The basic principles of healthy eating remain the same during pregnancy. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fat, and lean protein. There are some important nutrients, however, that is very important for your baby’s development and requires extra attention:
- Folic acid or folate is a Vitamin B that will help prevent brain and spinal cord defects also known as neural tube defects. You will need about 800mcg of folate daily during your pregnancy. Some good sources of folate are leafy greens, beans, or fruits. Additionally, take a pre-natal vitamin daily to ensure you are receiving adequate nutrients.
- Vitamin D is important for bone growth. Good sources of Vitamin D include dairy, fatty fish, or orange juice.
- Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the rest of your body. During pregnancy, your body requires even more iron due to the increased volume. Inadequate amount of iron can cause fatigue for the mother. Good sources of iron include lean red meat, fish, or vegetables. Prenatal vitamins typically contain iron, but your doctor may also recommend separate iron supplements for you.
Pregnant women are extremely susceptible to being infected with food-borne bacteria Listeria causing Listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, generalized weakness, diarrhea, but can also cause other symptoms. Listeriosis is dangerous because it can cause stillbirth, miscarriage, or premature delivery. To help prevent liseriosis, avoid eating the following foods during pregnancy:
- Unpasteurized milk or food containing unpasteurized milk
- Refrigerated pate and meat spreads
- Refrigerated smoked foods
- Luncheon meats and cold cuts
- Raw and undercooked seafood, eggs, and meat