Tips for your diet during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you’re truly eating for two. While your caloric intake will only go up a couple of hundred calories,  your eating choices will still directly impact your future child. It’s extremely important you’re eating mindfully to nourish your baby as they develop during this time. You’ll need to make sure you’re hitting all of the food groups, while also focusing on adding more protein to your diet (1). Just as there are some foods you should make sure to eat during your pregnancy, there are also some that you should avoid. Read on for your definitive guide of what to eat when you are expecting.

In your first trimester, you likely won’t need to eat any more calories than usual (2). Your doctor will let you know if the circumstances are different for you, though, as your medical history could change this precedent. Many people are familiar with the bouts of sickness that can occur for women at the beginning of their pregnancies; eating well can help combat those feelings of nausea. Complex carbs will help soothe your stomach, so opt for options like whole-grain toast or pasta (3). You’ll feel better, and the nutrients will benefit your baby, too. If you can handle it, a banana is a great choice, too. This potassium-filled fruit is known to ease nausea, plus it’s a healthy addition to your baby’s diet. Especially in the first trimester, it’s important that you are patient with your body. As you have cravings, make sure you allow your body to indulge in them, as long as you are also fulfilling your nutritional needs.

As you begin your second trimester, you will likely need to eat 300-400 more calories per day. You’ll still want to focus on eating a balanced diet at this point, while also letting yourself dig into your cravings once in a while. Something to note, specifically, is your iron levels. While pregnant, you need about double the amount your body needs when you’re not pregnant (4). To reach your recommended 27 milligrams of iron a day, make sure to add some high-iron foods to your diet. Spinach is a great addition since it can be added to many dishes. You can add a bit to your morning smoothie, toss some in your pasta sauce, or even simply eat it as the base for your salad. Plus, spinach is high in Vitamin C, too.

In the third trimester, you can tack on an additional 100-200 calories to your daily intake. During the third trimester, your main focus for diet should be on low-fat protein, fruits and vegetables, and fiber (5). Some great options to keep at hand are greek yogurt, eggs, broccoli, berries, and plenty of whole grains. In these key moments before giving birth, you’ll want to make sure you are getting all of the key nutrients your baby needs to fully develop.

Just as there are foods you should aim to eat during pregnancy, there are some that you should be avoiding when you are expecting. Many people already know that seafood can be a big no-no during pregnancy. This is because some fish have enough mercury in it that it can hurt the development of your child (6). Luckily, salmon and shrimp are still safe to eat during pregnancy, which are great protein sources. During pregnancy, you’ll also want to be careful to not consume undercooked fish and meat. While pregnant, your body is more susceptible to bacterial infections, so it’s probably best to lay off the sushi. When it comes to what you drink, you’ll do your body a favor by sticking to water. Caffeine can be dangerous for your baby, and it’s hard to monitor the safe limit. Plus, we all know that pregnant women cannot drink. Doing so can have heartbreaking effects, even miscarriages, so it is best to avoid it completely.

Your diet is incredibly important for your health and your baby’s when you’re pregnant, so consulting with your doctor is a good idea. Your medical history may be telling of what foods will cause aversions for you, so it’s helpful to ask your doctor this. Your medications could play a part in which vitamins and minerals you need a surplus of, too. Your doctor will most likely suggest prenatal vitamins for you, so this will also help fill the gaps that may exist in your diet. So, do your best, eat your veggies, and don’t feel guilty when you have those cravings!

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