Did you know that about 70% of women get morning sickness when pregnant? About 3% of women experience severe sickness including nausea and vomiting.
If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you may be wondering (or even worrying) about the relationship between nutrition and pregnancy. Right off the bat, if you’re so sick that you can’t keep anything down, go see your doctor. They can help manage your nausea so you can access the nutrients you need for yourself and your baby.
This post will help you learn more about nutrition during pregnancy. Put down the pickles and read on!
Importance of Nutrition in Pregnancy
You are growing a human being! Your body is going to need more fuel to do that. You’ll need an average of 300 extra calories per day.
In addition to extra calories, your body needs more of certain nutrients:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
Folic acid helps the baby’s neural tube develop properly. Did you know that when you’re pregnant, your blood volume increases by around 45%? You’ll need extra iron to produce all those extra red blood cells.
If you don’t have enough extra calcium in your body when the baby is growing, your body will take it from your own bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps baby’s kidneys, bones, teeth, heart, and nervous system develop.
Because getting these extra nutrients is so important, doctors recommend taking over-the-counter or prescription prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant and while pregnant.
Pregnancy Nutrition Plan
Nutrition intake for pregnancy can be a complicated issue. But, it doesn’t have to be. Listen to your body and aim for a blend of all 5 food groups:
- Vegetables and legumes
- Meat, poultry, fish, or other vegetarian protein alternatives
- Breads and cereals
Depending on your trimester, you may find that you’re hungrier than usual. But, you don’t have to actually “eat for 2”. Focus on the cues your body is sending to you to know how much to eat.
If you know that you get snacky at certain times a day, you can help yourself make kind choices for your body by planning ahead. Chop up and portion out veggies to eat with hummus or your other favorite dip. Keep high protein snacks like peanut butter, roasted chickpeas, cottage cheese, nuts, and seeds stocked to tide you over until your next meal.
There are some foods you should avoid while pregnant:
- Unpasteurized cheese and milk
- Undercooked or cured meats
- Raw or undercooked eggs
- Fish high in mercury
- Raw or undercooked seafood
And, though it’s important to drink adequate water all of the time, it’s extra important while you’re pregnant. Your body needs more water to make amniotic fluid, supply more blood volume, build new tissues, help indigestion, and flush out your waste.
Nutrition and Pregnancy Work Hand in Hand
Now that you understand a little better the relationship between nutrition and pregnancy, you can make informed choices to help you and your baby during this special time.
For more helpful posts about pregnancy and beyond, scroll through the rest of the blog today! You got this, mama!