What you eat when you are pregnant is vitally important to the growth and health of your baby, and yourself. It is important to have a well rounded diet that includes all the food groups- grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and some healthy fats and oils- to ensure you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins that will keep you healthy and support the development of your baby.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Both vitamins and minerals are important in helping your body function properly. While you are pregnant you need more of some vitamins and other nutrients than a woman who is not pregnant. These extra nutrients and vitamins support the healthy development of your baby. Folic acid is extremely important in proper development of your baby. Consistently getting enough of this B vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord).
Iron is another extremely important vitamin to make sure you are getting enough of while you are pregnant. Basically, iron helps your body create more red blood cells to help get adequate amounts of oxygen to your growing baby. Some foods that are high in iron content are prune juice, poultry, fish, and iron-fortified cereals.
Making an effort to get enough calcium is important for both you and baby. The extra calcium you take in helps build your baby’s teeth and bones. The best sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.
Foods to Avoid
There are some foods that you should skip or be extremely careful eating while pregnant to avoid harming your baby or exposing them to toxins during stages of vital development. Avoid eating raw meat or under-cooked meat because there is risk of coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. Deli meat is another thing to be careful with while pregnant because it can contain traces of listeria. Listeria is a bacteria that can make you sick but can also cross the placenta and infect your baby which can be life threatening.
Fish is another food that pregnant women need to be careful about eating. There are many types of fish that contain high levels of mercury which have been linked to brain damage or developmental delays.
Raw eggs are also on the list to avoid during pregnancy because of the potential exposure to salmonella. This includes any food or dishes that may contain raw eggs.
This is not a complete list of food, nutrients, or vitamins that you should or should not eat. Talk with your doctor or a certified nutritionist to get full details and an individualized meal plan to make sure you are getting all the necessary nutrients for healthy development of your baby and the proper nutrition for yourself.