Pregnancy is a time in which nutrition is very important for the health of both mother and baby. Women who are pregnant are encouraged to eat a healthy diet with a variety of food groups. Certain vitamins are particularly important to promote a baby’s growth and development during pregnancy.
The following healthy diet is vital during pregnancy period.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are healthy choices for both mother and baby. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout pregnancy helps provide vitamins and minerals.
Dairy and calcium-rich foods
Both mother and baby need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps the circulatory, muscular, and nervous systems run normally. Dairy products are the richest source of calcium; many fruit juices and cereals are also fortified with calcium.
Protein is important for a baby’s growth, especially during the second and third trimesters. Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are good sources of protein. Other options include beans, tofu, dairy products, and peanut butter.
Breads and grains
Mothers should choose grains that are high in fiber and enriched such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice.
Iron is important for the body to make hemoglobin, a protein in the red blood cells that delivers oxygen to tissues. During pregnancy, a mother’s body needs additional iron to have enough oxygen for herself and her child. Good iron sources include lean red meat, poultry, and fish. Other sources include iron-fortified breakfast cereals, nuts, and dried fruit.
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, which are serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. Many cereals are fortified with folic acid. Other sources include dark-green leafy vegetables and beans.
Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, honeydew, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, green peppers, tomatoes, and mustard greens.
Vitamin D helps build a baby’s bones and teeth. Good sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna as well as fortified milk or juice.