Congratulations to Cheryl on her pregnancy! Pregnancy is a great time to adopt healthier eating habits. After all, fresh and nutritious foods aid the growth of junior’s muscle, brain and organ development. Indeed, the kind of food your little one is exposed to during his time in your tummy helps him remain strong inside your tummy.
After all, your body is going through big changes, and both you and baby need a full dose of vitamins and nutrients to stay well and strong. But what counts as healthy food for pregnancy? We share with you these superfoods which pack plenty of nutrients to keep mom-to-be and baby healthy through pregnancy—and beyond.
What it contains: Whether you enjoy it poached, scrambled or hard boiled, eggs are the gold standard for prenatal protein. They also happen to be a great source of vitamin D, folate, iron and choline.
Why it’s good the baby bump: Not only are eggs a relatively cheap, versatile and convenient source of protein, but the choline present helps to form the tissue in the nervous system that aids foetal brain development and growth, reducing the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. But to reap the benefits, you’ll have to eat the whole thing, since choline is contained in the yolk. You can also give baby a brain boost by buying eggs fortified with omega-3s.
What it contains: This oily fish is not only good for the heart, but is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Why it’s good the baby bump: The omega-3 fatty acids in fish help baby’s brain to develop, especially during the third trimester. Omega-3s are good for the development of baby’s eyes too, and salmon is also a great source of lean protein for moms-to-be. Protein in fish also provides the amino acids for the building and maintenance of body tissues. Just make sure the fish is fully cooked as anything raw can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
3. Green leafy vegetables
What it contains: Dark-green vegetables like spinach, asparagus, broccoli and kale should be on everyone’s pregnancy grocery list due to the antioxidants and nutrients such as folate, calcium and iron they contain.
Why it’s good the baby bump: These superfoods are especially important for moms-to-be and developing babies. That’s because iron is needed to produce haemoglobulin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues, which is essential in supporting the uterus. The calcium that these vegetables contain is essential for bone development and folate for mental/normal and overall development of foetus.
4. Sweet potatoes
What it contains: Sweet potatoes are full of nutritious fibre, vitamin B6, potassium (more than what bananas have!), vitamin C and iron, as well as copper and beta-carotene.
Why it’s good the baby bump: Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that your body converts to vitamin A, and vitamin A plays an important role in the development of baby’s eyes, bones and skin. These sweet potatoes are also a great way to meet your iron quota, and also contain copper, a mineral that helps your body absorb iron. So swap in sweet potatoes for your usual sides in your meals. They’re great mashed, baked or even fried.
What it contains: This luxurious butter fruit is a storehouse of vitamins ― C, E, K, B1 and B2 to be exact. It’s also packed with minerals, dietary fibre, calcium, antioxidants and folate.
Why it’s good the baby bump: A half a cup of sliced, raw avocado contains 59mg of folic acid, which will work wonders for your little one’s growth. This easy-to-eat fruit is perfect, especially if you’re battling nausea in your first trimester. The magnesium in it is also very helpful in relieving muscle cramping in the second trimester onwards.
What it contains: Plain yogurt actually contains slightly more calcium than milk. It’s also got those essential bone-building nutrients, including protein, B vitamins and zinc.
Why it’s good the baby bump: Calcium is essential for keeping your bones and teeth healthy and helping baby to develop his, and skimping on this key nutrient could put you both at risk. Expectant moms should get 1,000 mg of calcium a day to reduce the risk of low birth weight and preterm delivery. If your calcium count comes up short, your body will take the calcium baby needs from your bones, putting you at greater risk for osteoporosis later on. You can also snack on Greek yogurt topped with fruit for double the protein and fibre intake.
Always remember, to ensure that baby gets optimal nourishment, eat foods that are natural on nutrients and easy on your tummy, eat sufficiently and have a well-balanced diet. A happy mummy equals a happy baby!