Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is vital for you and your baby. An additional 300 calories is required per day. A well-balanced diet, with all necessary vitamins and nutrients is essential for this.
The important nutrients needed during pregnancy are calcium, iron, and folic acid. Growing babies need a good amount of calcium for their bones and teeth. So, pregnant women need to take an additional 40% of calcium a day. The recommended calcium intake is nearly 1,000 mg/day. Low-fat dairy products, dried beans, green vegetables, and cereals contain a good percentage of calcium.
As anemia is a common pregnancy health issue, expectant mothers should ensure a good intake of iron, which is around 27-30 mg per day. Consuming enough iron will help you gain a good hemoglobin count (usually 13). Some of the iron-rich foods are red meat, salmon, dried fruits, leafy green vegetables, eggs, and enriched grains.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all pregnant women (especially during their early stage) should consume at least 0.4 mg of folic acid supplements per day. A good intake of folic acid can reduce the chances of neural tube defects like spina bifida. Cereals, pasta, rice, spinach, and wholegrain bread are good sources of folic acid.
Along with a healthy diet, all women should drink plenty of fluids, especially water, during their pregnancy period. It is necessary to drink at least 8 ounce glasses of water per day. This will help to reduce common pregnancy problems like constipation and dehydration.
Raw meat and uncooked beef or poultry must be avoided, since they may contain coliform bacteria, salmonella, and toxoplasmosis. Foods containing raw eggs are also better avoided. Moreover, pregnant women must stay away from un-pasteurized milk and soft cheese – which may be contaminated by listeria. Avoid eating seafood like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. These fishes contain toxic levels of mercury, which can damage the developing brain of the baby.
Apart from these, high consumption of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol should be avoided during your pregnancy period.