Nutrition and Pregnancy (Everything You Should Know About It)
During pregnancy, the most important change every to-be mother experiences is her diet and nutrition intake. Pregnancy is known for its physical, psychological, hormonal, and lifestyle changes, and that is perfectly fine. But what is the role of nutrition?
What is the link between nutrition and pregnancy, and does it mean just increasing your kilojoules intake? Definitely not. Although your baby will have an extra demand on your body for nutrients and even calories, that doesn’t mean you should only increase the amount of food you consume.
It is equally important to have a balanced diet and provide essential nutrients for the healthy growth of both your baby and yourself. In this article on Hipregnancy, we’ll explore everything you need to know about nutrition and pregnancy.
Nutrition and Pregnancy
When it comes to pregnancy, there are many unanswered questions about what can I eat, what minerals do I need, how much vitamins should intake? These questions all relate to the inevitable link between nutrition and pregnancy.
Nutrition or better to say, what you eat, has a direct link with how healthy your baby will grow, both before and after pregnancy.
A balanced diet packed with essential nutrients is an essential part of pregnancy that supports good brain development and healthy birth weight. Also, nutritious diet prevents many other birth defects in a newborn
Protein, Vitamin C, Calcium, Fruits and Vegetables, Whole Grains, Iron-rich Foods, Adequate Fats, and folic acid are top ingredients of a healthy diet that you should take into account when caring another human being.
In the following table, you’ll see the most important nutrients and daily requirements during pregnancy: [1: healthline]
|Protein||70–100 g, increasing each trimester|
Vital Nutrients and Pregnancy (And Where to Get Them!)
There is a long list of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that everybody needs daily to function properly. During pregnancy, some nutrients are more important than others.
Calcium, iron, Vitamin A, C, B6, B12, Folate are among the most crucial nutrients pregnant women need. Some of the most vital ones that pregnant women need more than any other person include (but are not limited to):
- Folate (folic acid)
Folic acid is one of the most vital vitamins every pregnant woman should intake. In fact, it is so crucial that you should start consuming it two-month before conceiving. 500mcg of folic acid in supplements form, along with other healthy natural sources for folate is recommended.
Iodine is responsible for your baby’s healthy brain development, and it should be included in your daily diet. Iodized salt or multivitamins containing iodine are good sources of iodine.
Iron can increase blood volume and prevent anemia. Iron works with sodium, potassium, and water. The daily volume for pregnant women is 27 milligrams. We suggest you read “foods for iron in pregnancy“.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D has one main function: helping your body absorb calcium, which is vital for bone and tooth health. During pregnancy, daily Vitamin D intake is 6000 IUs.
- Other Supplements
Although taking supplements and multivitamin pills are not necessary during pregnancy, according to your own condition, like your daily diet, substance misuse, or other conditions, a health provider professional may recommend taking supplements too. [2: betterhealth.vic.gov.au], [3: thewomens.org.au]
Water and Fluids Intake During Pregnancy
Nutrition isn’t always eating solid foods and fruits. Fluids, like water or juice, are equally important in the link between nutrition and pregnancy. It is no surprise that avoiding all forms of alcohol is the first headline in most banned foods during pregnancy.
Water has many benefits for the body, from helping digestion to forming amniotic fluid around the fetus. Also, it is necessary for absorbing some prenatal vitamins that you cannot get from food alone. We suggest you read article How Much Water To Drink When Pregnant?
Water, with near-zero calories, is a good substitute for most other drinks. It is recommended to drink 8 to 12 glasses (64 to 96 ounces) of water each day during pregnancy.
A good sign of a well-hydrated body is your frequency of bathroom trips or the pale color of the urine. However, for those women who, for whatever reason, cannot drink enough water, water is not the only option.
Other substitutes for staying hydrated during pregnancy include fruits and vegetables, milk, juice, sparkling water, tea, and soup. Diversifying water intake will also help you get some of the above-mentioned vital nutrients too.
As we shall see in the following section, you should try to limit your caffeine and artificial sweeteners (in most ready-made juices on the market) during pregnancy. [4: hopkinsmedicine], [5: acog.org], [6: intermountainhealthcare]
Banned Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Staying healthy is of utmost importance when it comes to pregnancy. You are not only responsible for your own health, but also you are carrying another human being with yourself and should be aware of its health too.
To gain more knowledge on nutrition and pregnancy, and avoiding bad nutrition, here are some of the top bannedfoods that you should avoid (or minimize) during pregnancy:
- Fish or seafood with mercury: Mercury is linked with developmental delays and brain damage to babies, so avoid any kinds of fish with mercury at all costs.
- Raw or undercooked meat: poultry, pork, sausage, fish, and burgers, in undercooked conditions, increases the risk of harmful toxoplasmosis.
- Unpasteurized Foods: unpasteurized foods like milk, mozzarella, or cottage cheese could lead to foodborne diseases. However, pasteurized ones are perfectly healthy.
- Excess caffeine: Although there isn’t any official guideline on how much caffeine is too much, it is wise to consult your health provider to discuss caffeine limitations. A general rule of thumb is to limit caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams per day during pregnancy.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is one of the major forbidden drinks to avoid at all forms and in all levels. Alcohol greatly increases the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth.
Final Thoughts on Nutrition and Pregnancy
Healthy eating is not only good for you but also a necessity when it comes to the healthy development of your baby, even after it is born. Malnutrition is a serious issue during pregnancy, and care must be taken when choosing what to eat and what to avoid.
Nutrition and pregnancy have an inevitable link with each other, and a responsible parent should pay enough attention to the nutrients she is taking.
As always, consult with your health provider professional to check for the interferences and sudden diet changes you might have in your mind to be on the safe side.