February 16, 2017

Eating Healthy for a Healthy Pregnancy

Not sure what to eat while pregnant? Here’s what you can munch on for the next nine months.

As a mom-to-be, your food choices are crucial to the life flourishing in your womb. And as each trimester passes, you must know what’s best to eat and how your diet affects your health and that of your baby. There is really no hard and fast rule as to what to eat during each trimester. What’s important is that you get the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients you need.

Expecting mothers often think they have to eat for two people; this belief is actually incorrect. You only need an additional 300 calories for your own nourishment as well as your baby’s. Total caloric requirement must be computed based on the desirable body weight and activity level. Once this is determined, your Ob-Gyne or dietician can set a diet that includes the appropriate portions from the different food groups.

Folate: the First term factor

It is during the first term when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are most delicate. By eating food high in folate, you can prevent neural tube defects in your baby’s spinal cord as well as any malformations in his brain. Liver, fresh pork, citrus fruits, peanuts, spinach, broccoli, and cantaloupe are good sources of folate.

It’s also best for you to eat more food rich in protein and carbohydrates the moment you find out you’re pregnant. Meat and poultry, fish like tuna or salmon, cheese, legumes, nuts, eggs, milk, and grains are good sources of protein. Rice and its alternative like bread, pasta, and root crops are your other options.

Sometimes, a pregnant woman doesn’t eat much because of emotional changes during this period. It’s okay to indulge in your craving, whether its pistachio ice cream or sauerkrauts but you must also have the right first-term foods, along with a good exercise routine. Ask your Ob-Gyne or dietician for the proper amount of protein and carbohydrate you need, and also inquire if you need to take a folic acid supplement.

Sizing: the second term

The pregnant woman starts having a heartier appetite by the second trimester. It is also during this term when your baby starts to really grow as his heart, skeleton, and muscles develop at a rapid rate. When your circulatory system is running smoothly, your baby is getting an ample supply of oxygen. This means that he’s receiving all those vitamins and minerals you’ve been having.

Iron plays a significant role during the second trimester, and you may get this from dark green leafy vegetables. Egg yolks, prunes and prune juice, whole grains, red meat, peas, and beans are other better alternatives.

Women are advised to take iron supplements but with their doctor’s advice. To get the full benefit of these supplements, take them while eating vitamin C-enriched foods like tomatoes, oranges, or grapefruits.

The Last Stretch

Whatever it is you have been doing since the first term, keep it up! It’s the final stretch for you and your baby, so maintain your healthy diet with the recommended serving sizes. Drink at least eight to 10 glasses a day. Skip coffee and soda. You need the extra fluids to keep you hydrated. To avoid constipation, make sure you have a good dose of fiber in your diet.

If you’re concerned about not being able to breastfeed, eating your diet during the final trimester can help. Eating vegetables that are readily available in your supermarket and these must be started at least two weeks before giving birth to stimulate milk production. Getting adequate hours of sleep and rest also helps during this period.

It’s important to have a little extra of those vitamins and minerals, but before you plan your daily meals, check the guidelines given by your Ob-Gyne or your dietician first. After nine months of eating and exercising right, you’re sure to be blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby.

Michael Scottsdale is a health author who is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. When he’s not outside exercising, he studies a lot about health and nutrition, which runs the gamut from sleep apnea treatment to pregnancy.


  1. depakote birth defects says:

    Nice information about healthy eating during pregnancy. It’s good to see that you also mentioned folate as a way to prevent birth defects. During pregnancy, one should not take any anti-depressant drugs like paxil, effexor, zoloft, depakote, etc. as they can also lead to certain birth defects.

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