Every woman, especially the pregnant women, needs to know that everything that she eats and drinks during her pregnancy is her baby’s source of nourishment. Which means that this is the period that every woman needs to watch what she eats more than ever. And experts recommend that expectant mothers need to choose from a variety of healthy foods and drinks that will provide the best nutrients for the baby’s growth and development.
Here are some key foods and drinks that pregnant women need to include in their diets and the reasons why they are important for the pregnant women.
1. Folic acid
Mostly known as folate, folic acid is a B vitamin which is crucial for preventing birth defects in the baby’s spinal cord and brain, also known as neural tube defects. Pregnant women might find it hard knowing the exact amount of folic acid to take in their diet, which is why the March of Dimes, a company dedicated to preventing birth defects, explains that women who want to have a baby and are trying need to take a daily vitamin supplement that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid every day for about a month before getting pregnant. And during pregnancy, it is advisable that the women increase that amount to 600 micrograms per day.
Some of the food sources of folic acid include; bread and pasta, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, fortified or enriched cereals, etc.
Calcium is the mineral that is going to build the baby’s bones and teeth, which is why it is extremely vital that every pregnant woman introduces enough calcium in her diet. If a pregnant woman doesn’t take enough calcium in her diet, then the mineral will be extracted from the woman’s stores; her bones and given to the baby so as to meet the extra pregnancy demands of the baby.
Food sources or calcium includes; milk, cheese, yogurt, salmon or sardines with bones, some leafy greens like bok Choy and kale, and calcium-fortified foods and juices.
Iron is the mineral which will stimulate the production of more blood, which will supply oxygen to the baby. Pregnant women need about 27 milligrams of iron daily which is almost double of what is needed by the women who aren’t expecting. If you don’t take enough iron during pregnancy, then complications and diseases like anemia can kick in and other risks of infections to both the mother and baby.
Foods rich in iron include; meat, fish, poultry, iron-fortified cereals, dried beans, and peas, etc.
More protein is also needed for the pregnant women. But you find that finding and including foods rich in protein in their diets hasn’t ever been a problem. Protein is the ‘builder nutrient’ as it will help to build the baby’s organs like heart and brain.
5. Fruits and vegetables
It is vital that pregnant women take more fruits and vegetables in their diet. These foods are low in calories and are also filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber which are all beneficial for normal baby grows in the womb.
6. Whole grains
Whole grains in the diet will help provide both the growing baby and mother with the energy needed throughout the time the baby will be growing in the mother’s womb. They are also rich in B- vitamins, iron, and fiber. Some of the whole grain foods can include oatmeal, bread, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta.
Pregnant women need between 3 and 4 dairy servings every day. Foods like yogurt, milk, and cheese are good dairy products and are also rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein.