14 Best Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Despite being one of the happiest phases of a woman’s life, pregnancy may cause certain physical and mental stresses. Due to this, it could become crucial for you to maintain a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy.

This might help you to ensure the health of your unborn child and yourself. Your body may even need extra nutrients and minerals during pregnancy.

The reason behind this is that the body of the mother provides nutrients and minerals to the child through the placenta. Hence, you might need to add additional nutrients to improve the health of your baby.

It could be stated that pregnant ladies might need to add 400 to 500 additional calories per day during their second and third trimesters.

However, if you do not take care of your health and the type of food you eat, then it might make you fat along with increasing the risk of birth complications.

So you should fulfil the special nutritional requirements of your unborn child during pregnancy. The best aspect of eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is that it might even help you to lose weight easily after you give birth.

Now let us take a look at some of the best foods that could help you during your pregnancy.

best food to eat during pregnancy

  1. Eggs

    Eggs could be regarded as one of the best sources of prenatal protein, iron, choline and folate. Choline might help in foetal brain development and it may even decrease the chances of neural tube defects like spina bifida.

    However, choline is found in the yolk of the egg. So you may eat an entire egg to get all these nutrients. You might eat eggs in different forms like a scrambled, fried, omelette or even hard-boiled eggs.

    Another tip here is that you could purchase eggs that are fortified with Omega 3. This could provide a brain boost to your baby.

    More on eggs here.

  2. Legumes

    Legumes include the group of food that has peanuts, chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, beans, peas, etc. Legumes provide some of the best sources of nutrients that may be required by a pregnant woman.

    These nutrients include calcium, plant-based fibre, iron, folate and protein. Getting folate through different food sources might protect your baby from diseases and any infections.

    Legumes may also prove to be the best food for you if you are a vegetarian. This is because the beans and the peanuts could provide you with all the necessary minerals that are found in animal products.

    Beans are also a great source of Zinc that might help in reducing the chances of prolonged labour, preterm delivery and low birth weight.

    You may also find these healthy pregnancy tips useful.

  3. Orange juice

    Drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and folate. Folate or folic acid is an essential nutrient that might prevent different birth defects and ensure a healthy pregnancy.

    Besides folate, the potassium in orange juice also performs several important functions. It might maintain your metabolism and substantiate your overall health.

    Moreover, the pregnant mother supplies the necessary nutrients and minerals to the unborn child through the placenta. Due to this, the blood volume of the mother might increase by approx 50%. So you need to consume more potassium to make up for the increase in your blood volume. The orange juice might even help to keep the bones and teeth of your baby healthy.

    In this article, FDA talks about fruits, veggies, and juices for pregnant women.

  4. Sweet Potatoes

    Eating sweet potatoes is beneficial for the mother as well as the baby. Sweet potatoes contain potassium, Vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6, copper, nutritious fibre and even Beta carotene.

    You can receive most of the nutrients of sweet potatoes from even other ingredients. However, beta carotene is an antioxidant that can be received through sweet potatoes. Once this antioxidant reaches your body, it converts into vitamin A.

    This vitamin A might further help to develop the bones, skin and eyes of your baby. Moreover, the sweet potato also consists of copper, which might help your body to absorb iron. So you could eat sweet potatoes in different forms like baked, mashed or even french fried.

  5. Leafy Vegetables

    The health benefits of leafy vegetables are quite popular. These vegetables have a lot of nutrients and hence, could help the body to combat different diseases.

    The leafy vegetables are a good addition to your diet because they might protect your baby against different diseases and help in foetal development. These vegetables are rich in calcium, antioxidants, potassium, vitamins, folate, protein and fibre.

  6. Yoghurt

    Yoghurt might assist in the bone development of your baby because it consists of several nutrients like calcium, protein, zinc and B vitamins.

    The best aspect of this ingredient is that it contains slightly more calcium as compared to milk. Calcium proves to be quite beneficial for you and your baby. It could help in developing the teeth and bones of your baby.

    So you should try to take at least 1000 milligrams of calcium each day. This quantity could help to reduce the risk of preterm delivery and lower the birth weight of your baby.

    But if you do not get enough calcium from your food, then this might cost you. In this situation, the calcium needed by the baby is taken up by the bones of the mother. This could put you at risk for osteoporosis after delivery.

    This gov article talks about the benefits of probiotic yogurt during pregnancy.

  7. Salmon

    Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids prove to be quite beneficial for pregnant ladies. First of all, they are very beneficial for the health of your heart.

    Secondly, omega-3 fatty acids may help in the development of the eyes and brain of your unborn child. Researches have even shown how pregnant mothers who eat salmon could have newborns with higher IQ levels and better communication and motor skills.

    Besides this, salmon also has Vitamin D that might help to improve the immunity and bone health of your child.

    However, sometimes you might be worried about eating seafood. But Salmon is safe for expectant mothers because it has a low amount of mercury. So you could eat it in the right amount as recommended by your doctor.

    Here is the fish-eating advisory from FDA.

  8. Oatmeal

    You could start your day with a big bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is a rich source of protein, fibre and vitamin B6.

    The best aspect of oatmeal is that it might help pregnant mothers to fight morning sickness by providing them with the required energy.

    Not only this, but the fibre of the Oatmeal may even help you to combat other problems of pregnancy, namely constipation. Protein and vitamin B6 of the ingredient could assist in the development of the foetus. But before purchasing oatmeal, you should look out for the oatmeal that has iron, folic acid and B vitamins in it.

  9. Nuts

    Nuts are one of the most healthy foods that consist of a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Different nuts contain fibre, protein, minerals, vitamins and omega-3 fats.

    If you eat nuts, then you might be saved from the risk of premature labour. The magnesium present in the nuts may even help to develop the nervous system of the baby.

    Just one cup of almonds may provide you approx. 250 MG of magnesium. On the other hand, one Cup of pistachios may provide you with 150 milligrams of magnesium.

    The best aspect of eating nuts during pregnancy is that they are an easy to eat prenatal power snack.

  10. Lean Meat

    Lean meat like lean pork and Beef is a rich source of iron, B vitamins and protein. All these nutrients are essential for a pregnant mother.

    You might need more protein during pregnancy to help in the development of the body. The additional protein might ensure that the muscles of your baby develop properly.

    Similarly, the iron which you received from lean meat might also assist in the growth of the baby. Any deficiency of iron could augment the risk of preterm delivery along with the lower birth weight of the child.

    Besides being helpful for the baby, iron is also crucial for expectant mothers. This is because the nutrient may help in the formation of red blood cells to prevent anaemia in the mother.

    Since the volume of the blood expands during pregnancy, to make up for the rising activities, you need to increase the intake of iron. These rising activities of the blood may primarily include the transfer of minerals and nutrients from the mother to the baby through the placenta.

    Vitamin B6 received from lean meat helps in the brain development and tissue development of the baby. It might also help to combat the morning sickness and maintain the healthy nerves of the mother.

  1. Algae oil

    Algae Oil is a plant-based source of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids. Although fish is also a source of DHA, however, algae oil has more benefits than fish. By adding algae oil to your diet, you include DHA and omega-3 fatty acids in your body.

    Though algae oil could enhance the DHA levels in the same quantity as done by fish oil, it has other benefits as well. It may not lead to global warming, overfishing, or even destroying the coral reefs.

    At the same time, algae oil might prove to be less risky because it has low levels of toxins and mercury in it along with the neutral flavour.

  2. Avocados

    The major purpose of including avocados in your diet is because this food item is rich in carotenoid lutein. Since lutein is an antioxidant, it could prove beneficial for the brain development and eye development of your baby.
    Besides this, avocados are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, folate, and vitamin C. The presence of potassium in your body during pregnancy could help to regulate blood pressure levels.

  3. Berries

    Being a rich source of folate, fibre, antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C, you might include different types of berries in your diet.

    You could include raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries in your diet. When you receive vitamin C through the berries, then it could help your body to absorb iron. The absorption of iron might further assist in the transportation of oxygen to your baby and its growth and development.

    Indian gooseberries more commonly known as amla is also a part of government recommended diet plan in India.

  4. Chia Seeds

    Chia seeds are one of the most important food items that you might include in your diet. This is because these seeds are a good source of potassium, fibre, calcium, iron and magnesium.

    At the same time, these seeds could help to balance the bowel movement in your body. The primary reason behind this is because they have an ideal balance of insoluble and soluble fibre.

Final Words On Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

As soon as most expectant mothers find out they are pregnant, they should be encouraged to eat healthy in a timely manner.

This is simply because during the stage of pregnancy your body may go through big changes. Due to this, you and your baby might need a good dose of nutrients, minerals and vitamins to stray strong and healthy.

As a result, this article might help you to know what counts as healthy food during the stage of pregnancy. If you include the above-listed foods in your diet then you could increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

At the same time, you might want to check out this government article from the Australian government.

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