This post was written by Dietician – Rosemary.
Pregnancy is an exciting time! And from the moment of conception, nutrition plays a large role in the growth and development of your little one.
This is real motivation to get you to start eating clean and fresh foods which is full of nutrients.
Here we are going to look at some of the top nutrients and foods you want in your diet while you are pregnant.
Folate or folic acid is a very important B vitamin before and after conception. Folate plays a major role in early development. Making sure that you receive adequate amounts of folate will help prevent neutral tube defects in your baby.
It is suggested that you make an extra effort to get in enough folate one month before pregnancy and during your first trimester.
Now that we know folate is one of the most important vitamins during pregnancy, what is in it?
The easiest way to remember this is that it is in high amounts in beans and lentils as well as green vegetables. Be inspired to make a lentil curry or have baked beans as a side for an English breakfast. Indulge in summer salads with lettuce, kale or spinach. Enjoy a vegetable side like asparagus or broccoli with dinner. Folate can also be found in mangoes and oranges, which are both great fruits for a fruit salad.
If you feel you won’t be able to take in enough folate via your food. Chat to your doctor about going onto a folic acid supplement.
Blood volume increases by 40% to 50% during pregnancy to help supply oxygen to your baby. And during the third trimester your baby needs to build up their own iron stores and this relies on your intake. This means that your iron requirements shoot up.
Pregnant women should be taking in 27mg of iron daily. An iron supplement is normally provided but don’t be scared to take iron through some natural forms as well.
It is important to note that iron supplementation can lead to a bit of constipation. So remember to keep your water and fibre intake high.
When eating food for its iron rich properties, remember that we want to consume heme-iron, as it is absorbed more easily. Heme-iron is from animal origin. To help increase the absorption of iron, pair it with foods containing vitamin C. By including a small glass of orange juice or some raw fruits and vegetables with your meals you will be increasing your iron absorption.
Animal sources of iron are through liver, eggs, all meat and seafood including mollusks. So make some liver pâté, a mussel broth, enjoy an English breakfast or a steak on the barbeque.
Non animal sources of iron include; nuts, seeds and your leafy greens like spinach, kale and turnip and beet greens.
P.S. Nuts and seeds are a great idea to snack on while you are pregnant. They are full of iron, protein and healthy fats. Nuts do not have to be avoided during pregnancy – only if mom herself is allergic to them.
Omega 3 helps with mental and visual development in infants. It is actually important to have good omega 3 intakes during pregnancy as well as during lactating.
Not only does omega 3 help with neurological development but it has also been shown to reduce the risk of premature birth.
Omega 3 fats naturally are found in seafood especially oily fish. The recommended serving is 2 to 3 servings a week.
Many new moms to be are worried about the mercury and its harmful effects on their unborn child. The fish that you want to be eating are mackerel, tuna, salmon and sardines. The fish we should be looking out for, because of their potential mercury levels, are; marlin, swordfish and deep sea perch.
Splash out and have that grilled salmon and tuna twice a week. For safety reasons while pregnant make sure your fish and meat is well cooked and avoid sushi during this time.
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