During pregnancy, your little one depends on you to provide the nutrition they need. That’s why it’s time to make sure you’re making the best food choices for baby — and for yourself.
It’s important to eat a well-balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and veggies. These powerful foods have much of what you — and your baby — need to stay healthy.
Let’s talk about the very best ones you’ll want to keep on hand. And don’t forget: Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are often just as nutritious as the fresh kind, so don’t feel like you have to get them all straight from the farmer’s market.
When you’re pregnant, it’s important to eat nutritious food and avoid empty calories. In fact, if you eat mostly junk food during your pregnancy, you may be setting up your baby for a lifelong preference for fat and sugar, according to a 2013 study.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with nutrients. When you add a variety of them to your diet, you’ll likely get most of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you and your baby need.
Eating fruits and vegetables also helps prevent constipation, a common symptom during pregnancy. Get thee to a produce aisle and you won’t regret it.
If you’re pregnant, you might be craving something sugary. But try not to make a habit of reaching for a piece of cake or a candy bar to satisfy that sweet tooth. Fruit is the perfect solution.
It offers the sweetness you crave and the nutrition you need. Enjoy these fruits as part of a healthy pregnancy diet in salads, in smoothies, over yogurt, or as a snack anytime.
Oranges help you stay hydrated. They’re also a great source of folate, or folic acid. Folate is a B vitamin that’s very important in helping prevent brain and spinal cord defects, also known as neural tube defects.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends taking 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid per day before you start trying for a baby, then at least 600 mcg per day while pregnant.
Oranges are a
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that these little vitamin bombs are so tasty.
Mangoes are another great source of vitamin C. One cup gives you
Mangoes are also high in vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency at birth is associated with lower immunity and a higher risk of complications, like diarrhea and respiratory infections.
Although rare, it’s possible to get too much vitamin A, according to a
Avocados have more folate than other fruits. They’re also a
- vitamin C
- vitamin B
- vitamin K
Some women say that avocados help relieve nausea, possibly because of the potassium and magnesium in the fruit.
Potassium may also help relieve leg cramps, a common pregnancy symptom. Leg cramps are often caused by low potassium and magnesium.
Choline is important for the development of your baby’s brain and nerves. Choline deficiency may cause neural tube defects and lifetime memory impairment.
Here are tons of ways to sneak delicious avo into your meals.
Lemons are also high in vitamin C. They help stimulate the digestive system to relieve constipation.
Consider adding some to your water or tea or using them in this Mediterranean lemon chicken recipe.
Constipation is very common during pregnancy. It may be caused by:
- uterine pressure on the intestines
- a low-fiber diet
- iron in prenatal vitamins
Adding fiber-rich bananas may help.
Berries — such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and goji berries — are rich in all kinds of goodness, such as:
- vitamin C
They also contain phytonutrients like flavonoids and anthocyanins.
Carbohydrates give you much-needed energy, and they pass easily through your placenta to nourish your baby.
It’s important to eat mostly nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates like berries instead of processed, simple carbohydrates like doughnuts, cakes, and cookies.
Consider whipping up a smoothie with both bananas and berries for a vitamin-packed meal or snack.
For the best bang for your nutrient buck, eat the peel — just make sure to rinse it with lots of water first.
Apples are portable and can be added to many recipes, so make sure to stock up when you’re filling your produce bag.
Medical professionals usually recommend eating two to four servings of fruit and four to five servings of vegetables each day.
In general, one serving of fruit is:
- a medium piece of whole fruit (about the size of a tennis ball)
- 1 cup of cut fruit
One serving size of vegetables is:
- 1/2 cup of raw or cooked vegetables
- 1/2 cup of vegetable juice
- 1 cup of leafy greens
When it comes to 100% fruit juices, as long as they’re pasteurized, they’re safe to drink. But you may miss out on some of the nutrients in juice form.
Dried fruit can also be used to get nutrients in an on-the-go form. Just be aware that they can be more calorie- and sugar-dense than their fresh counterparts.
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in. It’s always serious, but it’s especially concerning during pregnancy.
Water helps form the placenta and amniotic sac. It also supports your baby’s growth.
If you’re experiencing morning sickness, your risk of dehydration is higher. To avoid dehydration, drink 8 to 12 glasses of water daily. Because fruits contain water, they can help you stay hydrated.
If possible, purchase organic fruit that hasn’t been treated with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. But keep in mind that eating nonorganic fruit is much better than eating no fruit at all.
To lessen your risk of consuming pesticide residue or bacteria, follow these tips:
- Wash fruit thoroughly, even if it’s prewashed.
- Remove any bruised areas where bacteria may lurk.
- Drink only pasteurized or boiled fruit juice.
- Avoid eating precut melons, or eat them immediately after cutting.
- Store fresh fruit in the refrigerator, away from raw meat.
Eating fruit during pregnancy helps ensure that you and your baby stay healthy and ready to take on the world.
Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits are all good options. Just make sure no sugar has been added to canned or frozen varieties.
Contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy eating plan. If you need more advice on what to eat, here are 13 foods that are great choices.
What causes food cravings during pregnancy?Anonymous patient
You may have heard that hormones or nutrient deficiencies cause pregnancy food cravings. For example, if you crave green apples, you may be deficient in pectin, potassium, or vitamin A. The truth is, it’s unclear what causes pregnancy cravings. You may simply want something that tastes tart and sweet. As long as you’re craving foods, it’s OK to give in now and then. If your cravings are unhealthy, try to find healthier alternatives. Call your doctor if you crave non-foods like laundry starch or dirt.Nicole Galan, RNAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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