You are beginning the joyful yet anxious journey to motherhood ñ you recently discovered that you are pregnant. Excellent prenatal nutrition is the best foundation for creating a holistically healthy baby. Follow the guidelines below for your own health and your baby’s optimal development ñ and encourage your husband to get on the healthy eating bandwagon as well!
1) Check with your obstetrician and pharmacist about all prescription medicines and over-the-counter medications that you are taking. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications should be avoided throughout the duration of your pregnancy.
2) Eliminate your consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and recreational drugs.
3) Seek to eliminate, or at least dramatically reduce, your consumption of caffeine from all sources ñ coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and energy drinks.
4) Find a quality prenatal multi-vitamin/multi-mineral and take one every day.
5) Increase your daily intake of the following nutrients:
a) B Vitamins, especially:
- Folic Acid
- B12 (take a supplement if you are a vegetarian)
Nutritional Sources of B Vitamins:
whole grains, salad greens, legumes, whole grain cereals, brown rice, soy beans
b) DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid important for baby’s cognitive development)
*Take a DHA supplement.
*Note: Although fish is a good source of DHA, there are many legitimate concerns about fish containing mercury and other toxins.
c) Vitamin D
Natural Sources of Vitamin D:
sunlight ñ 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure/day; fortified dairy products
6) Be careful to stay hydrated. Drink six to eight refreshing glasses of water per day.
7) If you are suffering with nausea or have a reduced appetite, then make it your goal to eat smaller amounts of food on a more regular basis ñ such as six mini-meals instead of the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner.
***Add 200 to 300 extra calories to your daily diet.***
1) Be careful to eat a healthy, balanced diet filled with fruit and vegetables to receive the vitamins and minerals your baby needs.
2) While adding the extra 200 to 300 calories, consider eating a mid-afternoon snack or a small snack before bedtime.
3) Ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of protein to support your baby’s muscle and organ growth. Eat plant protein (especially for vegetarians) and healthy low-fat animal protein.
4) Regulate your portion sizes to minimize your risk of gestational diabetes.
1) As your infant grows, your blood volumes increases, which means that your body requires more iron.
2) Healthy Iron Sources:
seeds, beans, rice, wheat bran, blackstrap molasses, apples, bananas, leafy greens
3) Increase iron absorption by combining iron-rich foods with foods containing Vitamin C, including: broccoli, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges, tomatoes
4) Concentrate on receiving ample supply of the following nutrients:
Nutritional Sources of Calcium:
dairy products, tofu, fortified rice and soy milks, beans, molasses, seeds, cooked greens, dried figs
Nutritional Sources of Zinc:
nuts, seeds, beans, dairy products, spinach, fortified cereals