The joy of bringing a new life into the world is something to be treasured. However, pregnancy can be tricky, so eating the right foods is essential for both mum and the unborn child. This is especially difficult during the first trimester when morning sickness leads to food aversion. Then there are those unusual food cravings that expectant mothers go through, which may be counter productive to a healthy diet plan.
You are eating for two when you are pregnant, and the health of you and your baby is paramount. Without the right nutrients, your child may suffer from developmental problems while in the womb. You will also need to keep yourself fit and strong by eating the right foods. In this article, we will give you some valuable eating advice to see you through your pregnancy, ensuring the optimal health for you and your child.
Dealing with morning sickness
Most women feel nauseous during the first 12-14 weeks of pregnancy. This is normal, and nothing to worry about. Read here for the causes of morning sickness to help you better understand what your body is going through. First-time mums are particularly prone to feeling nauseous, and age can also be a factor. Generally, women under 20 are more likely to suffer the symptoms that lead to nausea and vomiting.
We recommend you try these essential oils for nausea that will help relieve those uncomfortable feelings in your belly. Then focus on the times in the day when you are feeling well. Most women feel worse first thing in the morning, so capitalize on those times when you do have an appetite by stocking up your pantry with healthy food options.
Low blood sugar is a cause of nausea, so even during the times you feel sick, you should still try and eat something. Focus on eating light snacks that won’t cause havoc to your stomach, and drink plenty of water to aid digestion and keep you hydrated. Morning sickness will eventually disappear after around three months, so don’t worry about suffering throughout your pregnancy. Be sure to focus on the important nutrients your body needs, and you will reduce the risk of further health problems down the line.
Managing food cravings
There is no hard and fast rule as to why you go through unusual food cravings when pregnant, but some have suggested it may be because your body is lacking particular nutrients. Fancy pickled eggs and ice cream? You may be lacking calcium and potassium, but don’t expect your family to share this weird dessert concoction when you get up at 3 in the morning to feast on this unexpected delight!
There are certain foods you need to avoid during pregnancy, no matter how tempting they may be. Make sure you stock up your kitchen with foods you enjoy and that are good for you, so when your cravings hit, you have no alternative but to go with the healthy options.
What can you eat?
We all need to eat a balanced diet, but the following foods are particularly helpful during the pregnancy.
Your growing baby needs calcium, so any dairy product is useful. However, Greek yogurts contain more calcium than other dairy products and are recommended for anybody who is lactose intolerant.
Plant based foods such as lentils and beans contain fiber, iron, folate, protein, and calcium, which are all essential for a healthy pregnancy. Folate is particularly important for the health of the fetus during the first trimester, as it can prevent congenital disabilities within the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Insufficient folate may also lead to diseases later in life, so vegetable averse mums should consider folic acid or the B-9 vitamin to supplement their diet.
Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene which is an essential source of vitamin A to ensure a healthy fetus. They also contain fiber which reduces blood sugar and improves the digestive system during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are advised to cut down on seafood products because of the high level of mercury and contaminants present in some fatty fish. However, these foods shouldn’t be ruled out altogether as they contain the omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for a healthy pregnancy. Eating salmon two or three times a week is recommended because it is rich in omega-3, and is also a natural source of vitamin D which optimizes bone health within the growing child.
Your mother probably always told you greens were good for your body, and they are particularly essential during pregnancy. Broccoli and leafy greens such as spinach and kale contain many of the nutrients and vitamins pregnant mums need. They are also high in antioxidants which can aid digestion and enhance the immune system.
Many consider eggs as being the ultimate in health foods as they contain nearly every nutrient the body needs. Choline is particularly important, as this valuable nutrient is essential for healthy brain development. While you should probably avoid eating too many fried eggs, there are many other recipes you can try, especially when pregnant.
Vegetarians will need to take iron and vitamin supplements if they take meat out of their diets. However, for the carnivores among you, pork is especially good for you as it contains iron, choline, and B-vitamins which are important nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Iron is particularly useful, as iron deficiency causes anemia which increases the risk of a premature delivery. Those with an aversion to meat should double their intake of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C as they also contain high levels of iron.
It is easy to become dehydrated during pregnancy, so water is essential for the exhausted mum to be. Drinking plenty of fluids will also relieve constipation and narrow the risk of getting a urinary tract infection, which is common during pregnancy.
Finally, always seek advice from medical professionals during pregnancy. We have offered you some simple eating guidelines, but you should speak to those more qualified, especially when you have particular dietary needs.
*a collaborative post