To bring a newborn to this world is an exciting experience which demands a promise to your baby and yourself that you will pay more attention to what you eat.Pregnant women need more proteins and nutrients, especially iron, folic acid, iodine and zinc.
The old saying “eat for two” doesn’t mean that during the pregnancy you should eat twice as much as before. It just means that you need more energy when you are pregnant and of course more nutrients.The researches have showed that the food a mother eats during pregnancy can affect the development of the baby, as well as the baby’s health later in life.
What should you eat?
It is very important to consume a balanced and diverse diet during pregnancy. Your diet should be based on all 5 food groups.
Diet during pregnancy-the menu
You should pay special attention to the following nutrients:
During pregnancy, and especially in the last trimester, your baby needs calcium to build healthy bones. Fortunately, in this period you have the ability to better absorb calcium from the food you eat, so that the needs of your baby are satisfied. Because of this the recommended daily amount of calcium for pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding is the same as for women who are not pregnant (1000mg a day). This means 3-4 servings of dairy products every day. A serving is composed of: a glass of milk (250ml), a packaging of yoghurt (200g) and two slices of cheese (40g).
Folic acid is a type of vitamin B which can be found in leafy green vegetables, fruit (citrus fruit, berry fruit and bananas) and legumes. It is recommended that along with a healthy diet rich in folic acid you take additional 400 micrograms of folic acid a day for at least a month before conceiving and in the first trimester of the pregnancy. To satisfy these needs you can take folic acid supplements.
Your needs for iron are significantly increased during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimester, when you have more blood in the body for the placenta and the baby. To avoid the deficiency of iron, you should consume foods rich in iron in large quantities.
Red meat is one of the best sources of iron. Chicken meat, pork meat and fish contain moderate quantities of it. There is less iron found in legumes and leafy green vegetables. Food rich in vitamin C, such as oranges and tomatoes, make the iron absorption from plant sources easier.
Iodine is necessary for the development of the brain and the nervous system of your baby. During pregnancy the needs for iodine are increased for 47% and during the period of breastfeeding for 80%. Dairy products, sea fruits and bread with extra iodine are good sources. However, an additional intake of iodine is recommended in the form of supplements.
Zinc is necessary for the normal growth and development of the bones, brain and many other parts of the body. There are many different sources from which pregnant women can get zinc. You can take it in through food, with no need for supplements. Zinc is best absorbed from foods of animal origin such as red meat, fish and dairy products and is less found in food of plant origin such as nuts, legumes and grains.
You need to consume more proteins during pregnancy due to the baby’s growth and the changes that occur in your body, such as the increasing of your breasts. With a healthy and balanced diet you will consume enough proteins to satisfy your needs and the needs of your baby.