Nutrition during Pregnancy
The best thing a pregnant woman can do for her baby is to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet that incorporates foods from all food groups in appropriate amounts. This will ensure the body obtains all essential nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water) necessary for normal organ development and functioning. A well-balanced, high-quality diet also helps maintain healthy activity level, work efficiently and resist infection and disease.
A diet of a pregnant woman should include from 80 to 100 grams of protein, plus calories from all of the food groups, some salt (to taste), and water (to thirst). According to the World Health Organization a pregnant woman should eat at least 75 grams of protein a day obtained from various whole food sources. In general pregnant women need 2000 to 3000 calories a day to give birth to a healthy baby. The typical diet may consist of:
2 servings of green vegetables; 1 serving of a yellow vegetable
2 to 3 servings of meat, fish, nuts or legumes, and tofu
3 servings of fruit
3 servings of whole grain breads, cereals, or other high-complex carbohydrates
2 to 3 servings of dairy (milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese) salt to taste
6 to 8 glasses of clean, filtered water each day.
According to the research conducted by Harvard University eating at least 75 grams of protein per day during pregnancy helps prevent preeclampsia (metabolic toxemia of late pregnancy). Extra protein, as well as calcium, potassium and water are required to maintain the increased blood volume. Numerous studies also prove that the adequate level of calcium substantially decreases the incidence of preeclampsia while getting 400 micrograms of folic acid (a B vitamin) helps prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. A woman can get folic acid by eating whole grain breads, citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables.
Once junk food and excessive sweets (sugar) are excluded from the menu, or at least kept to a minimum, a pregnant woman is not likely to gain extra weight. A well-balanced diet will provide all of the necessary nutrients, supplying a woman and her baby with everything she needs.
Dairy products and eggs are great sources of calcium and protein. If you are a vegetarian, just try to eat plenty of soy products, beans and nuts. It is much harder for a vegetarian to obtain all the protein needed to increase your blood supply. Carbohydrates, bulk fiber, vitamins A, C, and B, calcium, iron, and magnesium are contained in dark green vegetables. It is preferable to eat these vegetables raw, but steamed or baked ones also contain a lot of nutrients. Consider eating plenty of citrus and berry fruits to get vitamin C; and cantaloupe, sweet potato, carrots and mango to get vitamin A. These two important vitamins are essential for fighting infection, enhancing the immune system, cell structure development and preventing placental detachment (abruption). Zinc also plays an important role in supporting the immune system of a pregnant woman as well as helps improve birth weight and fetal development.
Protein: chicken, fish, beef, pork, turkey, tofu, nuts, legumes (beans), milk, eggs, cottage cheese, whole grains, wheat gluten, soy cheese
Whole grains: brown rice, kasha (buckwheat groats), whole oats, whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, quinoa, wild rice, wheat gluten, wheat germ, whole wheat pastas
Green vegetables: spinach, dark green lettuces, broccoli, zucchini, kale, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, arugula, lambs lettuce
Fruits: kiwi fruit, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, mangos, cantaloupe, apples, pears, plums, nectarines, and peaches
Other good whole foods: baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, green peas, soy products, corn
Folic acid: spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens, lima beans, soybeans, organ meats, brewer’s yeast, root vegetables, whole grains, wheat germ, bulger wheat, kidney beans, white beans, salmon, orange juice, avocado, milk.
Iron: red meats, organ meats, eggs, fish poultry, blackstrap molasses, cherry juice, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits (raisins, apricots, etc.)
Zinc: seafood, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sunflower seeds, meats, turkey, organ meats, mushrooms, brewer’s yeast, soybeans, eggs, wheat germ.
Midwife can develop a well-balanced, high-quality diet for you so that you could make sure you get all the necessary nutrients from all food groups in the right amounts. Midwife in Orange County is the Best Midwife you could hope for!
Please call or text (808) 896-2629 for a 45-minute free consultation.