Eating for two? The right pregnancy diet supports your baby’s development while ensuring your body receives all the nutrients it needs too! But where do you even begin?
Our all-female team of board-certified specialists at OBGYN Westside PLLC in the Upper West Side of New York City, provides top-notch prenatal care to expectant mothers 一 and that includes guidance on nutritional needs during (and after) pregnancy.
Below, we’ve created a guide to help you fine-tune your pregnancy diet.
Essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy
Eating the right vitamins and minerals (whether in food or supplement form) ensures that your growing baby receives the right nutrition. Folic acid, for example, helps prevent a specific kind of birth defect called neural tube defects.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant mothers consume 600 micrograms of folic acid per day. You can find folic acid in dark leafy vegetables, beans, peas, oranges, and fortified foods.
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for your baby’s bone and tooth development. Vitamin D also supports healthy eye development. Omega 3 fatty acids and choline support your baby’s brain.
Other nutrients, such as the B vitamins, support your body. For example, vitamin B12 boosts your energy, helps your body build the placenta, and helps you combat pregnancy-related fatigue.
Pregnant women also need 27 milligrams of iron per day. This increase helps your body create more blood. Fun fact: your blood volume increases by an average of 45% during pregnancy, which means that iron is essential!
It can be hard to consume all of the recommended values of each of these nutrients, especially if you’re dealing with morning sickness. That’s why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all pregnant women take a high-quality prenatal supplement throughout their pregnancy and lactation.
Some women may need additional supplements, such as iron supplements or DHA supplements, to address specific deficiencies during pregnancy. During your routine prenatal appointments, your OBGYN Westside provider discusses your specific supplement needs in more detail.
The best foods to eat during pregnancy
Even if you take a prenatal vitamin, it’s still important to include healthy foods into your diet. The best foods to eat during pregnancy are packed with vitamins, minerals, and the essential macronutrients you need. Examples of nutrient-dense, pregnancy-safe food include:
- Darkly leafy greens, especially iron-rich spinach
- Protein, such as chicken, hummus, beans, eggs (thoroughly cooked), and tuna
- Fiber-rich snacks such as dates, whole grains, black beans, and pears
- Pasteurized cheese, such as cheddar, Colby jack, cottage cheese, or provolone
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges or grapefruit
- Iron-rich foods such as chicken, beans, kale, and spinach
- Fresh produce, such as cucumbers, apricots, apples, and sweet bell peppers
- Dairy products, including milk, Greek yogurt, and kefir
What you don’t eat is just as important during pregnancy. While you’re adding in more healthy items, be sure to skip the following items during pregnancy: high-mercury fish, cold cuts, raw honey, unpasteurized dairy products, raw or undercooked meat or seafood, alcohol, sprouts, unwashed produce, caffeine, some herbal teas, and pâté.
Staying hydrated during pregnancy
Now that we’ve covered essential vitamins and examples of the best pregnancy-safe foods, let’s explore your hydration needs during pregnancy. Aim to drink 8-12 cups of water per day. Adequate hydration helps to produce additional blood, form amniotic fluid, build new tissue, carry nutrients, support your digestion, and flush out wastes more efficiently.
If you need help consuming enough water, you can add fresh berries, mint leaves, or lemon slices to make a tasty treat. You can also drink pasteurized juice, pregnancy-safe tea, and milk.
Questions? For more information regarding your pregnancy diet or to schedule your next prenatal appointment at OBGYN Westside, call our office or book an appointment online.