3 Nutrient Dense Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

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Common sense tells every expectant mother that eating energy-rich food is not only good for their health, but also vital for the developing fetus in their womb. If you are pregnant, it is worth noting that all the essential minerals and nutrients for your unborn baby must come from what you eat. Whatever you consume nourishes your body as well as your growing body. An energy-rich diet during pregnancy can ease delivery and speed your recovery after your baby is born. This is the main reason medical professionals recommend eating healthy before you conceive and during the months that follow. Your diet should help you maintain weight gain within a healthy range and lower the risk of health problems to you and your baby after he or she is born.

Meeting Energy Needs
If you want to develop a healthy baby, you must take in extra energy that comes from the calories you consume in your diet. You should aim to eat an extra 300 calories every day during your second and third trimester. This means you should focus on having 2-3 extra servings on top of your regular meals. However, it doesn’t mean that you should double your portions because you are eating for two. Focus on healthy food options such as low-fat foods or fat-free dairy products which are also rich in calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and other essential nutrients for the development of your baby’s bones, muscles and nerves.

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Reduces Pregnancy Side Effects
Several negative side effects can occur during pregnancy if you rely on a diet that doesn’t meet your energy and nutritional needs as well as those of your unborn baby. Common side effects include morning sickness, anemia, constipation, heartburn, nausea, fatigue and other unpleasant pregnancy problems. A well-balanced diet improves changes in your mood, may improve labor and delivery and may reduce, or even eliminate, certain negative side effects.

Helps Ensure Healthy Birth Weight
Many nutritionists suggest that by following a healthy diet rich in energy and other essential nutrients, will help you gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy which, in turn, increases your likelihood for giving birth to a healthy and strong baby. Your diet during pregnancy helps set the pace at which your child will develop after delivery. A high-energy and nutritious diet has been linked with normal birth-weight, improved fetal brain formation and decreases the risk of birth defects.

Speeds Recovery After Delivery
Even if you meet all the other dietary requirements during pregnancy, it might take you a little longer to recover after delivery if you don’t eat nutrient dense foods that are rich in energy and other essential nutrients. High protein foods during pregnancy will ensure that you have adequate reserves to facilitate all major functions in your body including metabolism, bone healing, muscle repair, and milk production after delivery. Lack of sleep and the dramatic changes that occur from being a pregnant woman to a new mom can leave you feeling exhausted several weeks after delivery. Replenish your energy reserves by eating energy-rich food and make sure to get adequate rest.

Best Foods To Eat
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends consuming a diet rich in all essential nutrients including carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and protein. Try to cope with food aversions and cravings that develop sooner or later after conception. Some of the best energy-rich foods to eat during pregnancy include:

#1. Brown Rice
This is a whole, unrefined grain produced by simply removing the surrounding hull of the rice kernel. It is rich in fiber and nutrients, such as calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, B-vitamins, manganese, vitamin E and vitamin K. Health benefits of brown rice include improved functioning of cardiovascular, digestive, brain and nervous systems. This food helps in the maintenance of healthy bones and strengthens the immune system, which are crucial for expectant mothers. Minerals and dietary fiber in brown rice improve digestion and absorption of other nutrients along the digestive tract without causing intestinal irritations, inflammations and allergic reactions. A study published by the National Institute of Health found that pre-germinated brown rice can enhance maternal mental health after delivery while reducing changes in mood and fatigue.

#2. Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a good source of slow-burning carbohydrates and fiber. The American Pregnancy Association found that oatmeal is loaded with iron and folic acid, both of which are essential in the prenatal period. Folic acid averts birth defects like spina bifida, a condition that affects the spinal cord, and underdevelopment of the brain. Iron prevents anemia that is a common problem that affects many expectant women. Other health benefits of oatmeal include curbing weight gain, preventing oxidation of arteries, reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol, helps to prevent type-2 diabetes and bolsters the immune system. Oatmeal is best served at breakfast as a great source of energy to jump-start several metabolic functions in your body.

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#3. Yogurt
Other than being a good source of energy for expectant women, yogurt is also rich in calcium and probiotics. However, yogurt that is not pasteurized may contain bacteria that can be harmful to your body or your baby. Calcium acquired from dairy products promotes proper growth and development of healthy bones for yourself as well as those of your baby. On the other hand, probiotics are healthy bacteria that promote the growth of your child while improving digestion along your digestive tract. Yogurt alleviates digestive complications such as indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating among others. Avoid full-fat yogurt and other full-fat dairy products as they contain an excessive amount of saturated fats which can contribute to heart problems, weight gain and digestive complications. Aim for about 600 mg of pasteurized yogurt every day to meet your daily calcium requirements if you are an expectant mother.

Conclusion
A diet rich in energy is crucial, particularly if you are pregnant. It fuels vital functions in your body while ensuring proper development and growth of your baby. An energy-rich diet should also contain all other essential nutrients that improve immunity, promote bone and muscle development along with boosting digestion and metabolic processes in your body. Your diet should also cater to all energy requirements during pregnancy, at birth and during the recovery phase. By maintaining a nutrient dense and healthy diet, it will help decrease common pregnancy problems like constipation, fatigue, mood swings and others. Also, an energy-rich and balanced diet diminishes the odds of birth defects while ensuring a healthy birth weight. While food cravings and aversions may arise in expectant women, it is always important to consult with your doctor for additional support in case issues arise.

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About Author

Meighan Sembrano

Meighan Sembrano has studied health at San Beda College of Law. She specializes in women’s sexual health, weight loss, fitness and beauty. Her articles are well-researched and very thorough on the topics she covers. See Meighan's profile page for more information!

1 Comment

  1. These are very healthy choices and I personally have these daily. I am expecting a new baby this year. Great post!

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