A healthy diet during pregnancy is very important for both the mother and her unborn child. We want to make sure you are eating the right food for you, your baby, and your body.
2. Nutrients needed by the fetus
As a pregnant woman, you may be thinking of what to eat during pregnancy. The healthiest food choices you can make are seen in the following table:
The information in this table is based on the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) nutrition recommendations for pregnancy which, in turn, are based on a study by the AACE which was published in the journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
As there is no scientific consensus on optimal nutrient intake for pregnant women, this table can be considered as an approximation. While it’s not really necessary for pregnant women to limit themselves to these foods, it is advisable that they should do so given that they have no scientific evidence to support their consumption (no human trials have been conducted demonstrating their nutritional superiority).
If you need more information about nutrients that might be provided via plant-based foods and supplements please see the Nutrient Reference Values column.
I’m not a doctor, but I can give you my best guess on what will help with your pregnancy and birth:
Fruit: At least one cup of fruit will help your body produce vitamin C, which is needed for strong bones (including calcium). It also helps with iron absorption and production; keeps your immune system activity; and helps fight infection. Vitamin C also helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels which are very important during pregnancy.
Vegetables: One cup of fresh vegetables consists mainly of leafy green veggies like lettuce or spinach. They provide folate (vitamin B9), potassium (keeps your heart healthy), vitamins A and C, vitamin K which is important for keeping bones strong – all-important during pregnancy – and fiber which will help keep blood sugar levels normal. Also helpful during pregnancy is an increased intake of bioflavonoids because they are thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect; these include red wine (which contains resveratrol) as well as broccoli sprouts, broccoli florets, or broccoli floret juice (which contains sulforaphane).
Oils: Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats that make it easy to digest while providing antioxidant benefits; olive tree oils like extra virgin olive oil contain oleic acid which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
3. Nutrients needed by the mother
There are a number of nutrients that a pregnant woman needs, and many are more essential than others. These nutrients include:
Calcium – This is the most important mineral for bone health. It is critical to maintaining strong bones, so prenatal vitamins should contain calcium and/or Vitamin D.
Iron – This mineral also plays a role in bone health, but it plays a much bigger role. Iron plays an important role in energy production and helps metabolize iron from food and medications (which can be hard to absorb in pregnancy). Iron deficiency during pregnancy can lead to anemia and high blood pressure, so prenatal vitamins should contain iron (and some will also contain Vitamin B6).
Niacin – This vitamin will help the baby develop a strong immune system. A healthy diet, such as lots of whole grain products, should have niacin in it for these reasons (even if you aren’t pregnant).
Folate – Folate is used for nerve tissue production and regulates hormones (including estrogen), so folate is essential for pregnancy as well as other times in life where estrogen levels need to be regulated or balanced with testosterone production (the typical male hormones).
Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 can help raise homocysteine levels; high homocysteine levels have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease in women during pregnancy (and heart disease being one of the leading causes of death during pregnancy). Vitamin B12 can also help with mood disorders, depression, anxiety, and insomnia; adding it to prenatal vitamins will help keep the nervous system healthy throughout your pregnancy!
4. Recommended diet
While the pros of nutrition during pregnancy are well known, there seems to be no consensus on what it is that makes a healthy diet.
There are a few key principles, however:
1) In general, women should eat no more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This means eating lean meats, eggs, and fish and avoiding high-protein foods like beans and grains.
2) Protein from plant sources is preferable to animal sources. Whole grains are preferable to refine starchy carbohydrates.
3) Processed foods should be avoided.
4) It’s best to avoid saturated fat products such as margarine or butter; these are particularly bad for pregnant or lactating women as they can promote uterine contractions.
5) Processed foods that don’t contain cholesterol should also be avoided due to the associated risks of blood clotting and heart disease.
6) Avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates is also important because these may contribute to weight gain during the pregnancy (along with caffeine).
7) A healthy diet during pregnancy means consuming minimally processed foods (no adding sugars), certain condiments (such as mustard), certain sauces (such as ketchup), certain starches (such as corn), certain herbs and spices (such as garlic), certain dressings (such as low-fat salad dressing), etc., which may form part of a healthy diet for most people in most situations in most countries in most countries in the world.
A wide range of clinical research supports each of these principles and provides solid evidence that a positive dietary approach leads to better maternal health outcomes than an unbalanced diet specifically designed for pregnant women – even when controlling for confounding factors such as age, ethnicity, income status, smoking habits, use of tobacco products, alcohol consumption, obesity/overweight status, etc.
The answers probably aren’t going to change overnight — but perhaps over time, we will find ways to encourage greater consumer insight into their own diets so that we can all make better choices together – not just those who get pregnant! (By the way: if you are more dysfunction problems, you try this Bluemen 100 and Bluemen 25 for dysfunction problems.)
Pregnancy is a time of intense focus and physical change for both women and the baby.
Pregnant women should eat a variety of healthy foods to maintain their health and well-being. The best sources of nutrients are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and other calcium-fortified foods.
Chocolate or caffeine-containing beverages should be minimized during pregnancy. Alcohol and fatty foods (pork, sausage, bacon) should also be avoided.