Nutrition during pregnancy is important not just for the little bump growing day-by-day, but also for the mom-to-be. All the nutrients a baby needs to grow and thrive in the womb is taken from mom. It’s especially important that we eat the right foods when we’re pregnant to maintain energy levels for mom and proper development for the baby.
Here’s the short list of the most important foods for baby and mom!
Important Foods to Eat While Pregnant
Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are probably not a featured item on any menu you’ll order from any time soon, but this nutrient benefits both you and your baby from the very beginning of pregnancy.
Two specific nutrients of omega-3s are especially important during pregnancy. They’re called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid and EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid. Combined, the benefits of these fatty acids extend to your baby’s baby’s eye and brain development, skin development, immune response and heart health – to name a few. Oh, and by the way, they help you in the very same ways – so make sure you’re getting plenty of it in your diet all the time – prenatal and postpartum.
Foods you can find with this specific combination of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- pure fish oil, such as Nordic Naturals or Carlson’s
- cold water fish, such as salmon, anchovies or herring*
- omega-3 fortified eggs
- sea weed
Flaxseed oil is also a good source of omega-3s, but not the type you’re looking for as it’s primarily a source of AHA, not DHA or EPA.
*If you’re concerned about mercury in your seafood, you’re not alone. Purified fish oil is always a good alternative to eating fish for the benefits of EPA and DHA.
There are few foods that stack up to the incredible benefits of blueberries, which is why they’re one of our most important foods to eat when pregnant. While we’re pregnant, babies are doing their best to absorb the nutrients that mom eats.
Blueberries are have incredible antioxidant properties that help protect our body from damage that can happen to our body on a cellular level. Physiologically, our body is under less stress when we eat more antioxidant-rich foods.
All this antioxidant support also helps lesson the effects of “pregnancy brain” – which is really mostly related to a lack of sleep and low energy. Nonetheless, forgetfulness during pregnancy is no fun and our brain, too, needs all the antioxidant support it can get. No one needs their brain getting old due to a lack of rest. It’s nice to know that blueberries can help give us a boost.
We all know how important fiber is to a healthy diet, but when we’re pregnant, hormones like to play around with the frequency of bowel movements. Prunes are a little different than your garden variety high fiber vegetable – no pun intended!
Unlike other high fiber foods, prunes are much higher in a sugar alcohol called sorbitol. Sorbitol doesn’t get absorbed by the digestive tract. Instead it needs to get eliminated. Sorbitol also helps to improve something called peristalsis, or that feeling your body gets when it needs to go.
There is no need to eat a pound of prunes in one sitting. Rather, add a few prunes to your breakfast or lunch. Drink plenty of water and other fibrous, healthy foods – and the rest will naturally happen.
Nausea can happen at any time during a pregnancy, but especially at the beginning before we want anyone to really know there’s a bun in the oven.
Ginger has twofold benefits. One great benefit is that ginger helps to curb nausea. Research has shown that ginger can help quell nausea to some extend, and possibly help to reduce vomiting. However, if you’re experiencing either of these symptoms, talk to your doctor first to make sure you don’t have any other underlying concerns.
Ginger also contains a very potent polyphenol called gingerol. The presence of gingerol in ginger has proven proven to have great anti-inflammatory effects. When our body can reduce inflammation, we’re healthier on the whole. And a healthier pregnant body is always better for the baby!
Here’s a simple recipe for a tarragon ginger tea that’s easy to make, keep in the fridge and enjoy anytime.
Last but not least, collagen is a truly important food to eat during pregnancy. Collagen is simply a protein with a unique combination of amino acids. Collagen is a easily-absorbed protein that benefits pregnant women, restoring energy, improving skin tone and digestion.
Research has shown that a majority of pregnant women have below normal protein levels. In clinical tests, Protiva collagen is the only protein powder proven to be safe and effective for progeny women.
Protiva collagen has also been shown to improve breastmilk supply and postpartum energy levels.
The great thing about Protiva is it can be blended into nearly any baked good, smoothie or dessert. Getting the boost of protein during pregnancy just got a little easier.
Here’s a delicious and simple recipe you have to try.
Protiva Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Strawberries and bananas are both great sources of fiber and potassium, and the Greek yogurt gives this shake a beautiful silky smooth quality.
- 1 scoop Vanilla Protiva
- 8-10oz. unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup of strawberries
- ½ banana
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt
- Peel the banana and freeze it overnight, or longer.
- Chop the frozen banana and strawberries, and put them in the blender with the other ingredients.
- Mix until smooth.