Importance of Healthy Nutrition During Pregnancy

bowl of vegetable salads

When pregnant, it isn’t necessarily a license to “eat for two” and double the portion of every meal. It is however, a call to awareness of what you are putting in your body and how it will affect the future of your child. Rather than doubling the caloric intake through pregnancy, pregnant women, in reality, only need about 300 extra calories per day.

Pregnancy Nutrition is Important in Formation of Baby

Pregnant women need to keep in mind that the calories they do consume are incredibly important. Limit the intake of highly processed food; rather, aim to consume nutrient dense foods that will provide adequate nutrition and vitamins for both yourself and your baby. Getting the nutrients that both you and your baby need from healthy food sources is the most important aspect of eating to keep in mind when considering good nutrition during pregnancy.

The extra calories consumed during pregnancy allows for the healthy nutrition that the baby needs to form and grow during pregnancy. Those calories should be from healthy, whole food sources rather than from sweets, processed foods, or empty calories. The majority of calories should come from protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.

Eat A Variety of Foods Throughout Pregnancy

As the pregnancy progresses it is important to eat throughout the day rather than consume three large meals. Three small meals with two snacks mixed into the day should be small enough to prevent heartburn but still give enough food and nutrition to keep a pregnant stomach full and satisfied throughout the day.

Try to build meals around a protein source. Those could include eggs, peanut butter, poultry, tofu, or red meat, among other sources. Protein is vital to your baby’s growth as it provides nutrients needed to nourish the placenta, forms the basic building blocks of life, and also aids in the increased blood flow that happens in a pregnant woman’s body during pregnancy.

As you eat throughout the day, keep a mental checklist of foods previously consumed. Leafy greens are important to get a serving of each day as they are a great source of folic acid, as well as other nutrients. Whole grain servings can come from whole wheat toast, brown rice, bran muffins, or pasta. Calcium and dairy servings are necessary and come from yogurt, cottage cheese, pasteurized cheese, or milk. Eating a variety of foods throughout the day and throughout pregnancy will help in maintaining good pregnancy nutrition.

Can a Pregnancy Diet Include Treats and Sweet Rewards?

While it is best for a pregnant woman to eat mainly whole foods and to maintain a healthy diet, there is absolute room for other foods as well. As long as unrestrained eating of sweets and junk food is avoided, the occasional treat is fine. Excessive weight gain shouldn’t be an issue, and treating yourself every now and then will actually help to avoid binge eating of sweets when it isn’t planned. Moderation is key.

Importance of Good Nutrition During Pregnancy

Eating a healthy diet when pregnant is one of the most important things a woman can do for her baby. Pregnancy is a beautiful, miraculous time that allows the bonding between mother and baby and allows the mother to participate in the forming of her child’s life. The food a pregnant woman consumes is an avenue in which she directly influences the life growing inside her.

A pregnancy diet should be based around healthy, whole (natural) food sources while limiting (but not necessarily completely excluding) sweets. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, protein, and dairy (calcium is important, too) should make up a portion of each meal. Taking a prenatal vitamin supplement will also ensure the baby receives the valuable nutrients needed to form.

The growth and development of a baby during pregnancy is intertwined with the nutrition of the mother and what she eats, and therefore what is passed on into the baby. Focusing on this period of time and living with the awareness that everything that a pregnant woman puts into her mouth will impact the baby’s life is an important, and high calling, of pregnancy.

Sources: “Creating a Pregnancy Diet: Healthy Eating During Pregnancy”