Pregnancy is not just about accommodating a developing fetus and delivering a baby at the scheduled time. You are responsible for protecting your baby from disease and death, right from the time it is in your womb. You also have the responsibility of nourishing it with the best possible foods available to you, as this nourishment will form the pillars of the physical, mental and emotional health of your baby.
Though intelligence and emotional quotients of an individual depend, to a significant extent, on genetic factors, the nutrition that he/she receives as a fetus play an important role in the development of the individual’s brain. Therefore, when pregnant, you should take care of nourishing your baby as well as yourself with the best nutrients possible. However, prior to implementing your own diet plan, you should consult a clinical dietician and your physician, who will design a customized pregnancy diet plan for you based on the specific dietary requirements of your body.
Diet Tips For Pregnant Women
Water is the most important component of one’s diet, and the same holds true when a person is pregnant. Water is important to keep your and your baby’s bodies hydrated to the optimum level to ensure proper transportation of the nutrients and other vital components in your and your baby’s bodies. Maintaining proper fluid balance is specifically important in the third trimester to prevent a condition called preterm labor.
Folic acid is one of the most important pregnancy nutrients. Rather, it is also prescribed as a prenatal vitamin in order to prepare you for supplying the embryo with this B vitamin, which is highly important for its healthy growth. Folic acid prevents birth defects, and ensures healthy spinal and brain development of the fetus.
According to medical journals, every woman of conceivable age and those in early pregnancy should have 400 mcg of folic acid daily, while those in their second and third trimesters require 600 mcg of folic acid. Breast feeding women need a daily intake of 500 mcg of folic acid. Spinach, breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid, lentils, great northern beans, lettuce, asparagus, turnip greens, legumes, peas and lentils are some of the foods that are folate-rich. The best way to make them completely nutritious is to bake or boil them.
Calcium is required by both you and your baby for maintaining the health of your bones. The mother needs it for strengthening her bones, which may have thinned down owing to the calcium demands made by the fetus from her diet. The baby on the other hand, requires calcium for development of new bones.
Apart from developing healthy bones, calcium is also required for protecting the mother from high blood pressure, and also to ensure the normal functioning of the muscles and bones. The daily requirement of calcium is about 1000 mg/ day. Dairy milk, cheese, yogurt, spinach, kale, collard greens, turnips and foods fortified with calcium are some of the best sources of dietary calcium. The vegetables are best consumed boiled, steamed or baked.
Iron is a normally vital nutritional component of non-pregnant persons, and it remains so in the case of pregnant women also. Iron is required to create the vital oxygen-carrier pigment hemoglobin, not only in your blood, but also the blood of your baby.
It is required for placental development and for preventing anemia in both you and your baby. Pregnant women need about 27 milligrams of iron per day. This can be obtained by eating iron-rich foods such as spinach, cooked beans, and tofu.
Last, but not the least, protein is a vital nutrient of your baby’s development. It is required for cellular growth and development, and also for the building up of organ systems of the body, including the brain. Protein is also required for muscle building. It is highly required during the last trimester when the brain development of your baby is at its peak.
Good proteins such as DHA reduce the risk of your acquiring post partum depression. Beans, tofu, edamame, soy pasta, seaweed, whole grain breads, and wheat germ are good sources of dietary proteins.
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