What You Should Know About Eating for Two
If you’ve never really considered much about your diet, pregnancy is a great time to do so. While there are many jokes about “eating for two” and having bizarre food cravings, pregnancy nutrition is really very important. In fact, what you eat plays a vital role in how your baby develops as well as how you feel during your pregnancy.
Always consult with your physician on which supplements or dietary habits are best for you. However, in general, you can expect your growing body to need the following top nutrients each trimester.
First Trimester Foods & Nutrients
During the initial weeks of your pregnancy, folate is a primary nutrient that is needed. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that found in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, asparagus, and dark leafy greens; nuts and beans; whole grains and fortified cereals. We all need folate, but pregnant moms need up to 50% more than normal. Folate is responsible for helping make DNA and new cells. Folate is also known to help prevent birth defects and premature birth. This is why most prenatal vitamins contain 600 micrograms of daily folic acid.
Second Trimester Foods & Nutrients
By your second trimester, your food cravings are in high gear. However, in your quest to satisfy that certain sweet or salty craving, don’t forget the vital nutrients your body needs. Calcium ranks at the top of the list for top nutrients during the second trimester. Calcium ensures that your baby’s skeletal system is forming strong. Remember that if you don’t eat enough calcium for your baby, your baby will take it from you. When pregnant moms are deprived of calcium, they are at risk for low blood pressure and preeclampsia. Get your daily intake of 1000mg. Think milk, cheese, leafy greens, broccoli, salmon, almonds and oranges!
Third Trimester Foods & Nutrients
You’re in the home stretch. You are probably well aware of your growing belly by now and you may be tempted to ditch your healthy diet during these final weeks. Not so fast! This is actually a critical period of growth for your baby. When it comes to the third trimester, fuel your body with iron! Iron is taken and stored by your baby during this time in preparation for the first six months of life. Without enough iron, moms are vulnerable to pregnancy-induced anemia. While your prenatal vitamin has loads of iron, you’ll want to make sure you are also getting additional sources throughout the day because your body is made to absorb food-iron better than pill-iron. Add iron-rich foods to your plate such as spinach, red meat, kidney beans, red quinoa, sunflower seeds and fortified whole grains & cereals. Even dark chocolate has iron if you need an excuse to satisfy your sweet tooth!
For more tips on healthy eating during pregnancy, please contact North Pointe OB/GYN & Associates.