Most mothers would already have an idea of how much to eat in order to maintain their weight gain. But what exactly should they eat? How can they ensure that they are giving their baby all the nutrients that is needed to promote growth? Here is a list of the top 25 foods that are high in nutrient content, full of flavors can easily be used in most recipes.
The First Trimester – Folic Acid and Vitamin B
70% of the nutrients are devoted to promoting brain growth and neurological development. Folic acid is crucial as it helps to prevent neural tube defects and allows vital organs to grow properly.
B-Vitamins are also important during the first trimester assist in the formation and growth of all tissues. A steady supply of Vitamin B is important as it does not stay in the body for long.
Plenty of high protein and iron foods will also ensure that the nutrients are being delivered to the baby via the placenta.
The Second Trimester – Iron & Fibre
Iron is important during the 4th, 5th and 6th months of pregnancy as blood volume in the body has increased. No new structures are formed during this period and the baby’s growth will be mainly in size. Insufficient iron will cause symptoms such as fatigue, light headedness, pallor and shortness of breath. If there is prolonged iron deficiency, the baby’s growth may be affected.
The second trimester is also when the gastrointestinal system slows down to allow the body to absorb more nutrients. Many moms experience constipation as a result, and high fibre foods will help to maintain regular bowel movements.
The Third Trimester – Calcium and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The baby’s teeth and bones require a steady supply of calcium to grow during the final trimester and calcium deficiency of the mother may result when the body obtains calcium from the mother’s bones. This may increase the risk of osteoporosis. Pre-eclampsia, or high blood pressure during pregnancy can also be prevented with an adequate amount of calcium intake.
Omega-3 Fatty acids are critical in the last phase of the pregnancy as it promotes the baby’s vision and neurological system. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to block factors that may lead to premature labor.
Besides benefiting the baby, omega-3 also helps to maintain the brainpower of the mother. The expectant mother’s brain shrinks by about 3% during this period as well, which may explain why some mothers experience memory loss and postpartum depression.
|Food Group||Food||What’s in it?|
|Dairy||Yogurt||Easily digestible & high quality protein.
Promotes stable blood sugar & strengthens immune system.
Calcium; magnesium; phosphorus; riboflavin; vitamins B12 and D; zinc.
|Milk||High quality protein & promotes stable blood sugar.
Calcium; magnesium; phosphorus; potassium; vitamins A, B12 and D; riboflavin.
|Cheese||High quality protein & provides calcium.
Soft cheeses should be avoided, including brie, camembert, chevre, danish blue and stilton.
|Eggs||Eggs||High quality protein.
Provides biotin; chromium; phosphorus; vitamins A, B6 and D; zinc.
|Fish & Shellfish||Coldwater Fish||High quality protein.
Provides biotin; calcium; niacin; omega-3 essential fatty acids; riboflavin; vitamins A and B12.
|Shellfish||High quality protein and low in fat.
Provides calcium; copper; iodine; manganese and vitamin D.
|Fruits||Apples||Fiber; promotes stable blood sugar and provides chromium.|
|Avocados||Fiber; provides copper; magnesium; potassium; pyridoxine; vitamins A, B and E|
|Cherries||Promotes stable blood sugar.
Provides vitamins A and C
|Oranges||Promotes stable blood sugar
Fiber, folic acid, vitamins A and C
|Grains and Cereals||Barley, bulgur, oatmel||Promotes stable blood sugar.
Protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.
|Wheat germ||Low fat.
Protein, fiber, folic acid; magnesium; phosphorus; thiamin; vitamin E; zinc.
|Nuts||Cashews, peanuts and walnuts||Protein, fiber, biotin; copper; magnesium; manganese; pyridoxine; zinc|
|Vegetables||Asparagus||Fiber, copper, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamins A, C and E.|
|Broccoli||Fiber, calcium, chromium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, vitamins A, C and K.|
|Cabbage||Fiber, folic acid, riboflavin, vitamins A, C and K.|
|Pumpkin||Fibre, chromium, vitamins A and C|
|Spinach||Calcium, chromium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, vitamins A, C and K|
|Sweet potatoes and yam||Promotes stable blood sugar.
Fiber, chromium, vitamin A.
|Tomatoes||Carotenoids and vitamins A and C|
I Don’t Eat Meat
Protein is an important source of nutrient as it provides the body with the basic building blocks. Even though most sources of good protein come from red meat, vegetarian mothers can still obtain an adequate supply of nutrients even though animal products are eliminated from the diet. A diet that contains eggs and diary products is recommended.. Eggs are essential as the the whites contain high quality protein and the yolks are excellent sources of iron. As a basic rule, vegetarian mothers should consume a lot of eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt.
With the list of top 25 foods to eat during pregnancy, deciding on what is good for the baby is easier and one can easily whip up a quick meal with these. Of course, if there is a sudden craving for something which does not belong to the list, there is no reason not to satisfy it!