5 Keys to Nutrition During Pregnancy

Eating a variety of foods provides good nutrition during pregnancy

I am not one of those doulas that think we should watch every bite of food during pregnancy, in the name of your nutrition, and baby’s health and wellness.

What you choose to eat while pregnant is important. But you shouldn’t obsess.

You’re about to become a parent, so I believe that you can make decisions about food. You’ve lived a lifetime in your body, hopefully loving it, caring for it, and keeping it full. And besides, you’ll have to make food choices for a whole other person very soon, so I believe in trusting you right now.

 

In fact, I encourage you to indulge your cravings on occasion! Treat yourself! Most of us can do this while still following a doctor’s orders about caring for gestational diabetes or preventing weight gain. Like everything, it’s a balance.

That said, you are what you eat, and during pregnancy, so is your baby.

 

Sometimes, having a few things to focus on can make this simpler, and fortunately, experts have given us a list of a few critical vitamins and minerals.

 

Folate & Folic Acid

These nutrients are critical to the development of the baby’s brain. Prenatal vitamins have a great deal of folate in them in order to prevent neural tube defects in the baby, as well as to improve the growth of spinal cord and brain.

Calcium

This vitamin strengthens the baby’s bones and teeth. Ensuring that she has enough calcium also allows a pregnant woman’s circulatory, nervous and muscular to operate properly. Babies require so much calcium to grow that they will take it from their mother’s body, so supplements are often helpful to keep everyone strong.

Vitamin D

Many of us in the US are lacking in vitamin D throughout our lives. It is particularly important during pregnancy, because it allows for calcium to be absorbed, and promotes the baby’s bone strength and teeth. Vitamin D may also aid in our mood and energy, which is always helpful during pregnancy.

Protein

Just like anyone who is developing muscle, protein matters during pregnancy. It is essential to the growth of the baby throughout pregnancy, as all of the tissues of the infant are being developed in the uterus. In addition, it keeps pregnant folks well nourished and energized.

Iron

This critical nutrient prevents low birth weight in the developing baby. And since pregnant folks are more prone to anemia than at other times in life, many providers encourage iron supplements. Iron also contributes to lower risk of postpartum depression and other postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs).

 

The good news is, none of those nutrients are obscure and hard to find.

If you focus on eating leafy greens, lean sources of protein and a variety of fruits and veggies (in addition to the treats), you should be in good shape.

The vitamins and minerals that you need are available in a variety of foods, and all will be provided by a prenatal vitamin.

Growing a baby takes not just optimism and strength. It requires resources from our bodies. Even on a day when you do “nothing”, if you’re pregnant, internally you’re still working hard.

So take care of yourself. Talk to your provider about making sure that your nutrition puts back in some of what the baby is using.

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