A pregnant woman must take care of herself and of the new life she’s carrying in the womb. The pregnancy diet, therefore, must be nutritious and balanced. Eating for two isn’t the way to go.
In fact, during the first trimester, you don’t need extra calories at all. Add about 300 calories in the second quarter and about 450 more in the final trimester. You should also consider whether a dietician should follow your diet or not, based on present pathologies and on whether you’re underweight, normal weight, or overweight.
To simplify things even more, here are 11 pregnancy diet rules to follow throughout the whole nine months.
1. BALANCE YOUR DAILY DIET
Pregnant women don’t need a higher amount of calories but they do need a higher intake of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and iron. Meat is an excellent source of nutrients but you don’t have to eat it daily. Alternate your meat intake with another source of proteins including soy, tofu, almonds, and legumes.
Leafy greens are rich in iron and calcium while dairy and eggs are other important sources of nutrients.
Carbs are also important but try to limit the consumption of refined sugars. If you have cravings, limit your sugar intake to a single piece of cake, not the whole thing.
2. BE CAREFUL ABOUT RAW FOODS AND SPIRITS
Raw food, especially raw veggies, and fruits are important in the pregnancy diet. But unless you source them from organic farms, make sure you wash them thoroughly to avoid the ingestion of pesticides and parasites.
One of the most dangerous parasites for the baby, that can be found on raw veggies or fruits, is toxoplasmosis.
Regarding alcohol, save the celebratory booze for other occasions. Don’t consume it during pregnancy or while you’re breastfeeding.
During pregnancy, alcohol intake can cause spontaneous abortion, intrauterine malformations, premature birth, physical or mental impairment, epilepsy in the child, and more.
3. DON’T ELIMINATE ANY FUNDAMENTAL NUTRIENTS
A varied and complete diet will provide all necessary nutrients for your well-being and physical strength, allowing a correct and harmonious development of the fetus. But cutting off the nutrients just because you’re gaining weight can cause irreversible damage.
Forget about junk food and opt for a healthy and balanced diet throughout the whole nine months.
4. EAT OFTEN
Pregnancy doesn’t go hand in hand with hearty but less frequent meals. Instead eat small portions frequently. The caloric intake will be the same, but you won’t feel hungry throughout the day.
5. EAT SEASONAL SNACKS
Seasonal fruits and veggies, smoothies, yogurts, cereals, nuts and dried fruits, and just some of the healthy snacks you can eat in case of hunger attacks. Because hunger can strike at any moment, make sure you carry some healthy snacks in your purse at all times.
All the foods mentioned above are light and easy to digest.
6. ATTENTION TO HOW YOU COOK FOOD
Do you love rear stake? Forget about it during pregnancy. Also, forget about raw eggs if you like them. With the exception of fresh fruit and veggies, all the food you eat must be thoroughly cooked; avoid excessive seasoning and prefer steaming or grilling over frying.
7. INVEST IN SUPPLEMENT VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Regardless of how varied your diet can be, the pregnancy often needs further minerals and vitamins. Folic acid is one of the most important, but you also need extra magnesium, calcium, iodine, and iron. These elements are essential to prevent neural malformations, premature birth, or newborn anemia.
Omega 3 is also essential to develop the visual and cognitive skills in the baby. These micronutrients also reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Other vitamins you need are vitamin A, C, D, E, and the whole complex of B vitamins.
8. AVOID WEIGHT LOSS DIETS
If you notice an excessive weight gain during pregnancy, contact your practitioner and maybe a dietician. They will be able to advise you on the best foods to eat and recipes to follow or can conduct clinical tests to rule out a series of pathologies associated with the pregnancy.
Under no circumstances should you start a weight loss diet during pregnancy. Not only it could damage your health, but it could damage the baby too.
9. GAIN WEIGHT IN A CONTROLLED MANNER
Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, but you should control your weight gain. Normally, your weight should increase gradually and physiologically, as the baby develops. If you have hunger attacks or feel the need to eat more than necessary, talk to your doctor.
10. CHOOSE THE RIGHT FATS
A balanced diet includes fats, but you should choose them wisely. Polyunsaturated fats and Omega acids are contained in fish and dried fruits and they are essential for the correct development of the neural functions.
11. MAKE MODERATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
All gynecologists advise pregnant women to attend fitness classes or carry on with their favorite sport at the gym. Physical activity is recommended for the whole nine months and has numerous benefits. Not only it controls your weight, but it keeps your muscles active, helping you during labor and childbirth.
Light exercising also helps you maintain correct insulin levels and increases blood flow, which brings further benefits to both you and the baby.
The tips above are basic rules to follow for a healthy pregnancy diet. But remember that every woman is different. When in doubt, the best thing is to contact your practitioner or ask the advice of a dietician. After all, the best pregnancy diet is the one that works well for you.