Nutrition during pregnancy
Many moms-to-be wonder what nutrients they need to have a healthy pregnancy. Caloric recommendations to maintain a healthy pregnancy is adding roughly 300 extra calories per day. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A healthy, well-balanced diet can also help reduce some pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and constipation. In addition, getting adequate amounts of folate, calcium, iron, and omega 3’s are essential during pregnancy.
Folate: helps the baby’s spinal cord develop properly and reduces the risk of neural-tube defects. Ideally, you need at least 400 micrograms of folate for the first 12 weeks and 600 micrograms for the remainder of your pregnancy. You can find folate in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, cereals, breads, and pasta. It also should be included in your prenatal vitamin.
Calcium: is important to build strong bones and teeth. Calcium can be found in milk, cheese, yogurt, and sardines. Adequate calcium intake during pregnancy is 1000mg daily.
Iron: is important for supporting blood volume and delivering oxygen to your baby. Iron food sources include lean red meat, dried beans, peas, and iron-fortified cereals. You should strive for 27mg of iron daily.
A diet rich in omega-3’s can boost your baby’s neurological and brain development
Flaxseed oils, walnuts, and omega-3 fortified eggs are good sources of one type of omega 3 fats. Fatty fish are the only reliable sources of the other two omega -3’s, EPA and DHA. Great options include salmon, skipjack or canned light tuna, sardines, anchovies, and herring. Keep in mind some fish are high in mercury and should be avoided during pregnancy. Fish high in mercury include swordfish, shark, king mackerel, or tilefish.
Aside from eating well, it’s important to stay hydrated and speak with your doctor about which prenatal vitamins you should take.
If you have any other questions or would like a health consult please give me a call, I would love to chat.
Chelsea Crawford, RD, LD Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition