While the term “eating for two” isn’t accurate (you don’t need to, and shouldn’t, eat enough food to feed two people), there are certain nutrients that you do need more of during pregnancy. There are also nutrients that you may not need more of, but that are still especially important to get enough of consistently each day during pregnancy. And, as anyone who has been pregnant knows, there are also symptoms that come along with the various phases of pregnancy. Many of these symptoms can be minimized via getting enough specific nutrients. We encourage our expecting clients to get as many nutrients as they can from healthful food choices. Here are some of our favorites.
Omega-3 Rich Fish: Omega-3 rich fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines deliver potent omega-3 fats, including a powerful dose of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A developing baby’s brain requires 50-70mg of DHA each day during the third trimester for optimal growth. This DHA comes from mom’s diet and she needs to eat around 200mg of DHA daily to deliver the necessary amounts to baby. This DHA dose can easily be achieved via 2-3 servings of omega-3 rich fish each week. Bonus: The fish also delivers protein and vitamin D, two other very important nutrients for both mom and baby.
Potatoes: You might be gasping in shock right now, but potatoes deserve to be on this list and many more…they’re nutrition powerhouses! One nutrient that they deliver major amounts of is potassium. In fact, a medium potato contains twice the potassium as a medium banana, in addition to fiber and an array of other vitamins and minerals. Potassium is especially important during pregnancy because it can help maintain fluid balance. In other words, it helps to minimize fluid retention like the type that is common around the ankles.
Lentils: Iron needs nearly double during pregnancy due to the fact that a woman’s blood volume increases so much. Iron in blood is vital to ensuring that oxygen gets transported throughout the body. It’s especially important to get enough iron while pregnant because your baby will need to store enough iron to last them through their first few months after birth! Lentils deliver a good dose of iron (15 mg — 1/2 of daily needs — in just one cup) and they’re a great way to get fiber into your diet as well.
Yogurt: Calcium needs don’t increase during pregnancy, but unlike other vitamins and minerals, if you don’t get enough from your diet or supplements, baby takes what he or she needs from your bones! Calcium is important to developing strong bones and teeth (for you and baby) as well as maintaining normal muscle contraction, blood clotting, and heart rhythm. Women typically meet only 75% of their calcium needs and just 1 cup of low-fat plain (doctor it up with fresh fruit!) yogurt delivers nearly half of daily calcium needs. Bonus: Yogurt also contains probiotics, good bacteria that are being linked to everything from better digestion to improved immunity.