When you plan your diet for the pregnancy period, you should also take into account the needs of the baby. It is important to have a healthy diet always, but during pregnancy you need to eat some special foods because of the baby growing inside you.
This is because the baby will pull nutrients from your body for its own growth. In order to prevent deficiencies that can occur, you need to eat a variety of foods that help to provide your baby the best start in life.
Carbohydrates are essential for the growth of your baby. However, plain white rice and white bread do not have the nutrients that support the development of the fetus. Therefore, you must choose foods that have complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, brown rice, wheat bread, etc.
It is also a good idea to try some of the other whole grains, including buckwheat, rye, quinoa and barley, so as to provide a varied range of phytochemicals and nutrients for your baby. If you love to eat cereal for breakfast, you can consume those that are fortified with folic acid which helps to prevent birth defects like spina bifida.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce, collard and kale are also good sources of folic acid. They are also rich in iron and calcium which are essential for proper development of the bones and circulatory system of the baby growing inside you.
These food items contribute greatly to building overall health because they also contain phytochemicals or plant compounds. Green vegetables may be ingested in the cooked or raw form. It is a good idea to include a varied selection of other vegetables also along with these.
Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. They support the development of the brain and eyes of your baby. However, you must take care not to have fish that are highly contaminated with mercury.
This is because mercury contamination can affect the nervous system of the baby. According to Baby Center, pregnant women must avoid eating shark, king mackerel, tilefish and sword fish. In fact, mothers-to-be should plan to eat two servings or 12 oz. of herring, salmon, farm-raised rainbow trout, mackerel, whitefish or sardines.
Dairy products provide calcium and protein. Some dairy products come fortified with vitamin D. This helps the baby to effectively assimilate calcium. In addition to milk, you can also add yogurt and low-fat cheese to your pregnancy diet. If you can’t or don’t like to eat dairy products, you can go for soy milk or orange juice that are fortified with calcium.
Orange or Yellow Foods
Fruits and vegetables that are colored bright yellow or orange, typically, are rich sources of vitamin A as well as carotenoids. They specifically contain beta-carotene which helps the baby to develop good eyesight. Other vegetables that provide beta-carotene include winter squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. Fruits that have high levels of carotenoids as well as vitamin A include apricots and cantaloupe.