You have just found out you are pregnant, so there has never been a more critical time to eat well. The health risks to both yourself and your unborn child are magnified if you do not eat a good balance of nutritious foods before, during, and after your pregnancy. Fortunately, eating well has never been easier during pregnancy than it is now.
First, remember that once you hit the second trimester, you should be eating about 300 more calories a day than you normally would, assuming that you are the proverbial average person in terms of physical dimensions and activities level. Calories provide you with the extra energy that your body needs to grow your baby. Now, these extra calories do not give you a valid excuse to chow down on every foodstuff in your line of site! Remember that it is only an additional 300 calories, so a glass of milk plus one banana will get you two-thirds of the way through your extra calorie requirements. For comparison, check out how much more you will get if you opt for a glazed doughnut instead!
Remember that you need at least three servings of protein each day. Protein contains essential amino acids which are one probably the most important building blocks of your baby’s body tissue. Protein is very easy to come by and your options are endless. A reasonable daily serving of dairy protein could be three glasses of milk, two cups of yogurt along with 3 slices of hard cheese. Remember to mix it up along the way, so that you are balancing dairy with red meat, white fish, well-cooked chicken, cooked eggs, and beans. It is a good idea to shy away from soft cheeses, long-lived carnivorous fish, sushi and sashimi, raw eggs, and shellfish.
Next, you need at least four servings of calcium every day. Calcium is going to help grow your baby’s bones and help protect yours. Milk is the best way to get your fill of calcium, but you can also get your fill of calcium from hard cheeses, yogurt and even ice cream. Some expectant mothers relish bowl after bowl of heart-warming bone broth, or pop calcium pills to supplement their daily intake from food.
Aim for at least three servings of Vitamin C. Your body does not store Vitamin C so you need a fresh supply of it every day. You can eat fruit or almost any vegetable to get your Vitamin C intake up to healthy levels. You also want to make sure you get three to four servings of green leafy and yellow vegetables and fruits. Most of these veggies and fruits will also count toward your Vitamin C intake, so go ahead and enjoy those stuffed capsicums for dinner.
Fruit and Veg
You should get in one to two servings of all other fruit and vegetables that are not known for their Vitamin A and C value, but are still good for you all the same. Apples, banana, and onions are just a few that are in this category. Eat six or more servings of whole grains and legumes. These are filled with vitamins E and B and they help you battle constipation. Try eating brown rice, whole wheat breads and even air popped corn to get your servings of whole grains and legumes in.
Perhaps one of the most important nutrients you and your body need is iron. Your body’s demand for iron will never be greater than it is while you are pregnant. You want to make sure you are able to keep up with it. Not enough iron could lead to anemia so you want to make sure you are getting enough iron. If you feel that you are not, talk to your doctor and he might be able to prescribe you an iron supplement. Iron supplements can make constipation worse so remember those fibre-rich grains and drink lots of water!
Do Not Stress Out over Food
This article is just a tiny addition to the vast wealth of information available to expectant mothers out there. The sheer amount of information (some of it contradictory!) available online and in books can be overwhelming, however we encourage you to relax and follow your natural instincts when it comes to ‘eating for two’. If it smells funny, don’t eat it. If you crave a melon and bacon feast at midnight, go ahead. Don’t stuff yourself and don’t starve yourself. Enjoy the ride, there is a tiny new person growing inside of you!