what should pregnant women eat

Sep 22, 2021

  • Dairy products

During pregnancy, you need to consume extra protein and calcium to meet the needs of your growing little one. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt should be on the docket.

Dairy products contain two types of high-quality protein: casein and whey. Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium and provides high amounts of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.

Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, contains more calcium than most other dairy products and is especially beneficial. Some varieties also contain probiotic bacteria, which support digestive health.

  • Legumes

This group of food includes lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts (aka all kinds of fabulous recipe ingredients!).

Legumes are great plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate, and calcium — all of which your body needs more of during pregnancy.

Folate is one of the most essential B vitamins (B9). It’s very important for you and your baby, especially during the first trimester, and even before.

  • Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious cooked about a thousand ways, but they’re also rich in beta carotene, a plant compound that is converted into vitamin A in your body.

Vitamin A is essential for a baby’s development. Just watch out for excessive amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A, such as organ meats, which can causes toxicity in high amounts.

  • Salmon

Smoked on a whole wheat bagel, teriyaki grilled, or slathered in pesto, salmon is a welcome addition to this list. Salmon is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids that have a host of benefits.

These are found in high amounts in seafood, and help build the brain and eyes of your baby, and can even help increase gestational length.

But wait: Have you been told to limit your seafood intake due to the mercury and other contaminants found in high mercury fish? You can still eat fatty fish like salmon.

  • Eggs

Those incredible, edible eggs are the ultimate health food, as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. A large egg contains about 80 calories, high-quality protein, fat, and many vitamins and minerals.

Eggs are a great source of choline, a vital nutrient during pregnancy. It’s important in a baby’s brain development and helps prevent developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine.