Eating healthy whole foods during pregnancy will benefit both you and your baby. Your baby will also be more willing to try whole foods once solid foods are introduced in infancy.
Eating healthfully will help you:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Birth-weight is directly influenced by the mother’s pre-pregnancy weight.
- Minimize minor pregnancy problems. Heartburn, constipation, fatigue, and mood swings are all considered minor complications. You can avoid or greatly minimize these complications by eating healthfully and consistently throughout the day.
- Ensure that enough energy and nutrients are available for you and your baby. Did you know that mood swings, fatigue and even lowered resistance to colds and infections are the result of inadequate caloric intake and iron deficiency?
- Supply the proper nutrition to speed the recuperating process. Your body will require energy and nutritional resources to heal itself after the baby is born.
Eating healthfully will help your baby, by:
- Providing the building blocks for growth and development. The number one building block for bones, brain tissue, blood, muscles, ligaments, hair, fingernails and other tissues is protein. A healthful diet will ensure that you are getting the right amount and types of lean protein sources for your baby to thrive.
- Providing the right nutrients for the different phases of growth. By the third trimester you’ll need to increase your calcium intake by 300 mg/ day. This provides adequate calcium to build your baby’s strong bones and teeth.
- Achieving an adequate birth weight. This will reduce your baby’s risk of low birth weight complications.
- Reducing the risk of birth defects. The most critical time of fetus formation occurs in the earliest weeks of the pregnancy. Since many pregnancies are unplanned and a woman’s first awareness of her pregnancy is often after that crucial time, preconception care and planning are key to ensuring a healthy baby.