Once a woman finds out she is pregnant, her whole world changes, especially since having to care for the baby starts as soon as they are in the womb. Along with having to deal with pregnancy changes, both physically and mentally, moms-to-be also have the important task of watching the foods they consume. There are some that can help the baby develop healthily, while others, they simply won't like.
Additionally, you will be overwhelmed because you know that your life is about to change, forever. And, you will want to make sure that you are eating the best types of foods for your baby. If you have heard that you must microwave deli meats, stay away from raw eggs and anything that is not pasteurized such as cheese and milk, you heard right. Foods like that can contain harmful bacteria that can be quite deadly for the unborn baby.
However, you may also not be aware of some foods that you should eat that you might have thought was bad for your baby. Now that we are on this topic, let's go over 15 foods that will keep your unborn baby healthy, and five foods that your baby won't like.
20 Greek Yogurt
I have to admit that one of the foods that did turn me off during both of my pregnancies was any type of yogurt. But the fact of the matter is, yogurt not only contains calcium and other important minerals- but probiotics. According to Healthline, probiotic bacteria that Greek yogurt contains is essential for the digestive health.
Probiotics also reduce the risk of pregnancy-related complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. That said when mom-to-be is being kept healthy, then the baby will be healthy as well. And Greek yogurt can help with that. If you don't like yogurt at all, you can always take probiotic supplements.
19 The Milky Goodness
Unfortunately, I never liked milk. But I was able to drink chocolate milk during my pregnancies. The sugar content is higher, but I kept it to a minimum and took supplements of vitamins and minerals that are found in dairy products. I knew it was important for the unborn baby.
According to Healthline, milk and other dairy products contain not only calcium which is important for bone development- and to keep mom's bones strong- but it has other essential vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins. These minerals and vitamins are important for the baby's tissue and bone development. If you don't like milk, you can get the same vitamins and minerals from other sources.
18 Stock Up On Legumes
If you are pregnant and have a craving for lentil soup or a falafel, then that is one type of craving to indulge. Lentils, along with chickpeas, beans, peanuts, and peas which are legumes are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that your unborn baby needs.
According to Healthline, legumes are a great source of fiber, calcium, iron, and folate- which is crucial to consume. Folate helps drastically reduce the odds of serious neural tube defects in the unborn baby. Iron is essential for anemia prevention. And, fiber helps reduce constipation, as that is one annoying side effect of being pregnant.
17 Indulge In Salmon
If you are pregnant and you are worried about consuming fish, there is no need to be concerned about consuming salmon. Only the fish that have high mercury levels such as swordfish, tuna steaks, King mackerel and shark meat are the types of fish to avoid. But salmon is not only very low in mercury levels to a point where it won't do any kind of harm- but it is very rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
According to Healthline, it is important that pregnant women get two to three servings of salmon or other fatty fish that is low in mercury levels per week. These fatty acids are essential for the baby's brain and eye development. You can also take Omega 3 supplements that contain DHA and EPA if you are allergic to fish or you are turned off by it as well.
16 Don't Skimp On Sweet Potatoes
If you are pregnant and have a craving for fries, why not do your baby a favor and get sweet potato fries. Many restaurants offer that option, even if you have to pay extra for it. Sweet potatoes have important nutrients that are important for the baby's development.
According to Healthline, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which is a plant compound which converts to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for cell and tissue development in the unborn baby. In fact, pregnant women are encouraged to increase their Vitamin intake from 10 to 40 percent a day for this reason.
However, Vitamin A that is found in animal protein can be toxic so it is best to stay away from that. Stick with Vitamin A from plant sources like sweet potatoes that have beta-carotene.
15 Eggs Are A Superfood
Eggs are truly a superfood, especially for pregnant women to eat. According to Healthline, it is one of the best foods to consume for the unborn baby.
That is because eggs contain many important minerals, fats, and vitamins. Additionally, eggs are rich in choline which is essential for the baby's brain development. One large egg contains 113 mg of choline which is a quarter of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women.
Choline supplements are also available if you are allergic to eggs, or if you are completely turned off by eggs during your pregnancy. Either way, it is important to get at least 450 mg of choline a day.
14 Dark Leafy Greens
You may have already heard how important it is to consume dark leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce, Brussel sprouts, spinach and asparagus during pregnancy. That is because, according to Healthline, it is not only rich in antioxidants but have vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy fetal development.
Dark leafy greens also contain folate which once again, reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. Not to mention, your system will benefit from it as well. These vegetables are rich in fiber and since constipation is a common complaint during pregnancy, fiber will help correct that!
Whether you like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or blackberries, you can enjoy all of them because they are a healthy snack. And if you are pregnant, you can enjoy that snack because berries contain vitamins and minerals that are good for your unborn baby.
According to Healthline, berries contain water, antioxidants, fiber, and are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, which will help prevent anemia. Vitamin C is important not just for your own immune function but for the baby's tissue development. Berries are a sweet and a guilt-free snack, and your unborn baby will like it too!
12 Lean Meat
Lean meats are very important to consume during pregnancy. It does not matter if it is beef, turkey, chicken or pork. As long as it is lean, it is an essential protein. Lean meats are rich in choline, B vitamins, as well as in iron.
According to Healthline, lean meats have the most concentration of iron, and during pregnancy, you want to make sure that you are getting enough. Your red blood cells rely on iron to help deliver oxygen through the rest of your body. And this is especially important since your blood volume starts to increase during the second trimester.
If you don't get enough iron, you will become anemic which can lead to complications such as premature delivery or low birth weight. Since many pregnant women have an aversion to meat (I did only if I was cooking it but eating meat didn't bother me), an iron supplement will be necessary.
11 Cod Liver Oil
Hearing that term may cause you to gag but here is the thing, cod liver oil is rich in Vitamin D. And you need to have enough Vitamin D while you are pregnant so you can reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia, according to Healthline.
If you get enough Vitamin D in your diet, you will be more likely to carry to term and to have a baby that is of a healthy birth weight. Cod Liver Oil also is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which is essential for proper brain and eye development. You can always take cod liver oil as a supplement as well, so that is good news if the idea of taking it otherwise makes you sick.
10 Whole Grains
There is never a reason to be carb-phobic, especially when it comes to the right kind of carbs to eat. You need carbs for energy. Just stay away from refined sugar and refined carbs. If you much on whole grain bread, crackers, brown rice, whole grain pasta and so on, then you have nothing to worry about.
According to Healthline, whole grains are loaded with fiber, which the body needs to stay regular, as well as important vitamins and minerals for the unborn baby- including folate. Besides once you hit the second trimester, your calorie needs increases and whole grains will help give you the energy you need without it causing spikes to your insulin levels and blood sugar- like refined carbs do.
I absolutely love avocados and this is a great food to eat, especially during pregnancy. According to Healthline, avocados are rich in important vitamins and minerals, as well as folate, and are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.
These healthy fats are essential for your unborn baby's skin and tissue development as well as brain development as well. This superfood also is rich in potassium which will help reduce leg cramps. So why not cut up the flesh of an avocado, and get yourself some whole grain chips, and you can enjoy having a cool and healthy nacho snack that you and your unborn baby will love?!
8 Dried Fruit
Dried fruit such as prunes and dates are good to enjoy but in small amounts. They are high in calories and in sugar. While you are pregnant, you definitely need more calories but you need to be easy on the sugar. However, according to Healthline, dried fruits eaten in moderation are a good snack for you and your unborn baby.
They are rich in vitamins, minerals, including folate, and they are rich in potassium and fiber. According to the same source, dates eaten in the later part of the third trimester can help with cervical dilation which means the odds of having to induce labor will be lower. Just remember to enjoy in moderation.
7 Lots Of Water
Even though water is not technically a food, it is essential to drink during pregnancy- and even otherwise. The last thing you want to deal with is dehydration as that can be serious and deadly. And serious dehydration will put your unborn baby in danger as well. If you are feeling anxious, have a headache, and have a hard time remembering things- it may be hormones to blame but you may not be drinking enough water.
Water can be difficult to drink, especially during pregnancy. However, according to Healthline, you can also get water from fruits and vegetables. You can also look into drinking teas that are safe during pregnancy like mint or rooibos tea. Ginger tea is also good if you are having a difficult time with nausea. And water is also important to help reduce the risk of constipation as well. The recommended daily intake is 34–68 ounces of water, or one to two liters a day.
6 Dark Chocolate
You will be happy to learn that consuming dark chocolate during pregnancy is not only fine, but it is recommended. According to Pregnancy Magazine, dark chocolate is loaded with iron, antioxidants, magnesium, as well as flavonoids which help your cardiovascular system.
Additionally, dark chocolate is a great source of serotonin which will help reduce stress and depression. This also means you will be happy, and a happy momma translates to a happy baby- whether the baby is in the womb or has been born. But it is important to have chocolate that has 70% cocoa. Otherwise, you will not get the benefits and end up getting sugar that you don't need, which your baby will also not like.
5 Avoid: High-Mercury Seafood
Now that we are on the topic of consuming fish during pregnancy, again fish like salmon, trout and shrimp are not only safe to eat but are good for your baby. However, according to Baby Center, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have told pregnant women to avoid fish that have high mercury content.
Examples of these fish are swordfish, shark meat, tuna steaks, King mackerel, and tilefish. Mercury consumption can be bad for the baby's brain development and the nervous system. They are even saying that if you want to eat canned tuna, it is best not to consume more than six ounces a week.
4 Avoid: Fried Foods
It has been known that trans fats are bad for anyone since the 1990's. And according to Baby Center, most fast food chains use oils that are not hydrogenated. However, some chains do use oil that is partially hydrogenated which means those are trans fats- and it is quite bad for you more than you may even realize.
Not only do trans fats cause your bad cholesterol to spike, but it lowers your good cholesterol as well. And if you are pregnant and eating foods that are high in trans fats, the baby may have a lower birth weight. If you want to go and get fast food, it is best to ask the restaurant what kind of oil it uses.
3 Avoid: Frozen Meals
You may be wanting to stock up on frozen dinners for the sake of convenience. However, these foods are usually very high in sodium which can increase the risk of preeclampsia according to Baby Center. Pregnancy makes you swell up as it is, and the last thing you would want is anything that is high in sodium to worsen the issue.
Other foods that are high in sodium are anything that is processed like bread and rolls, canned soup, pre-made lunches, and snacks. These foods are not even adding any nutritional value to your unborn baby- and are increasing the chances of you having complications. It is best to avoid processed foods and frozen dinners.
2 Avoid: Sugary Foods
You may be having cravings for sweets during your pregnancy, and there is nothing wrong with giving into it every now and then. However, if you are eating cookies, candies, and other sweets in large quantities daily- you are increasing your chances of developing gestational diabetes.
Additionally, foods that are high in sugar rarely have any nutritional value other than ice cream and dried fruits. Even those must be eaten in moderation. According to Baby Center, there are many foods that you would not think have a high sugar content, but do- such as salad dressings, cereals, pretzels, popcorn, bread and rolls, and sodas!
1 Avoid: Too Much Coffee
You may have already stopped drinking coffee altogether after finding out that you were pregnant. However, according to Baby Center, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that pregnant women should limit their intake to less than 200 mg of coffee a day which is an 11 oz cup.
A little bit of caffeine is not harmful, and if it was, then dark chocolate would not be a recommended food. However, anything more than 200 mg of caffeine will cross through the placenta and the baby will not be able to process the caffeine effectively. That means the chances of a miscarriage or premature birth would be higher. You can still have a small cup of joe every morning, but make sure that is all you stick to.
Sources: Healthline.com, PregnancyMagazine.com, BabyCenter.com