No matter what trimester you are in, pregnancy changes up your dietary likes and dislikes. Especially in the first trimester, you gain aversions to foods you may have usually eaten on a daily basis. Your leftovers from that lunch you loved now smell horrid and have to be dumped out. You may battle nausea, insatiable hunger pangs, or both at the same time.
Sure, you may not need to eat for two necessarily, but listen to your body. If you feel hungry when you normally wouldn’t be, then eat. You probably need it. If you do not feel hungry and can’t keep anything down, don’t worry. Your prenatal vitamin will cover the necessities for the baby’s health until you can start eating again.
Below are 5 foods to help both you and the baby achieve optimal nutritional success.
1. Dairy Products
As your fetus grows, it needs extra protein and calcium. Dairy contains high amounts of both. Try adding in extra yogurt, especially greek yogurt, into your diet as it contains more calcium than many other dairy products and probiotics that aid in your digestion. No matter how far along you are, you may have noticed that your gut is struggling a little harder to digest things these days. Probiotics can help you break down and absorb the food while also reducing your risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Legumes, one of the most fun words to say out loud, provides pregnant women with high amounts of fiber, protein, iron, folate, and calcium. Folate is extremely important during these nine months as it helps construct healthy neural tubes and birth weight for the baby. If you are taking a prenatal vitamin, you can be sure that it includes folate and that you are consuming enough to support the baby. However, adding one cup of legumes to your diet each day will increase your folate levels by 65%-90%.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes provide you with beta-carotene that helps with tissue and cell growth. This plant-based compound turns to vitamin A in your body, which is essential in fetal development. Eating about 3.5-5.3 ounces of sweet potatoes will completely fill your daily need for the vitamin. Sweet potatoes also contain a high amount of fiber, reduce blood sugar, and improve digestive health.
4. Lean Meat
Beef, pork, chicken, and fish all contain quality amounts of protein. Beef and pork especially provide your body and the baby with iron, choline, and B vitamins. During pregnancy, you end up carrying almost twice as much blood as you normally would. An increased amount of iron will help deliver oxygen to the baby, keep it safe to full-term, and stabilize its birth weight. While you work on downing the meat, also try pairing it with foods that contain vitamin C, like bell peppers and oranges, as it will help you absorb the iron.
Bring on the berries! Berries are excellent sources of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Vitamin C can help improve your immunity as well as your skin health. The pregnancy glow is a real thing, but it is not universal. Conversely, the new hormones flooding in can cause breakouts and dry, patchy skin. But Vitamin C is your friend. Perfect to munch on, especially if you are in the mood for something sweet, these small snacks will not spike your blood sugar, but will provide you with extra fiber, water, and healthy carbs.