable, so you’re bound to go off track with your diet occasionally. Taking a prenatal vitamin each day will ensure that you and your unborn baby are getting exactly what you need to guarantee a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor can recommend the best vitamin for you.