Nutrition for Expectant Mothers

One of the best gifts you can give your unborn baby is a healthy diet.  The quality of what you put into your body can jump start your child’s physical and mental development.  Focus on essential nutrients and your baby and body will thank you.

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What should your diet look like?

There is no one specific diet that is recommended for all women.  You will find that your diet should follow along with the basic principles of healthy eating.  Take in adequate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.  It is important to eat a diet that offers a wide variety of nutrients.

 

What are the essential nutrients and what do they look like?

Folate and folic acid: prevent birth defects of the neurologic system.  This important nutrient can be found in fortified cereals, cooked lentils, spinach, broccoli, beans, asparagus, enriched pasta, and eggs.

 

Calcium: strengthens bones.  Calcium is found in a variety of dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese.  In addition, it can be found in dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli.

 

Protein: promotes cellular growth.  Protein is essential for healthy cell function and new cell growth.  Protein is found in meat sources including lean beef, chicken, turkey and fish.  Protein is also found in avocados, nuts, and seeds.  In addition, it is in dairy products like milk and greek yogurt.

 

Iron: prevents anemia and assists in oxygen transport for blood.  Iron can be found in fortified cereals, lean red meat, poultry, beans, fruit and egg yolks.

 

It is also important that you take a prenatal vitamin (ideally beginning before conception) to bridge any gaps you may have in your diet.  If you have any questions, speak with your prenatal healthcare team, specifically a nutritionist or nurse.