Without a doubt, every single person out there should be conscious about what they eat. And when it comes to expecting moms, that’s twice as important. Today we’ll talk about the pregnancy diet essentials for a (relatively) comfortable and trouble-free journey.
In the beginning, you’re experiencing sickness and nausea, which makes eating an almost impossible task. And, the closer you get to childbirth, the more pressure the uterus puts on your internal organs, including the digestive system.
That is exactly why you should stick with your pregnancy diet instead of putting additional strain on you already-exhausted body. It’s safe to say that the majority of expecting mommies need to include more protein into their daily rations.
Taking Care Of Your Daily Calorie Intake
As a general rule, you should be focused on eating more, not less. True, some ladies become really big and it turns into a problem. But, usually, we don’t get enough calories, not to mention vital minerals/vitamins like, say, iron and folic acid, to name a few.
Now, let’s elaborate a bit on the pregnancy diet: you don’t have to eat everything that moves. If your “original” weight is normal, then you won’t need any extra calories during the 1st trimester (which lasts for 12-13 weeks).
As for the 2nd trimester, the docs recommend eating additional 300-350 calories per day and ~450 when you enter the 3rd trimester. And if you’re over/underweight, it would be best to talk to your OB and let him/her fine-tune your pregnancy diet.
Time To Exclude Your Favorite Foods!
Alright, it’s time to take a look at the foods that will be quite uncomfortable and problematic for your digestive system. First of all, say goodbye to raw seafood like sushi. And, while you’re at it, you should be extra careful with fish, because it comes with a certain kind of metal that’s dangerous for the babies.
The scientists claim that over-the-top dozes of this metal can hurt the brains of babies and little kids. Twelve ounces a week is the norm that you shouldn’t ever cross. If you be smart about this, you’ll be able to get your dose of omega-3 while still keeping the kid healthy.
Next, exclude unpasteurized milk from your pregnancy diet and any products made from it (like cheese). Soft cheese, along with the delicious Mexican cheese (panela, for example) is also a no-no for you. A fan of pate? Gotta let that one go as well.
Raw and/or undercooked meat will turn your life into a disaster. And try to stay away from any spicy and greasy food. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any milk/other dairy products or meat. Just exclude the ones we just discussed and you’ll be fine.
Saying No To Alcohol For A Healthy Pregnancy Diet
Important note: even if you’ve tried some of the aforementioned foods during the pregnancy and your body was able to “handle” them, you still can’t eat any of that, because they come with a certain type of bacteria that’s dangerous for the fetus.
It goes without saying that alcohol has no place in your pregnancy diet. Beer and cocktails aren’t allowed either. If you drink vodka and that other heavy stuff, you’ll run the risk of hurting your kiddo (the side effects include physical abnormalities and emotional instability, among other things).
Relax: even if you’re a big fan of alcohol, it will take you only a couple of weeks to learn how to “survive” without it. Besides, there are some drinks out there that will keep you relatively happy, including Pina Colada, a Virgin Bloody Mary, and White Sangria, to name a few.
Ditching Coffee And Taking Vitamins
Can’t imagine your life without coffee? Well, you’re gonna have to. Thankfully, you won’t have to cut your caffeine intake completely from the pregnancy diet. If you drink less than 10-12 ounces a day, everything will be fine.
Some doctors believe that excessive amounts of caffeine in a carrying woman’s body can lead to miscarriage (or lower weight of the baby at birth). We’d highly recommend locking your coffee stocks in the basement and forgetting about them. Try to switch to something like fruit juice, water, or decaffeinated drinks.
Ever heard about the so-called prenatal vitamin? Your pregnancy diet should come with one per day. The thing is – even if your diet is balanced and strict, you’ll probably still miss out on vital elements, and that is why this vitamin is a must. It will provide your kiddo with all the nutrients it will ever need.
It should come with folic acid. Generally, 400 mcg is what you’ll need before turning into an expecting mother. Some organizations recommend switching to 600 once your man puts a baby in that belly. So, just remember to take one vitamin a day – that’s it.
Talking To Your Health Provider About Additional Supplements
Recent studies claim that expecting mothers should take 450 mg of choline a day. Fact: the prenatal vitamins don’t come with it, which means you’ll either have to take a supplement or receive it from the food you eat. Beef liver, eggs, chicken (especially the breast), scallops, pink salmon, and broccoli are among the choline-rich products.
Your health provider will also recommend including calcium and iron into the pregnancy diet. Vitamin D is among other popular supplements that the experts want pregnant women to take. Now, if you’re a mighty vegetarian, struggle with any sort of diabetes and/or anemia, you should talk to your HP (the health provider) about it.
A professional dietitian will also be able to help you. Can’t get yourself to swallow the vitamins? Thankfully, you can find them in a powdered form. And another thing: more is not actually better in this situation, which means you can’t take more of these than the doc says.
The Power Behind Frequent Meals
We bet you’re already familiar with the concept of eating small meals once in every 2-3 hours with a total of 5-6 meals a day. So, if you can’t eat all the necessary calories because of sickness, nausea, heartburn or constipation, this will be the best remedy for you.
Make sure your pregnancy diet includes enough fiber-rich foods. And, as mentioned above, alcohol is out of the question (and so is smoking, obviously). By eating tiny-yet-frequent meals, you let your digestive system relax and be ever-vigilant.
Good news: you won’t have to be super-strict about this. If you want to eat something, but it’s not the right time yet, just go ahead and indulge yourself. It’s more important to find a pattern that suits you rather than follow a certain schedule blindly.
The word “diet” means “a way of life”, and that is exactly what you should do – change your old habits and embrace new ones. Junk food won’t make you happy (or the baby); so, stick with healthy food (vegetables, fruits, and grains, along with lots of protein).
Occasional Weakness Is Also A Part Of A Good Pregnancy Diet
If that diet is driving you crazy and you’re craving a bowl of ice-cream, don’t be afraid to eat it. Nothing bad will happen if you switch a healthy meal with a “junky” one. Don’t make a habit of it either, though :).
If there are some deserts, snacks, and/or greasy meals that you’re dying to eat while expecting, you have the right to enjoy them every now and then. It’s better to “embrace” a delicious food or two than keep dreaming about it.
Otherwise, you’ll most certainly break down one day and empty the whole fridge, and that will be a real disaster for your pregnancy diet. It would be a good idea to mark certain dates on the calendar when you’ll be able to treat yourself and your loved ones.
Don’t EVER Go With Conventional Diets
So, we just talked about certain foods that you can’t eat, along with the specifics about weight gain and calorie intake. Please, don’t mistake any of that for the diets that people with excessive weight use. As mentioned in the beginning, you should eat plenty, not try to look slim while carrying a child.
Without a doubt, any extreme diet (like one without any carbs) will be harmful both for you and the fetus. Besides, all those vitamins and minerals we discussed are vital, not to mention a lack of calories will cause miscarriage or early delivery.
Remember: weight gain is a necessary and totally normal sign of a healthy pregnancy. Summing up, you should eat plenty of healthy foods, stay away from junk food and gain 1-5 pounds during the 1st trimester and about 1 pound a week during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
Check out our posts on every single week of pregnancy to learn more about the ins and outs of weight gain for women with different BMI. And, talk to your provider/OB about it. Alright, dear ladies – stick with this plan for a while and you’ll be golden!