By: Katrina Rice
For many women who are expecting a child, there is always this pressure to enjoy a perfect pregnancy by having the best prenatal diet. This concept of perfection gives a sense of accomplishment that they have provided the best possible nourishment for their unborn baby.
But with so many conflicting information out there, how do you know which is the best prenatal nourishment?
The Key To A Proper Prenatal Condition is Nutrient Variety
Doctors will always prescribe prenatal vitamins. What you have to do in addition to taking them is know what foods are low calorie and nutrient dense. The rule of thumb is keeping fresh ingredients that come in a variety of colors. Here is a list of nutrient-dense foods that every pregnant women should eat more of:
- Dark and leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus – Folate prevents neural tube defects and develops the brain and spinal cord
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy – Calcium supports strong bones
- Non-GMO sunflower seeds, lecithin, chicken eggs, caviar – Choline supports fetal brain development and neural tube defects
- Wild caught oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines – DHA is essential for the baby’s brain formation, eyes, skin and nervous system
- Baked potatoes, sea vegetables, cod, and shrimp – Iodine is essential for the baby’s metabolism
- Liver, red meat, molasses – Iron supports the placenta for the fetus’s need of oxygen
- Avocados, brown rice and leafy greens – Magnesium wards off restless leg syndrome and muscle cramping
- Kiwis, tomatoes and green peppers – Vitamin C keeps your bag of water strong
- Coconut oil, olive oil, seeds, butter and nuts – Healthy Fats – help regulate blood pressure and prevent blood clot
The above foods are some of the most popular sources of the nutrients every pregnant woman and developing baby needs. But becoming pregnant also means you need to quit or refrain on eating some other foods too. Unlike the above list, one important note to remember on what not to eat is to stay away from anything that is raw or not fully cooked. These include:
- Raw eggs and meat – puts you at risk of salmonella or e-coli
- Deli meats – they are known to contain listeria which penetrates the placenta and cause miscarriage
- Raw fish or sushi – sushi may contain seawater parasites or mercury
- Raw shellfish – may contain algae-related infections
Weight is crucial during pregnancy. It is also best to cut back on sugar and salt to prevent weight gain and edema. Instead, use spices like turmeric, cayenne, chili powder or cinnamon to flavor your food.
If you are taking turmeric curcumin to supplement your body’s need in antioxidants, it is suggested to source them somewhere else. As there are no identifiable side effects of it on pregnant women yet, it is best to halt them for now.
But if you want to know more by reading testimonials and reviews about it, you can find them at websites where you can buy turmeric curcumin. What you can do in the meantime is eat more fruits like blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, or drink decaffeinated coffee or tea as they are the best sources of antioxidants during your pregnancy.
There are three important notes to remember when choosing your pregnancy diet:
1. You Are Not Eating For Two
It is an old adage that you are “eating for two” while pregnant. But eating twice as much calories is unhealthy and sometimes impossible to do. In fact, gaining too much weight while pregnant can affect your health due to the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Seeking your doctor’s advice would be the wisest decision if you are not sure.
Usually, they only tell you to eat an additional 300 to 400 calories per day in your first trimester. If you think about it, that is just like eating an additional healthy meal. On your second and third trimester, it is advisable that you only eat an extra 500 to 600 calories a day – keep in mind that these calories should only be sourced from nutritious foods.
2. You Will Have A Very Sensitive Palate
For moms who experience morning sickness, intense sense of smell and taste aversion, eating properly can be very challenging. It is estimated that nearly 75% of women experience nausea and increased senses during their pregnancy.
This makes it harder for them to eat healthy as normal smelling food would sometimes become malodorous to them. Often times, they end up eating foods that are not nutrient-dense like dry toast, pretzels, crackers and white bread.
3. You Are A Slave To Your Cravings
All moms and moms-to-be always have the best intentions with regards to their pregnancy diet. But somehow, most pregnant women end up craving for the weirdest food things.
If you have friends and family who have been through a pregnancy, you most likely have heard of cravings like watermelon, eggs, pickles, wantons, ice cream and many more. Pregnant women even crave for smelling other weird stuff like detergent, soil or menthol.
Though there are mixed opinions on what drives cravings of pregnant women, most medical researchers say that they are caused by what the body is lacking the most. For instance, the need to smell soil or clay is an indicator that the body is most likely deficient in iron. As long as the cravings are for healthy types of foods, it is best to listen to your body.
Typically, if you are carrying more than one child inside your womb, you need to eat more than what you should. At the end of the day, the best pregnancy diet is not calorie counting but knowing what nutrition your body and your baby needs.
Listen to what your body is looking for and try to satisfy every acceptable and nutritious cravings you have. Just as long as it does not harm your or your baby, go for it!
About The Writer:
Katrina Rice is a mom and a freelance writer. She strongly believes in the concept of holistic wellness through healthy and natural living, traveling and immersing one’s self in new activities. A self-proclaimed health enthusiast, she hopes to inspire more people to do the same.