The first trimester of pregnancy is the crucial stage. Here, pregnant women experience extreme hormonal changes that bring about morning sickness (e.g. vomiting and hyperacidity), physical changes (e.g. altering of facial feature) and a whole lot more. The kicks that the hormones give are, of course, for the wellbeing of the baby and to help him/her develop well inside the womb.
To combat hormonal effects and to help soon to be mothers stay healthy as much as possible, proper nutrition should be incorporated in every gravid stage of their life. This article will talk about the types of foods that should be consumed during their first trimester to help both the baby and the mother get through this crucial stage of pregnancy.
Ideal Weight Gain
Physician assessment and dietary advice are very important for pregnant women. Ideally, gravid women should gain some weight every trimester or every week to compensate for the fetus need of nutrition. Generally, one should gain around 2-4 pounds during the first three months and one pound every week afterwhich. To attain this, proper quality and quantity of foods should be observed.
Quality Gravid Foods
Pregnant women should not eat everything. Eating everything, as what traditional belief imposes, places gravid women at high risk for gestational diabetes and hypertension. To prevent this, the following foods should be included in the diet (still, with caution because too much or too little is not healthy for the baby and the mother).
Spinach. Spinach is rich in folic acid that helps the development of the baby’s neural tube. This green leafy vegetable is very flexible. It can be added to scrambled eggs for breakfast; added to a smoothie for lunch or on a vegetable salad for dinner.
Lentils. Lentils are high in protein that aids in the proper growth and development of the baby’s tissues, organs and muscles. They can be used to make a warm lentil soup on a rainy day or maybe a lentil burger (with spinach) during snack time.
Citrus fruits. Like spinach, citrus fruits are high in folic acid that prevents neural tube and birth defects. They are also high in vitamins that strengthen the mother’s immunity. Citrus fruits can be used and consumed in so many ways such as a salad dressing; a component of salad; a smoothie and a whole lot more!
Nuts. Nuts are great source of protein that is needed for muscle development. Nuts can be consumed alone or in combination other foods (such as ice cream topping, salad component or maybe as topping to yogurts to give it a twist!)
Cottage cheese. This is a very good source of protein and calcium for muscle and bone development of both the baby and the mother. Cheese fanatics know how to use this every meal time- such as a spaghetti topping, component for lasagna, caldereta and even in pancakes!
Asparagus. Asparagus is high in vitamin D, which also helps in bone development. Most pregnant women lacks vitamin D and consuming asparagus is a great way to provide for it. It can be tossed into a scrambled egg with cheese or cut it up for a garden fresh salad.
Eggs. Eggs is very rich in protein, calcium and vitamin D for bone development. Eggs are also flexible. They can be used for soups, salads, snacks and a whole lot more.
Broccoli. Broccoli is high in iron, which helps develop red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells have high affinity to oxygen and helps in giving oxygen to body tissues. Broccoli can be mixed with salads, vegetable smoothies or as side dish for the main course (such as coleslaw).
Beans. Beans are also rich in protein. They can be used as a substitute for meat in tacos, added to salads or a part of the burger patty.
Yogurt. Yogurts are abundant in calcium and vitamin D that help in bone development. Also, it increases the number of good bacteria in the mother’s gastrointestinal tract to fight off disease causing bacteria. Yogurts are great add-ons for smoothies and can even be used to make ice creams!
Okra. This slimy vegetable is rich in folic acid. It is best added to a gumbo recipe or lightly fried in an olive oil for snacks.
Chicken. Chicken, as we all know, is very high in protein and iron. There are tons of recipe that can be made out of chickens. The idea here is that gravid women should avoid chickens that were injected with steroids because steroids can cause developmental defects.
Collard Greens. They are abundant in iron and are best added to soups to warm the night.
Salmon. Salmon is high in calcium and vitamin D. It is also the safest fish to consume when pregnant. Salmon can be baked, lightly fried or added to main courses in so many ways. One just needs a pinch of creativity on this.
Last but not the least is lean beef. Beef is rich in iron and protein. Like the chicken and salmon, beef can be added in the diet in so many ways. The important thing is that pregnant women should only eat organic (steroid-free) beef.
These are some of the foods that pregnant women can and should consume to ensure their and their baby’s health.