The food a pregnant mother consumes is vital to her well-being and her baby’s healthy development. You should remember that indulging in a nutritious diet with the help of a pregnancy food chart can manage your food cravings and ensure a harmonious symphony of taste and well-being. Cravings for specific foods during pregnancy are common, with no scientifically proven reason behind them. You might crave spicy food during pregnancy, chocolate, or something unusual (1) (2).
Your developing baby gets essential nutrients from your body, so you should focus on consuming healthy foods for pregnancy. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, you need about 300 additional calories daily (3). The mother's body undergoes remarkable changes during pregnancy, requiring an increased intake of essential nutrients in food, such as vitamins and minerals. Folic acid consumption before and during early pregnancy aids in curing neural tube defects in the brain and spine. Iron, crucial for enhanced blood production and oxygen transport to the baby, is found in lean meats, cereals, vegetables, and nuts. Calcium, vital for baby's bone, teeth, and muscle development, demands a daily intake of 1,000 milligrams, obtainable from milk, cheese, and yogurt. Vitamin D, fostering baby's bone and teeth growth, is prevalent in fatty fish. Adequate fluid intake is indispensable, besides eating these foods during pregnancy (4).
Pregnancy brings a unique sensory journey where your favorite foods take a backseat, and you might crave those you rarely ate. Emotions usually trigger these reactions and are a common phenomenon. Food aversions, too, can happen during pregnancy, sometimes due to morning sickness between weeks 6 and 14 (5). Hormonal changes are a likely cause.
After discussing essential nutrients and pregnancy-friendly foods, let's focus on what foods should be avoided. For expectant mothers, it's best to steer clear of alcohol, unpasteurized dairy, day-old leftovers, high-mercury fish, and soft cheese. Mercury in fish can harm fetal brain development. Also, moderate your caffeine intake to prevent potential risks. Washing fruits and vegetables before consumption helps prevent bacterial infections such as salmonella and listeriosis (6) (7).
You can ensure a healthier pregnancy with fewer complications by embracing a balanced diet rich in vital nutrients. As your body undergoes remarkable changes and the miracle of life unfolds, the importance of a balanced, nutrient-filled diet becomes even clearer. Remember, your food choices impact the well-being of the beautiful life ahead.
Although weight gain during pregnancy depends on several factors, including being overweight, underweight, or carrying multiple babies, most women gain approximately 25 to 35 pounds of weight on average. In the first trimester, there might be an average of two to four pounds, followed by a weekly increase of one pound (about 0.5 kilograms) throughout the remaining months (8).
Eating seafood is safe during pregnancy as it contains vital nutrients, such as omega-3, vitamins, and protein, which foster healthy fetal development. However, low-mercury seafood should be consumed in moderation of two to three servings per week or 8-12 ounces to avert any negative impact on the fetus (9).
Artificial sweeteners are considered safe during pregnancy when taken in low to moderate amounts. Although scientists are still studying the effects of sweeteners on mothers and the fetus, it is usually considered safe when taken in moderation (10).
Take healthy meals at regular intervals to help prevent hunger pangs. Choose healthy, low Glycaemic Index foods, including whole grains, baked beans, and fresh fruits, that will keep you fuller for longer. Drink plenty of water and keep yourself active. Brush your teeth regularly and stack your refrigerator with healthy snacks (1).
If you're experiencing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, focus on staying hydrated by sipping fluids every 15 minutes. Opt for non-acidic drinks and consider frozen yogurt or fruit juices. Ginger in various forms can help with indigestion. Eat small amounts of carbohydrates every half an hour and opt for easily digestible low-fat foods (11).
Pregnancy raises the risk of foodborne illnesses due to changes in your immune system. Your unborn baby is also vulnerable, as their immune system isn't fully developed to fight harmful microorganisms (12).
Know how you can plan a healthy, well-balanced diet containing different Indian delicacies.
Although commonly used in everyday diet, they may affect you and your baby.
A slice of safe cheese, to keep you at peace.
Learn about ways you can safely use coconut oil for different purposes during pregnancy.
Though lemongrass may have health benefits, avoid it to reduce miscarriage risk.
Acai berry is safe to consume when expecting, but avoid it if you have allergies.
Wheatgrass can cause adverse effects if consumed raw and in large quantities.
Moderate amount of K is always Okay for your diet.
Adding artichokes to your diet when pregnant aids the brain development of the fetus.
Moderate intake of this flavorful seed poses no health risks for the mother or baby.
Know when an expecting mom may need to avoid this nutritious vegetable.
Though generally considered safe, using rose hip when pregnant warrants caution.