During pregnancy, it is important that healthy eating will ensure your body receives all the nutrients it needs for you and your baby. The ultimate pregnancy nutrition guide is here to help you establish good healthy eating habits and what every mom should know about healthy eating (do’s and don’ts).
For a normal person, healthy eating is always associated with achieving weight loss. For the mom-to-be, it is not the time for losing weight. Pregnant women need about 2200-2500 calories a day, about 300 – 350 more calories a day compared to other women. An expecting mom’s diet is important as the baby depends on a maternal diet to grow and gain weight. Healthy eating should cover a wide range of foods. If you are used to being a picky eater, only choosing a certain type of favorite food, you shall be prepared to alter your diet once you are pregnant.
Eating for two? Adding extra 300-350 calories a day does not mean you are eating two portions at a time. Eating well is more like it.
Pregnancy Nutrition Guide
What and how much should you eat to be healthy during pregnancy? Depends on your activity level and normal weight. Your weight gain is a good guide to tell you how well you are managing your caloric intake. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the amount of weight gain during pregnancy is a guide for a healthy pregnancy and the long-term health of the mother and the baby. Here is the recommended weight gain based on your BMI.
|BMI before pregnant||Weight gain, kg |
( 1 baby)
|Weight gain, kg |
( < 18.5)
|13 – 18||23 – 28|
( 18.5 – 24.9)
|11 – 16||17 – 24|
(25 – 29.9)
|7 – 11||14 – 23|
|5 – 9||11 – 19|
If you gain less weight, you are probably will give birth to a small baby. Babies who are born too small will have difficulty starting breastfeeding, and they are more prone to illnesses and some may face delays in development.
If you gain too much weight, you are probably will give birth to a big size baby you will likely at a higher risk of having pregnancy complications and end up in C-section delivery. You will also find it hard to lose pregnancy weight after postpartum.
It is best to trace our weight gain at the beginning and regularly throughout the pregnancy period. Some women may experience morning sickness and loss of appetite in their early pregnancy, experts said we do not need extra calories during the first 3 months. During the second and third trimesters, extra 350-400 calories a day is enough. Ideally, yes we need to count our calories for each meal we take. How do we calculate our calories intake? It is so tedious to count our calories intake every day. Therefore, tracing our weight gain is a good guide.
Here are some tips on important nutrients that your body needs during pregnancy. Your daily meal shall include the following:
The folic acid supplement is a must. Even it is recommended to be taken 3 months before you plan to get pregnant. The daily folic acid intake shall not be less than 5mg. Folic acid is important for the synthesis of all cells and the production of DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells. Lack of folic acid can cause abnormal development of red blood cells in the mother which can cause neural tube defects in the fetus. Besides, taking the folic acid supplement, you may choose a diet that are good sources of folic acid such as beef, legumes, egg yolks, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Proteins are the building blocks of the human body and it is important for a baby’s growth during pregnancy. Meat, fish, eggs, and poultry are good sources of animal proteins that will ensure the healthy development of your baby. You may also choose some plant-based proteins such as tofu, soy milk, quinoa, oats, lentils, green peas, and chickpeas.
Iron is an important nutrient for the formation of maternal and fetal hemoglobin in red blood cells. Blood volume increases because you will provide more blood to support the baby’s growth, therefore, the need for iron also increases. Taking an iron supplement will be recommended by your doctor as you may not be able to get all the iron needed from your daily food intake.
Iron supplements are best absorbed if taken foods rich in vitamin C such as orange, lemon, kiwi, etc. Avoid taking iron supplements with high calcium foods, such as milk and cheese, iron absorption will be much less. Always consult your doctor before you get any supplements during pregnancy.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for the development and growth of a baby’s skeleton, heart, muscles, and tooth buds. Milk and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese are the best source of dietary calcium. If you can’t take animal milk, you can go for soy milk or else take a calcium supplement as recommended by your doctor.
Read on to find out lists of the best foods to eat while pregnant.
Some women may have food cravings for certain food they do not normally like and it is really hard to resist. There is always a way to overcome, diversification and moderation are the keys. Include a wide range of food in your diet, reinvent the recipe and replace some of the devil foods with another healthy alternative. Be a little adventurous to get foods that you are not normally like. You may not like it before but who knows, you may like it now.
If you crave high sugar, high salt, and high-fat foods, it is usually no harm if you eat in moderation. You can always look for healthy options. Here is what you should know about pregnancy food cravings, is it harmful?
A pregnant woman is responsible to eat well to ensure a smooth and successful pregnancy. Eating the wrong foods will cause more harm than good. Here are my top 10 foods not to eat while pregnant.
Here are the tips for healthy eating during pregnancy:
- Take freshly cook foods instead of processed or canned food
- Eat variety of foods
- Do not overcook or undercook your food, no raw food such as sashimi.
- Do not simply buy over-the-counter vitamins without consulting your doctor first
- Monitor sugar, salt and fat intake.
- Eat less and more frequent meals to avoid overeating.
- Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water or fluid
- Avoid taking any herbal tea that is not recommended by health professional. Some herbal teas are natural but they may not be safe for pregnant women.
A good healthy diet must always go with a healthy lifestyle; smoking, alcohol, or taking drugs during your pregnancy is a big NO-NO. Pregnant women also are encouraged to do some simple exercises to keep their bodies fit and healthy.
Morning sickness is a natural occurring feeling of nausea, that may happen at any time of the day during early pregnancy. Almost 80% of pregnant women will experience morning sickness. Some women may not experience it at all. Some women may have slight nausea. Some may experience more severe symptoms like actual vomiting and not feeling well enough to consume anything (afraid of throwing up) that could cause some weight loss.
No matter how serious your symptoms are, it will not cause any harm to the baby. In a study, morning sickness is associated with a healthy pregnancy and a lower rate of pregnancy loss. If the morning sickness has already affected your daily activity and you have the concern of not eating enough for the baby, consult your doctor immediately.
Here are some remedies to help alleviate morning sickness. Taking vitamins that contain vitamin B6, and eating foods that are rich in vitamin B can help to reduce the severity. Find out more remedies you can try here :
Pregnancy and constipation
One of the causes of prenatal constipation is insufficient intake of water or fluids. Drink plenty of water, at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you find it difficult to take just plain water, you may add some slices of fruits into the water jar or water bottle.
Besides staying well hydrated, you may add more fiber to your daily diet. Taking high-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables will help you solve constipation issues. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of important micronutrients for your growing baby.