There are many reasons to care about following an excellently nutritious diet during your pregnancy. Malnutrition and other serious health risks are more likely to occur if you are not eating the right foods to keep you and your baby healthy. If you have gestational diabetes or preexisting diabetes, or if you are overweight, eating a balanced diet is even more important to make sure your pregnancy is as healthy as it can be. Here is a guide to pregnancy nutrition that will help you figure out what you should eat and what you should avoid while pregnant.
Foods to Eat
Choosing foods that meet your pregnancy nutrition needs involves ensuring that you are getting the proper nutrients to nourish you and your baby as well as gain or maintain weight, depending on what stage of pregnancy you are currently in. You probably already know how important fruits and vegetables are for a balanced diet, so make sure you eat a variety of both. You will also want to eat foods that are good sources of protein, such as poultry, lean meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, and beans. These foods also contain other vital vitamins and minerals that you need to stay well while pregnant. Additionally, whole grains, which can be found in everything from bagels to pasta to cereals, supply a wide range of nutrients that are necessary to keep you and your baby healthy. Make sure that your cereals and other grain-based foods are enriched and contain either folate or folic acid, which are two forms of an extremely important nutrient that is crucial during pregnancy. A high level of unsaturated fat, which can be found in vegetable oil, nuts, fish, and flaxseeds, should also be a part of your nutrition plan. Eating all of these nutritious foods in the proper amounts for your health and dietary needs will help you meet your daily nutrient goals while you are expecting.
Foods and Substances to Avoid
While it is true that you need to get a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients while pregnant, there are still some foods and substances to avoid. While 200 mg of caffeine is generally considered safe during pregnancy, you will definitely want to watch how much caffeinated tea, coffee, and other drinks you are consuming, and you may want to opt for decaffeinated versions of your favorite concoctions for now. Alcoholic beverages are completely off-limits, as they can cause great harm to you and your child while pregnant. Many herbal supplements can be dangerous to you and baby, so avoid them during pregnancy, especially if you have not consulted with a healthcare provider about their use. Vitamin A supplements need to be avoided as well, as high levels can be dangerous for your growing infant. While sugars, fats, and oils are okay to consume in moderation, make sure that the fats and oils you are eating are healthy ones and that sugary snacks are only an occasional treat or eliminated completely. If you have any questions about the soundness of your diet, do not be afraid to contact your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Where to Get Help
If you are having trouble creating an eating plan that is right for you, it may be time to get help from an obstetric medical provider who can guide you in creating a pregnancy nutrition plan that is aligned with your and your baby’s specific needs. If yours is a high-risk pregnancy, a nurse practitioner at Arizona’s Valley Perinatal Services can help you create a diet that will assist you in minimizing complications before, during, and after labor. Planning a healthy diet with a wide range of nutrients can be complicated — seeking professional assistance is sometimes the best way to go to protect your and your baby’ best interests.