Pregnancy is a time of exciting change, as your body undergoes a number of physical and hormonal changes to support the growth and development of your baby. One of the most important aspects of a healthy pregnancy is proper nutrition, as what you eat directly affects the growth and development of your baby. Here’s what you need to know about prenatal nutrition and what to eat during pregnancy for a healthy baby.
What to eat during pregnancy
During pregnancy, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods to ensure that you and your baby get the vitamins and minerals you need. Here are some of the foods you should be eating during pregnancy:
- Fruits and vegetables: Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will provide you with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you and your baby need. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Lean protein: Lean protein sources, such as chicken, fish, and legumes, are important for the growth and development of your baby. Aim for at least two servings of lean protein each day.
- Whole grains: Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread, are important for providing your body and your baby with energy. Aim for at least three servings of whole grains each day.
- Healthy fats: Healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, are important for brain and eye development. Aim for at least two servings of healthy fats each day.
What food to avoid during pregnancy
There are also certain foods that you should avoid during pregnancy to ensure the health of your baby. Here are some of the foods to avoid:
- Raw or undercooked meat and eggs: These foods can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
- Fish high in mercury: Certain types of fish, such as swordfish and shark, can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to your baby’s development.
- Processed foods: Processed foods are often high in salt and sugar, and low in nutrients. Aim to limit your intake of processed foods as much as possible.
- Alcohol and caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can have negative effects on your baby’s development. Aim to limit your intake of both during pregnancy.
In addition to eating a well-balanced diet, many healthcare providers recommend that pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin to ensure that they get all the vitamins and minerals they need for a healthy pregnancy. Some women may also need to take additional supplements, such as iron or folic acid, depending on their individual needs.