If you want to be fit and healthy then making sure you eat lots of the right stuff and not too much of the wrong stuff is obviously important – this much we already know, but when you become pregnancy nutrition matters more than ever.
*This post is brought to you by Jonathon at Nature’s Best
Image Credit: Pregnant Tummy
Growing a new person is an incredible feat and it takes a lot of your body’s resources to do it right. In short, if you don’t get enough nutrition you can risk bad health, not just for you but also for your baby.
Don’t worry though, eating healthily isn’t all that hard as long as you know what you need. Here is a quick guide to the most essential vitamins and minerals and why you need them:
A Word On Calories
You’ve all heard the expression – eating for two – right? Whilst it is true that during pregnancy you need to eat more, most people over estimate how much more food is required. The reality is that growing a baby takes approximately 300 calories per day (citation)
If you already eat healthily, you can easily get your extra calories with a couple of glasses of milk, which also gives you an essential calcium boost. Watch your weight though, gaining weight too quickly could be a sign that you are eating too much.
Eating What You Need
Your challenge then is to get all the good stuff that you need, without overeating and gaining weight too fast. Eating too little is obviously a problem too, but if you make sure you get all the right vitamins you will probably consume enough calories without giving it much thought:
This little nutrient is important for the development of your baby’s brain and skeleton. These processes are some of the first when you become pregnant, so as soon as you find out that you are pregnant (or even sooner) it is worth getting some extra.
Many women choose to take a folic acid supplement, but you can also get plenty by eating dark green stuff like broccoli or spinach.
Did you know that during pregnancy the total volume of blood in your body can increase by up to 50% during your pregnancy (citation)? Amongst other things, this dilutes the iron in your blood, which is why iron deficiency is common.
Iron deficiency can cause premature birth in extreme cases, in addition though, getting plenty of iron will enable the baby to store plenty of iron – essential as he/she won’t get much iron in the first 6 months of life.
Calcium is essential for strong bones, and your baby obviously needs those, so now is the time to drink plenty of milk or leafy green veg (more spinach!) and again, take a supplement if you need to, but don’t use that as an excuse not to eat your greens!
The process of being pregnant draws your own calcium supply to grow the baby, so not getting enough can weaken your bones – you need strong bones during pregnancy and during the birth, so eat up.
Omega 3 & 6
Fatty acids are particularly important for the development of both brain and eyes, but since many women (quite rightly) avoid fish during pregnancy, a lack of omega 3 & 6 is common. You can still eat fish in moderation, but avoid fish that is high in mercury.
If you do want to avoid fish, nuts and nut oils or soy products are a great source of those fatty acids. Olive oil is good too, but cooking with it can decrease the nutritional value, so try drizzling it on a salad instead.
Living Healthily Matters
Well those are the most important ones, but don’t forget about all of the other vitamins too! The nutrients above are the ones that are most important due to the extra demands of being pregnancy, but eating a healthy balanced diet is always essential.
If you watch what you eat and try to make most of your calories come from nutrient rich sources, you should have a healthy and happy pregnancy and above all else, a happy & healthy baby!
Hi, my name is Jonathon. I am a nutrition expert & fitness fanatic, I work at NaturesBest.co.uk who sell vitamin supplements and other health products. Thanks for reading my post and good luck with your pregnancy!
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