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Pregnancy Nutrition Guide: Vital Nutrients for a Woman Carrying a Child

pregnancy nutrition guide

Some lifestyle changes are mandatory when you find out a baby is on the way. The first thing that you must do is quit smoking and drinking. You also cannot go on with your pre-pregnancy diet. You need to eat for yourself and the baby in your womb. So, how can you ensure you meet the requirements of your body and your baby? As an experienced dietician, I have curated this pregnancy nutrition guide for would-be mothers like you. 

Pregnancy nutrition guide for expecting moms 

If you are pregnant, your doctor must have prescribed prenatal vitamins. You are also doing your best to stick to a balanced diet. You sleep soundly at night to help the baby grow. You do some light exercises to check excessive weight gain. If so, you are already a great mother. But what else can you do to keep pregnancy complications at bay? You must double the intake of essential nutrients during pregnancy

The most beneficial nutrients to include in a pregnancy diet plan

Pregnancy Nutrition Guide

Having a lot of food is easy. But you require a dietician to suggest the best foods for pregnant mothers. The food you consume must provide you with your daily dose of calcium, omega-3, phosphorus, and vitamin A. A pregnancy nutrition plan is also incomplete without foods containing zinc, choline, and folic acid. 

These minerals support the baby’s growth. They lower the risks of complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and anemia. So, what are the must-have nutrients your body requires during this phase? This pregnancy nutrition guide will tell you about the powerful minerals, their necessity, and the foods loaded with them. 

1. Calcium

Calcium is necessary for the development of your baby’s teeth and bones. What happens when your body doesn’t get adequate calcium? Your body will borrow calcium from your bones for the baby. It can lead to osteoporosis. 

Top calcium-rich foods

Salmon, kale, milk, cheese, broccoli, tofu, cheese, and sardines are incredible sources of calcium.

2. Copper 

Copper is a micronutrient needed for the growth, maintenance, and development of organ tissue, brain, bone, and heart. It will help create your baby’s immune system, skeletal system, heart, and blood vessels. 

Foods loaded with copper

Copper is present in sunflower seeds, prunes, crab, lentils, whole grains, black pepper, hazelnuts, and cashews.

3. Iodine 

A trace element, iodine plays a big role in boosting maternal health. This mineral is compulsory to develop the nervous system and brain of the fetus. Iodine deficiency in the mother can cause intellectual disability in the baby.

Food items containing iodine

You need at least 220 mcg of iodine regularly. Baked cod, milk, cheddar cheese, eggs, iodized salt, yogurt, tuna, and shrimp are some common sources. 

4. Choline 

Choline aids multiple physiological processes like the production of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain. It plays a key role in the making of phospholipids. Choline is mandatory for the development of your baby’s brain. It also reduces the chances of defects in the neural tube. 

Best sources of choline

You can have cauliflower, salmon, broccoli, lean beef, eggs, and chicken.

5. Folic acid 

Birth defects mostly develop in the first few weeks of becoming pregnant. So, increasing your intake of folic acid is of significance. You should have food rich in folic acid even when you are trying to get pregnant. 400-600 mg of folic acid per day is important when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Foods loaded with folic acid

Strawberries, kidney beans, beets, oranges, leafy greens, nuts, and breakfast cereals are some sources of folic acid.

6. Iron 

A balanced gestational diet includes iron-rich food for various reasons. There is a high demand for iron in the body of a pregnant lady. You will feel fatigued if your food doesn’t provide at least 27 mg of iron per day. The mineral also carries oxygen through the mom’s and baby’s bodies. 

Sources of iron

Edamame, chicken, kale, spinach, beans, beef, and eggs have iron in adequate quantities. 

7. Omega-3 fatty acids

Your body requires healthy fats to regulate blood pressure and fight inflammation. Omega-3 is a good fat for your baby as well. It takes care of the baby’s immune system, eyes, brain, and growing heart. Studies have even revealed that omega-3 can eliminate issues like low weight during birth and preterm birth. It helps a woman control mood swings and postpartum depression. 

What to eat to ensure your body gets ample omega-3?

Doctors recommend salmon, cod, tuna, crab, shrimp, eggs, sardines, flax seeds, arugula, walnuts, and anchovies.

8. Phosphorus 

A proper pregnancy food chart will have food loaded with phosphorus. It is useful for bodily functions like muscle movement, kidney function, and blood clotting. Cell repair and tissue repair are two other functions of this mineral. So, you must get 700mg of phosphorus daily during pregnancy.

Phosphorus-rich edibles

Eggs, peanuts, lentils, milk, almonds, salmon, and whole wheat bread are superb sources of phosphorus.

9. Protein 

Protein is mandatory for the construction of your little one’s body, face, and organs. So, have eggs, milk, beans, yogurt, nuts, and meat every day. 

10. Vitamins

Both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins are crucial during pregnancy. For instance, vitamin B1 assists in fetal brain development. Vitamins A, B, K, D, E, and C are all beneficial to have a healthy pregnancy. 

What to eat

Have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to get all types of vitamins.

Wrapping Up 

So, now you’ve learned about the key minerals needed and the pregnancy superfoods that contain them. You should still consult a certified nutritionist for a detailed trimester nutrition guide. A dietician will offer a personalized diet chart after considering your weight, overall health, food allergies, and other factors.

Frequently Asked Questions on Pregnancy Nutrition Guide 
Q: What essential nutrients are a must-have during pregnancy?

A: Vitamins A, B, C, E, K, and D, sodium, manganese, potassium, iodine, folic acid, copper, DHA, choline, and calcium are some essential nutrients during pregnancy

Q: Which foods should pregnant mothers strictly avoid?

A: Processed food, packaged food, raw or undercooked meat and fish, unpasteurized milk, sprouts, and soft cheese are some foods to avoid during pregnancy.

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