What should you eat during pregnancy? List of products
Definitely, much is being said about what you cannot eat when you are pregnant. But what can you actually eat to positively influence the development of your baby?
There is plenty of nutritional advice available, concerning a healthy diet of the future mum. If you want to know what you should eat during pregnancy, this entry is just for you! You will find here a wealth of useful tips for women planning pregnancy or currently going through this fantastic and extraordinary time.
Nutrition rules for women during pregnancy
Twice as much or for two...? In fact, how we should eat during pregnancy...? Although many future mums think that now they should eat much more than before pregnancy, actually, it is not recommended! You should follow the diet that is as healthy and as balanced as possible. After all, you eat not only for yourself, but also for your baby!
A diet of a pregnant woman should be correctly balanced.
Before we describe groups of products that should be eaten during pregnancy, we will start with a general rule that concerns not only future mums, but every person. After all, healthy eating should be a standard, and not an “episode” in the life of a pregnant and/or breastfeeding woman!
The well-balanced diet is fundamental! Do you know what this means? Your menu should include all nutrients at required proportions. Of course, if occasionally you eat something commonly considered unhealthy or not very valuable, you do not have to feel bad about it. Moderation is the key! And this applies not only to quality, but also to quantity of food.
How much should you eat during pregnancy?
Do you know how many calories you should eat during pregnancy?
In the first pregnancy trimester, the daily energy demand does not increase, and you should eat as much as usually - of course, taking into account the level of your activity and current weight.
In the second pregnancy trimester, your demand increases by 360 kcal.
In the third pregnancy trimester, you may eat even 475 kcal more.
In other words, during pregnancy, the energy demand does not increase immediately in the first pregnancy weeks. This is why it is so important to provide yourself, and thus, the baby, only with the best things! This strategy will definitely pay back!
Your diet must include these vitamins and minerals!
You do not know what you should you eat during pregnancy? See which minerals and vitamins must be included in the diet of every pregnant woman!
Are you wondering which vitamins and minerals are necessary for the future mum? Certainly, you immediately think about folic acid, that is, vitamin B9. Its greatest quantities are found in chickpea, spinach, Brussels sprouts, or lettuce. Furthermore, you will definitely find it in nearly all vitamin complexes designated for pregnant women.
The folic acid name derives from the Latin word ‘folium’, meaning a leaf, because leaf vegetables are the main source of this vitamin.
Although folic acid is generally recognised as a ‘vitamin for pregnant women’, actually, every person needs it. It plays a crucial role in many metabolic processes, prevents anaemia, supports nervous system functions, and controls cell growth. It is the folic acid that is mainly responsible for a normal foetal development.
It should be taken even before you start trying for a baby. However, if your pregnancy was unplanned, one of the first thing you need to do after seeing two bands on the pregnancy test is to buy vitamin B9 and start taking it. In fact, it is not an option, but a necessity!
Another extremely important component a woman needs during pregnancy are DHAs. They are mainly responsible for normal development of your baby’s sight and brain.
Furthermore, DHA fatty acids protect against premature birth and contribute to normal baby’s height. Their numerous effects also include prevention of type 1 diabetes and depression, and a reduction in a risk of developing allergy or asthma.
They should be supplemented throughout pregnancy - especially, when your diet does not include sufficient quantities of fish and seafood. You should discuss DHAs dosing with the doctor looking after you during pregnancy, who will select an appropriate dose after interviewing you.
You should remember that although fish and seafood are healthy, they should not be eaten without thermal processing! Raw fish and seafood may cause development of listeriosis, a bacterial disease that is very dangerous for the future mum and her baby.
Did you know that regardless of their health status, even 90% of Poles have vitamin D deficiency? This data speaks for itself - supplementation of this vitamin is necessary, especially during pregnancy!
Vitamin D facilitates absorption of calcium and phosphates, compounds crucial for development of teeth and bones. The great majority of people should supplement it all year long, also during pregnancy. Your gynaecologist will definitely tell you the required dose.
Vitamin А is another vitamin that is very important for women during pregnancy. It has antioxidant properties, improves immunity (both of the future mum and of her baby), as well as has a positive effect on development of teeth, bones, and nails.
You should remember that the demand for vitamin A increases not only during pregnancy, but it is also (even) higher during breastfeeding. Apart from supplementing it, you should eat butter, eggs, dairy products, or oily fish, which contain the greatest quantities of this compound.
Similarly as vitamin A, vitamin E also improves immunity, as well as strengthens blood vessels and has an advantageous effect on baby’s sight.
Large quantities of vitamin E can be found mainly in olive oil, hazelnuts, almonds, and sunflower oil.
A normal thyroid function is of great importance - especially during pregnancy. During that period, thyroxine production increases even by about 50%, so the iodine supplementation is necessary.
Iodine plays a very important role in maintaining a proper hormonal balance. It also has a vital function in development of the central nervous system of your baby. Iodine deficiencies during pregnancy are associated with a risk of developmental delays and neurological disorders in a newborn baby.
The daily diet of a pregnant woman probably will not supply you with the required quantities of iodine. Therefore, this compound needs to be supplemented (consult the dose with your gynaecologist).
This element minimises a risk of preeclampsia and premature birth. Additionally, it supports a normal development of the foetal skeletal system. To ensure its maximum absorption from food, it should be combined with calcium or vitamin B6.
The greatest quantities of magnesium can be found in dark chocolate, cocoa, pumpkin seeds, dry fruit, and some fish (e.g., salmon or mackerel).
Iron is required for production of haemoglobin, the main component of erythrocytes. Its insufficient quantities in the body lead to anaemia, weakness, and headaches in the future mum, and in the unborn baby. Iron also influences the condition of hair, skin, and nails, as well as strengthens immunity.
The greatest quantities of iron can be found, among others, in animal products - red meat, poultry, and fish. You can increase iron absorption by simultaneously supplying your body with group B vitamins, vitamin C, and folic acid. This is one of the reasons for implementing a balanced diet. Iron absorption is reduced mainly by caffeine and tannin.
Calcium means healthy bones - does this association spring also to your mind? Supplementing calcium deficiencies is extremely important in pregnant women. During this time, the baby uses all ‘resources’ of its mum. Thus, the pregnant woman should pay a particular attention to ensuring her diet is rich in calcium, to have healthy bones and protect her teeth against caries.
Large quantities of calcium can be found, in particular, in dairy products, eggs, fish and many vegetables (including broccoli, string beans, and beetroot).
Zinc is one of the most frequently overlooked minerals, but it influences nearly all crucial processes of life. It contributes to healing of wounds, participates in mineralisation of bones, and has a positive influence on the immunity. Its deficiency during pregnancy may lead to a risk of premature birth, preeclampsia, development defects and low birth weight of your baby.
The greatest quantities of zinc can be found in meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, and seeds, as well as dark bread. If you want to ensure the highest possible absorption of zinc, it should be combined with proteins of animal origin.
See what you should eat during pregnancy!
Now you know which vitamins and minerals must be included in a diet of a pregnant woman, so it is time to provide you with a list of specific products!
A future mum really needs complex carbohydrates. The diet of the pregnant woman must therefore include products such as wholemeal bread, groats, and brown rice.
Are you wondering what you should eat for breakfast or supper when you are pregnant? Muesli, oatmeal, or spelt groats with milk or yoghurt are always a good idea for a valuable meal!
Healthy vegetable fats, and in particular, olive oil and vegetable (e.g., rapeseed) oils, should form a part of a diet of every person. They are valuable, and supply necessary nutrients.
Some future mums mistakenly think that they should not eat any fats during pregnancy. However, fats are not only important, but actually an essential component of a healthy diet.
Fruit and vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables are crucial components of a daily diet. These natural and unprocessed products support baby’s development, and have an advantageous effect on the body of the future mum.
Nearly every fruit and vegetable has a number of valuable properties. while bananas, beetroot, avocado, garlic, spinach, plums and tomatoes are among those particularly recommended to pregnant women.
Although they are rich in minerals, such as magnesium, iron, or zinc, nuts are frequently avoided by pregnant women. This is associated with the fact that they are a strong allergen and future mums are afraid of adverse reactions that may occur after their consumption.
Walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia, or cashew nuts... Eat them regularly (in moderate quantities) and stay healthy during pregnancy!
Cooked meat, fish and eggs
Meat, fish, or eggs are a valuable source of proteins. They are essential for future mums, to supply them with necessary nutrients with their daily diet. Remember, you should always eat them after thermal processing! Otherwise, there is a risk of microbiological infections.
Milk and dairy products
Similarly as meat, fish, or eggs, milk and dairy products also play a crucial role in a diet of the future mum. They contain many vitamins and minerals required for foetal development and health of a pregnant woman.
If you drink milk, always choose pasteurised one and/or subject it to thermal processing. Drinking raw milk can be risky, both for you and for your baby.
You must avoid these products when you are pregnant!
We hope that now you know what you should eat during pregnancy, and which vitamins and minerals are essential in a diet of the pregnant woman.
But what should you avoid? What is forbidden? There are several groups of products that you must avoid completely. And there are some which intake you should restrict. You can read about them below!
Diet during pregnancy - forbidden products
Let's begin with products that are forbidden. The diet of pregnant women should not include unpasteurised milk and its products (including mould-ripened cheeses or oscypki (sheep milk cheese)), raw meat, fish, eggs and seafood, as well as unwashed vegetables and fruit.
If you break this rule and eat any of the products listed above, you may harm not only yourself but, in particular, your baby. So it is worth waiting until your baby is born, and then you can enjoy their taste to the fullest!
Diet during pregnancy - products to be limited
Although, objectively, highly processed products are unhealthy and do not have any significant nutritional value, it does not mean you need to completely eliminate them from your diet when you are pregnant.
So-called pregnancy cravings are governed by their own rules, and when sometimes you feel like you simply must eat something less healthy, then just do it! After all, the healthy diet is understood mainly as a well-balanced one. It does not mean it cannot include so-called recreational products. Of course, when you are pregnant the best thing is to eat only healthy products. But let's be honest - we do not think there is a person who would not allow themselves making occasional concessions!
Healthy diet is fundamental!
A healthy and correct diet is crucial at each stage of pregnancy. Already in first weeks of pregnancy you should pay attention to what you eat. However, the diet of pregnant women is not very restrictive, and despite some limitations, you actually can choose from an extensive range of options.
From the beginning of the pregnancy, follow a healthy diet and arrange your meals so they contain all essential vitamins and minerals. Eat regularly, choose proven products of high quality, and avoid highly processed food.
Install a pregnancy application and have access to dietary recommendations for pregnant women!
Do you still prefer checking things immediately when you have any doubts, although in theory you know what you should eat during pregnancy? To have access to current nutritional recommendations for pregnant women at all times, install HiMommy, a good pregnancy application , and use its knowledge base!
HiMommy contains a wealth of valuable information on development of pregnancy and your baby, including nutritional recommendations for future mums. They will definitely facilitate for you arranging well-balanced meals and supplying your body with everything it needs!