Proper Diet for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
Healthy women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need to add 300 to 500 calories more to their usual caloric intake. This is ideal in order to meet their new energy requirement and at the same time support the baby’s growth.
Eating a wide array of healthy foods is vital in keeping your body and the baby healthy during both pregnancy and breastfeeding stages. Below is a list of essential nutrients that you need to consume in balance to keep up with the changes on your dietary requirement:
To ensure proper development of the baby’s bones and teeth, and also to prevent your own bones and teeth from suffering, you need to consume foods that are rich in calcium. Pregnant and lactating women have a daily requirement of 1,000 mg of calcium. You can get high levels of calcium from dairy products, fortified cereals and juices, spinach, and other green and leafy vegetables.
The right amount of carbohydrates provide you with ample energy you ned to support the development of the baby inside you during pregnancy. Moreover, you also need additional energy when breastfeeding. Carbohydrates can be sourced from whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
Eat fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits and veggies to avoid pregnancy-related constipation.
Folic acid is one important vitamin required in proper development of the brain and spinal cord of the baby. You can get folic acid from green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fortified cereals.
Apart from the mentioned nutrients, a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding should also eat foods that are rich in healthy fats like salmon, avocado and olive oil.
Iodine is also a vital mineral and can be sourced from seafoods and fortified salt. Iron and protein are also important in aiding with the development of the baby and also keeping your body healthy during pregnancy and lactation. Good sources of iron and protein include meat, fish, poultry, liver, green and leafy vegetables and lentils.
Additionally, vitamins A, B6, B12, and C are also vital and you can get these from fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, you can get vitamin D by having a healthy dose of sunlight, preferably during the early morning; and from egg yolks, fortified juices and supplements.