Growing a healthy baby starts with a healthy mom. After conception, moms-to-be need to set themselves a higher nutritional standard than before. It may be tough to eat healthy as morning sickness and tiredness are common symptoms of pregnancy. When nutritional goals aren’t reached from food, vitamins can be the guiding light. Keep reading to see how you can maintain good nutrition during your trimesters.
Vitamins to Take
Take prenatal vitamins with folic acid and iron. Folic acid protects against neuro and spinal deformities. Folic acid is a B vitamin, which makes new cells, so it makes sense why so many OB/GYNs and healthcare professionals recommend it for expectant mothers; new cells for that new human! Even if you’re not pregnant, it’s a good idea to take 0.4 mg of folic acid every day. Since folic acid promotes new cell growth, it also promotes hair, skin and nail growth. Folic acid can be found in vitamins across numerous pharmacies as well as in fortified foods, such as some bread, breakfast cereals and corn masa flour.
Iron is just as important as folic acid. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases, meaning you need to make more blood. Iron promotes blood generation, which helps send oxygen to the fetus. An iron deficiency, or anemia, can heighten the chance of a premature birth. Moms-to-be should get 27 mg of iron per day, which can be found in prenatal vitamins or dark-leafy vegetables, beans and raspberries.
Food Groups to Focus on
A well-balanced diet will coincide with a well-balanced baby. Expectant mothers should make sure they’re hitting all necessary food groups: fruits & vegetables, protein, dairy and grains. Pregnant women need 70 mg of calcium per day. Oranges, grapefruits, brussel sprouts and broccoli are all great sources of this vitamin and they can be found at pretty much any grocery store. Eating two to four servings of fruits and veggies per day should do the trick.
Carbohydrates are necessary for the body to get energy for the day, although, keep in mind — everything in moderation. Breads and grains hold fiber, iron and Vitamin B, which are great at promoting growth and nutrition. Whole grains are the way to go, such as whole grain bread, quinoa and some cereals. Depending on your weight, moms should be eating six to eleven ounces of carbs per day.
Fetuses need plenty of protein, notably in the second and third trimesters. Protein carries iron and B vitamins that can be found in meat, poultry and eggs. It promotes organ and tissue growth for the fetus, and uterine tissue growth for mom. At least 70g to 100g of a lean protein source should be consumed each day; a good rule of thumb is to have a protein source at each meal.
We can’t forget about dairy. The calcium in dairy products helps the fetus grow strong and healthy bones and teeth. Pregnant women need 1,000 mg per day, ideally divided into two meals. Prenatal calcium vitamins are available at drugstores across the globe, but you can also get your intake from milk, yogurt (bonus points for the probiotics), cheese and dark leafy greens.
Importance of Hydration
Water is an essential part of everyday life whether you’re pregnant or not. However, it’s especially important when you’re with-child since it helps form amniotic fluid, which the fetus floats in during its stay in your uterus. It also flushes out toxins in your system, enhances digestion and helps build tissue as well as blood. If you’re carrying during the summer months, be sure to up your intake, but generally pregnant women should be drinking 64 to 96 ounces of water every day.
Staying healthy during pregnancy increases the likelihood of a smooth delivery and healthy newborn. Keeping a food diary and meal prepping is a great way to make sure you’re on the right track.