Being pregnant is a big deal, and it’s a time when women need to do all that they can to access premium nutrition. A fetus which is developing in the womb needs a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Without these nutrients, a fetus may not develop into a beautiful, bouncing baby boy or girl!
Of course, a mom-to-be also needs this type of nutritional support to feel good and have energy during pregnancy.
Today, we’d like to share some important information about how being pregnant impacts your diet and nutrition, as well as the development of your unborn baby. Our goal is to empower you so that you may take good care of yourself during this important phase of your life…
First, let’s talk about food cravings. Later, we’ll share some information about what pregnant women need regarding nutrition at this crucial time. Food cravings are so common, and they are actually pretty funny sometimes. For example, a woman who is expecting may ask her partner to run and get her some odd foods in the dead of night, or something like that. Or she may go and get them herself.
Do You Have Food Cravings?
Food cravings are something that a lot of women deal with during pregnancy. If you find yourself hankering for strange foods that you don’t normally want, or find that you are craving strange combinations of foods, you should know that you’re not alone. Lots of women do have food cravings, from standard fare like cheeseburgers to ice cream to potato chips and beyond. Every woman is different and cravings vary from basic “bad stuff,” such as junk food, to some seriously bizarre foods and food combinations.
Medical experts aren’t one hundred percent sure why these cravings strike. However, most doctors feel that they don’t do any harm, if the foods which are craved aren’t bad for you. If you do have a craving for junk food, finding a healthy substitute is probably the safest way to indulge.
For example, if you’re craving the legendary pickles and ice cream, choosing a low-fat frozen yogurt (a couple of pickles on top should be fine) which gives you access to calcium, vitamins, and minerals, without the fat and calories, will be a smart way to get rid of the craving. If you want a cheeseburger, make it yourself, with lean beef and low-fat cheese. Choose a multi-grain bun. This strategy will ensure that you are nourished, while still satisfying your craving.
Every pregnant woman is different. For example, one pregnant woman that we know craved chicken constantly and this may have been her unborn baby’s way of asking for more home iron. However, sometimes, she went for the bad stuff, such as a Big Crunch chicken sandwich from KFC, rather than getting her chicken in a healthier way, such as chopped and served on top of a salad. Sure, you can eat junk occasionally, but try not to make it a habit. You won’t feel good, and your baby deserves better.
It’s believed that there may be a link between cravings during pregnancy and the nutritional needs of the fetus! So, do pay attention to your cravings and find healthy ways to give your unborn baby what he or she is asking for.
How Do Hormones Impact These Cravings?
When women become pregnant, they experience increased production of two hormones, which are estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are usually made by the ovaries. However, when women are pregnant, these hormones are also made within their placentas. To put things into perspective, estrogen during week six of pregnancy is triple the level of estrogen in a woman’s body during her period. If you think about how different you feel before you menstruate, when hormones are building, and while you’re menstruating, you’ll have a sense of the power of these hormones and how they influence female moods and behaviors.
These hormones have so much power, and this includes the power to impact brain functioning. For example, estrogen influences mood and emotions. Both potent hormones are going to affect you emotionally when you are expecting. They may also affect the food cravings that you have. Hormones explain a lot regarding pregnant women being quite emotional and sensitive and craving food and drink items!
While certain aspects of food cravings during pregnancy are still misunderstood, it’s safe to say there is an element of the baby asking for what it needs (be it salt or iron or what have you) and hormones provoking cravings which are a bit out of the norm. As long as you’re not craving non-food items, such as paper or dirt, you should be ok. If you do have uncontrollable cravings for non-food items, we recommend speaking to your doctor about it. Sometimes, it’s a sign that women have deficiencies in their diet
What Foods Should Pregnant Women Eat?
Really, you don’t need to eat a lot of extra food to get enough calories for you and your baby. Experts indicate that three hundred extra calories are all that is needed to nourish a baby effectively. Naturally, the calories should be healthy calories. Rather than eating two cookies to get the extra calories, choose healthier options, such as a handful of nuts.
All calories ingested during pregnancy should be derived from eating and drinking things which are great for you and your unborn baby. Some women do overeat while pregnant, and it’s important to try and avoid this, as losing the post-baby weight can be tough.
In general, women gain between twenty-five and thirty-five pounds while they are expecting, but this does vary based on body type and BMI (body mass index). If you want a specific number regarding pounds that you should gain while you are expecting, use an online calculator which will determine your BMI.
Then, find another calculator which lets you know the right weight gain range for your BMI. Also, please talk to your doctor if you have questions. We are here to offer great advice, but it’s not designed to be a substitute for medical guidance from your physician!
So, you don’t need to gorge, although you may find that you’re very hungry. Again, hormones are at play. If you make good food choices, you should be able to feel satisfied without gaining too much weight. Some high-satiety foods which will make you feel full, without contributing to excess weight gain include nuts in moderate quantities, bananas, and berries. Find ways to satisfy your appetite without getting too far off track!
Which Nutrients Do You Need?
You need all the nutrients which are beneficial to human health. As well, you need folate, because this important vitamin is essential to preventing neural tube birth defects in developing fetuses. Folate is recommended as a supplement for women who want to get pregnant and women who are pregnant.
The earlier you take it, the better. It’s been proven to prevent up to seventy percent of the birth defects which occur in the neural tube during the first days and weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, women are encouraged to take folic acid (folate) supplements before they fall pregnant and during their pregnancies.
Again, your doctor will probably speak to you about this, but these types of prenatal vitamins are widely available and quite safe when taken as directed. Don’t play with quantities – take what your doctor tells you to take or take the recommended dosage on the bottle.
A typical dosage of folic acid per day, for pregnant women or for a woman who wants to get pregnant, is fifteen milligrams.
There are a few other nutrients that you’ll need more while you are pregnant. One example is protein. You should shoot for sixty milligrams of protein per day. As well, try to get twelve hundred milligrams of calcium and thirty milligrams of iron.
That pretty much covers it regarding what you need that isn’t just standard dietary requirements for a non-pregnant woman. We recommend getting most of these extra nutrient milligrams via diet, except for folate, which you should take as a supplement. If you want more calcium in your diet, consider adding more low-fat dairy products to your diet. You don’t need the full-fat versions. Also, spinach has calcium, as well as energizing iron.
Protein sources should be lean. It’s better to have a grilled chicken breast or baked turkey than to indulge in a fatty steak. However, there are plenty of protein sources out there, including tofu so you will have choices. Variety is important during pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to change it up. Also, if you’re sensitive to strong smells now, and this is quite common, try to avoid situations where these strong smells will be in the environment. Sometimes, negative reactions to strong smell trigger nausea.
Is Morning Sickness Affecting You?
Morning sickness is an annoying fact of life for many pregnant women, and it doesn’t always disappear when morning ends. Unfortunately, morning sickness does sometimes negatively impact a woman’s ability to get nutrition. She may not feel like eating because she’s sick.
If you have this problem, certain home remedies may help, such as a few sips of Gatorade, which is filled with stomach-soothing electrolytes and chewing a few dry crackers slowly. Keep dry crackers and Gatorade at your bedside and try one of them before you get out of bed. Sometimes, this helps.
There is also a device called a Sea-Band, which is worn on the wrist and designed to stop morning sickness or seasickness by activating a pressure point on the wrist. It’s a drug-free way to find relief, and you can order a Sea-Band online. They don’t cost too much, and one may help you to feel better, which will help you to work up an appetite for healthy meals.
We Hope Our Tips Have Helped
We care about women who are pregnant, and we made this guide to help them. We hope that you’ve benefited from this information, which relates to pregnancy and its impact on diet and nutrition.
We’ve tried to share all the most important facts here, so that you may refer to our guide as a reference. By sharing information about cravings and why they happen, how to indulge them safely, how much you should eat while you’re expecting and which nutrients are most important for you and your unborn baby, we hope to make it easier for you to get what you need at this important time.
Good nutrition is a fundamental of a healthy pregnancy. Its importance is high. However, it’s not all that you need to think about. You should also try to get regular exercise, whether it’s swimming or prenatal Yoga. As well, you should make a point of drinking plenty of pure water.
Pregnancy does tend to cause some discomfort now and then. Women who are pregnant are growing brand-new human beings, and this process is a miracle which produces a lot of changes. Be gentle with yourself. Let yourself sleep or just laze around when you need to. It’s important not to be too hard on yourself. You don’t need to be Superwoman while you’re expecting. Do what’s most important and don’t be afraid not to tick every box on your to-do list every single day.
If someone offers to cook for you or do other things for you, graciously accept. You can always pay it forward later. This is your time to be pampered. If there is no one to pamper you, baby yourself as much as you can. If you feel lonely or need support, look for online message boards or community groups. Find a way to reach out and to access support.
What do you think?