Your diet plays a huge role in how well you take care of yourself and your baby! Becoming a mom for the first time and knowing the fact that you brought a new life into this world is a beautiful and memorable experience. However, pregnancy changes you completely, both physically and emotionally. So from your eating habits to your daily routines, you need to bring in some positive changes to ensure you and your baby remain healthy.
But these changes should not start post-partum – you need to revamp your diet right from your first trimester of pregnancy. Research shows that women are more prone to miscarriages in the first trimester as there is a significant decrease in miscarriage rates by week. To minimize such issues, you need to add some vital vitamins and minerals to your diet.
So, let’s learn about all the essential nutrients you need to add to your healthy diet to prevent pregnancy complications as well as to stay healthy after giving birth to your first child (1) (2).
- Calcium: You must obtain calcium from diet or supplements because your body cannot produce it. Try to consume at least 1,000 mg of calcium daily. If you are a pregnant teen, this requirement goes up to 1,300 mg of calcium per day. A mother needs adequate calcium not only for the skeletal development of the baby in the womb but also after giving birth when the baby is being breastfed. Milk, cheese, and curd are a few of the most fantastic dairy products for getting calcium. Although at considerably more negligible levels, calcium can also be found in green, leafy vegetables. Some foods, such as calcium-fortified porridge, bread, citrus fruits, and soy beverages, also contain calcium.
- Folic Acid: Folic acid, a type of vitamin B type, is an essential nutrient for pregnant women and first-time mothers. It helps the baby’s growth by assisting in developing neural tubes and transforming them into the brain and spinal cord. It also prevents any congenital disabilities. Moreover, it promotes the production of red blood cells. Fortified grains are the best sources of vitamin B in meals. In addition, citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables contain natural folate.
- Protein: Protein is a vital nutrient for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Pregnant women need to have 60 g of protein per day and up this intake to 25 g per day when they are breastfeeding. The development of your fetus is aided by consuming sufficient protein throughout your pregnancy because amino acids are necessary for healthy cell formation and function. Fulfilling your daily protein requirement may reduce your risk of preterm labor and fetal development limitation. Eggs, meat, beans, peas, soy, and nuts are some popular protein sources.
- Iron: During pregnancy, your body utilizes iron to produce additional blood (hemoglobin) for you and the unborn child. Iron also aids oxygen flow to your body’s tissues and your fetus. Iron deficiency anemia, a disorder in which there are insufficient red blood cells that causes fatigue, can be avoided by consuming adequate iron. Your baby may be born prematurely or too tiny if you have anemia. Red meat, poultry, tofu, and beans offer sufficient iron.
- Whole Grains: You should also introduce whole grains into your diet as these foods are a rich source of iron, folate (vitamin B), and essential fibers. Whole grains are unrefined and better sources of fiber and other vital elements like selenium, potassium, and magnesium. Moreover, the insoluble fiber found in whole grains has a bulking effect but is not digested. This makes food go through the digestive tract more rapidly, reducing constipation and promoting regularity. This is especially beneficial for constipation, which is common during pregnancy. Some examples of whole grains include barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, and oatmeal.
- Dairy Products: You need to consume more protein and calcium during pregnancy and after childbirth when you are breastfeeding. You should introduce milk and yogurt to your diet. Casein and whey are also significant proteins found in dairy products. Although dairy products are known as a source of calcium, they also have reasonable amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B, and zinc.
- Fruits: Fruit is a beautiful source of vital nutrients for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Fruits can supply vitamins, fiber, folate, cobalt, potassium, copper, silicon, iron, and other nutrients that promote the health of the mother and the breastfed child. These nutrients are transferred to the child via breast milk. However, you should avoid eating fruits in rainy seasons if they are not freshly cut as they can get contaminated very quickly and might affect your health. Some of these high-nutrient sources are fruits such as oranges, pears, mango, pomegranates, guava, banana, grapes, and berries.
These are some of those nutrients that will ensure you supply the proper supplements to your baby.
What Should You Avoid Eating During Pregnancy (2)?
Consuming healthy food is not enough if you don’t cut out these harmful foods and drinks from your diet:
- Specific Milk Products: You should avoid consuming unpasteurized milk or other milk products like soft cheese made from raw and pasteurized milk. They can cause certain bacteria or viruses to infect you and your baby.
- Fishes With a High Level Of Mercury: Mercury is a chemical that can accumulate in fish and affect an unborn or breastfed child. Fishes with this chemical pose the risk of norovirus, vibrio bacteria, and other fish-borne diseases.
- Raw Eggs: Undercooked or raw eggs should not be consumed by anyone, much less pregnant or breastfeeding women. After touching raw eggs, you should wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces. You should also keep eggs in the refrigerator. When a recipe asks for raw eggs, it is advised to use pasteurized egg products.
- Alcohol: This is a no-brainer and needs to be avoided at all costs. Otherwise, it can lead to decreased breast milk production and have an adverse effect on the baby’s health. Alcohol consumption increases the danger of stillbirth and miscarriage during pregnancy. Over-consumption of alcohol can also lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (which causes facial abnormalities and intellectual incapacity). Alcohol can also be passed to your baby through breast milk and disturb the baby’s sleep pattern and early development.
- Unwashed Vegetables Or Fruits: When a fruit or vegetable is chopped, juiced, or peeled, unhealthy bacteria like Listeria, E. coli, and other bacteria can quickly contaminate them. These bacteria can affect your baby adversely.
Maintaining a healthy diet is always beneficial for your body, but it’s more than just a habit when you are a first-time mother. It becomes a responsibility. Introducing these essential vitamins and minerals to your diet can help prevent various health issues for yourself and your child. So, always remember that whatever you eat should be healthy because your baby will eat that too. Best of luck on this beautiful journey!
Ramya Karamsetti loves diving deep into the health, relationships & lifestyle topics. She particularly writes about fashion trends and beauty tips. She is a regular contributor to MomJunction.com, The Epoch Times, Marriage, etc. When she is not writing, she loves traveling and going on adventure trips.