Pregnancy is not a health disorder, and as such, there’s typically no need for extremely strict diets or specific nutritional plans, unless complications arise during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or anemia.
Stay informed about your pregnancy journey by using a pregnancy tracker and follow the basic principles of a healthy diet: eat fresh and healthy food, eat more often, but in smaller portions, and chew each bite very well.
When focusing on proper nutrition during pregnancy, aim for 40-50% of your total daily caloric intake to come from carbohydrates, 20-25% from proteins, and 25-35% from fats (the need for fats increases significantly during pregnancy).
It’s important to note that not all foods are safe for consumption during pregnancy, and some should be avoided. With this in mind, let’s explore the safe and nutritious food options for expectant mothers
Safe foods rich in carbohydrates
Recommended sources of carbohydrates for pregnant women include porridge, bread, and other baked goods, pasta, fruits and berries, and starchy vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and beets).
Cereal crops (various grains, whole grain flour) are the basis of the diet. You should also eat fruits and vegetables that have a sufficient amount of beta-carotene (carrots, peppers, various yellow fruits), vitamin C (citrus fruits, parsley, red currants), and B2 vitamins (buckwheat, leafy vegetables).
Of course, everything should be eaten in moderation, especially berries and fruits. For instance, eating too many grapes can provoke an allergy and cause a rise in body temperature in some cases.
However, it is recommended to avoid pineapples and unripe papaya. Pineapples contain an acid that can cause miscarriage or premature birth. Unripe papayas contain substances that stimulate uterine contractions, so this fruit should also be avoided.
Due to the risk of infection, it is necessary to carefully follow hygiene rules, wash your hands often, and wash fruits and vegetables well under running water.
Safe foods rich in proteins
Protein affects the formation of fetal tissues and organs. Pay more attention to the proteins you consume during the second trimester of pregnancy when the baby grows rapidly in your belly.
Eat more meat (especially, poultry), fish, and dairy products – these are the primary sources of protein. Do not forget eggs, nuts, and legumes – this way you will ensure the full variety of amino acids (proteins).
It should be mentioned that these rich-in-protein foods also have microelements. One of the main micronutrients is folic acid, which doctors recommend taking additionally before pregnancy and in the first trimester of pregnancy.
You can find folic acid in the liver, beans, and green peas. It is worth noting zinc and calcium which are found in dairy products. Nuts are an excellent source of magnesium.
Safe food rich in fats
Pay attention to the type of fatty acids found in your food. Diversity is also important here. Unsaturated fats should make up the majority of them. However, it is also important to include saturated fats in your nutrition, especially fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, etc.).
It should be noted that if you like to buy milk from the farmer’s market, boil it before consumption, and avoid dairy products made from fresh milk during pregnancy.
Due to the high concentration of mercury, it is advised to avoid large predatory fishes: king mackerel, sharks, sailfish, swordfish, and bigeye tuna.
The main principles
Energy needs increase during pregnancy. In the first trimester, energy requirements don’t change significantly, but it’s crucial to consume foods rich in folic acid, iron, and omega-3s.
Such foods include green leafy vegetables, dairy products, fish, and meat. The second and third trimesters call for increased energy intake, which can be obtained from vegetables, grains, fruits, and dairy products.
Proteins are especially important for pregnant women, as they serve as the primary building blocks for both maternal and fetal tissues and milk production. Recommended protein sources include meat, dairy products, fish, legumes, cereals, eggs, nuts, and seeds. For vegetarians, it is advised to consume more legumes, seeds, and nuts.
It is recommended to eat unroasted, unsmoked, unsalted food. It is also good to boil eggs to avoid the risk of salmonellosis.
What about hydration? It’s recommended that pregnant women consume 1.9 to 2.8 liters of water per day. It’s best to drink water in small amounts frequently, as the intestines may not absorb a large volume of water all at once.
Opt for drinking water from a glass, as plastic containers may contain phthalates, which could negatively impact your child’s development. Additionally, it’s advisable to limit caffeine intake, such as strong coffee or green tea.
The period of pregnancy is important for every woman. Special attention should be paid to nutrition, which determines both the health of pregnant women and the development of the child. It is worth making sure that during these nine months, the expectant mother eats safe foods and provides her body with all the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients.