Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy
A balanced diet with essential nutrients will be benefit for you and your baby. Find out the nutritional needs during pregnancy. Learn what to eat and what not to eat. Healthy varied diet is important in pregnancy. Most important nutrients are as follow:
a. Folic Acid
Folic acid is very essential for pregnant women. The adequate amount of folic acid in diet can reduce the risk of neural tube defects in baby. Intake of folic acid is important before getting pregnant and in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folic acid. Other sources of folates are beans and peas, some fruits like oranges etc.
Iron is an important nutrient and its important function is to make blood for pregnant woman and baby. If there is deficiency of iron in pregnant woman then she will feel tired, exhausted and will be anaemic. It can also lead towards complications in pregnancy. The newly born baby can be weighing too little at birth due to iron deficiency. Sources of iron are meat, chicken, fish, eggs, pulses, broccoli, spinach etc.
c. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a nutrient needed to absorb iron. Vitamin C can help in improving immunity of pregnant women. Sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits like oranges, tomatoes, juices made from fruits which are rich in Vitamin C, potatoes, green vegetables like spinach etc.
d. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is needed to keep bones healthy and provide the baby with enough Vitamin D for the first few months of their life. It also regulates amount of calcium and phosphate in body. Adequate amount of Vitamin D also keeps teeth healthy. Vitamin D deficiency can lead towards a disease in babies called “Rickets” which is a condition in which softening of bones occur in baby’s body. Best natural source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Other sources of Vitamin D are oily fish, egg yolks, milk, breakfast cereals etc.
Calcium is also vital for making baby’s bones and teeth. Sources of calcium are milk, cheese and yogurt etc. Make sure the intake of calcium by having milk as a drink, milkshakes, cheese in sandwich, cheese added to dishes like pizza etc.
f. Omega-3 and Omega-6
These are important for baby’s brain and eyes. Oily fish, white fish, some vegetable oils used in small amount in cooking contain these two nutrients. Other sources of fatty acids are meat, chicken, eggs, vegetables and cereals etc.
In a nutshell, to stay healthy during pregnancy, one should add the following to their diet:
Intake of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis is good to avoid problem of constipation.
Foods that contain carbohydrates like bread, rice, potatoes and oats etc should be consumed to get enough energy for baby.
Foods like meat, fish and eggs are very important and should be consumed because they contain proteins which is an important nutrient.
Fatty foods like ice-cream and chocolates should be taken in small quantity as these are unhealthy for baby and the mother.
Intake of milk and yogurt is essential because these are rich in calcium.
Green leafy vegetables, beans and peas etc are good source of folic acid and should be consumed during pregnancy.
All foods containing iron like fish, eggs, pulses and spinach are very healthy and good to avoid deficiency of blood in body.
Citrus fruits like oranges are good source of vitamin C. Fresh juices can be taken to get enough Vitamin C.
To keep bones healthy, Vitamin D rich foods should be consumed like milk, fish, breakfast cereals etc.
All the above mentioned foods are the nutritional needs during pregnancy and important in pregnancy. Pregnant women should have knowledge about variety of foods that can help them in maintaining their health as well as the baby’s health. The foods that are taken during pregnancy can have huge impacts on development and growth of baby so it is very important to make good food choices in pregnancy. If good food is taken by mother then the baby will also be healthy and active.