A study has shown that about 80% of all cases of pregnancy loss usually occur in the first trimester. This shows that early pregnancy is delicate and caution should be exercised by the pregnant mother, especially on what she eats.
Also, the first trimester is characterized by constant morning sickness and heartburn. At this stage, the mother’s body is experiencing a surge in hormones which can trigger digestive discomfort, including reflux and constipation.
Most women in their early pregnancy lose the desire to eat some of the healthy food they love, but no matter the case, healthy food should be encouraged due to the nutrient needed.
This article will help you to understand the healthiest foods for early pregnancy. However, before that, we need to look at the nutrient early pregnant women need. This will guide the selection of the food.
What are the nutrients required in early pregnancy?
Below are the major nutrients highly needed during early pregnancy.
- Protein – You need about 75 grams of protein per day, and it’s helpful for you and your baby’s body development. It supports uterine tissue growth.
- Folic acid – This is the most needed micronutrient during your first trimester. Folic acid also called folate, or vitamin B9 helps to prevent neural tube defects. You need about 600 micrograms of folic acid per day. The best sources of folic acid are strawberries, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, kidney beans, nuts, and beets.
- Calcium – It is essential for your baby’s teeth and bones; the development of your growing baby will draw calcium from you; as such, little calcium in your diet can cause brittle bones later on. For early pregnancy, the recommended amount of calcium required is 1,000 milligrams daily. Excellent sources of calcium are cheese, yogurt, milk, and dark leafy greens.
- Vitamin C – You need at least 85 milligrams of vitamin C in your first trimester. Vitamin C helps in promoting bone and tissue development in your baby. Also, it helps your baby absorb iron better. Good sources of vitamin C are oranges, broccoli, and strawberries.
- Potassium – Potassium helps your body regulate blood pressure and maintain fluid balance. Good sources of potassium include avocados, bananas, and apricots. You need approximately 2,900 milligrams of potassium every day.
- Iron – Iron is critical as your blood supply increases to meet the demands of your growing baby. You need approximately 27 milligrams of iron daily, and you can get it from a combination of healthy food like beef, spinach, chicken, and prenatal vitamin. Iron is essential in preventing prenatal anemia.
You can take supplements during pregnancy to meet your dietary requirements.
10 Healthiest Foods for Early Pregnancy
Below are the healthiest foods for early pregnancy that pregnant women in their first trimester should adhere to get the appropriate nutrients for them and the growing baby.
1. Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are excellent sources of protein, iron, folate, and fiber that are helpful to the mother and fetus.
Protein is essential for the growth and development of the fetus, iron helps to prevent anemia, and folate is important for the proper development of the neural tube, which forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Additionally, beans and lentils are also a good source of fiber, which can help prevent constipation, a common pregnancy symptom.
2. Ginger products
Ginger products, like ginger chews or ginger tea, are a great to help pregnant women suffering from morning sickness or nausea in their early pregnancy.
They are also said to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help with certain pregnancy-related aches and pains.
3. Lean meat
Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, and fish, are one of the healthiest foods for early pregnancy because they are rich in protein and iron, both of which are important for the growth and development of the fetus.
Protein is needed for the formation of the baby’s tissues, and iron is needed for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body’s tissues.
Eating lean meats can help prevent anemia, a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Additionally, lean meats are lower in fat and calories, which can help prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
Yogurt is rich in calcium, probiotics, and protein components that help in supporting the bone structure and development of the baby.
Protein is an important nutrient for the growth and development of the fetus, and yogurt is a good source of high-quality protein.
Calcium is also important for the developing fetus, as it helps to form strong bones and teeth. Yogurt is a good source of calcium and can help pregnant women to meet their daily requirements.
Pregnant women can benefit from consuming yogurt as it is a good source of probiotics which can help boost their immune system during pregnancy.
When choosing yogurt, go for the one with less sugar.
This is a dark leafy green that offers a combo of essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, folate, and iron.
Edamame, which are immature soybeans, are a good source of protein, iron, and folate. These nutrients are especially important during early pregnancy, as they help support the growth and development of the fetus.
Additionally, edamame is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help promote healthy brain development for the baby.
These are highly nutritious soybean pods packed that are rich in vegetarian protein, calcium, and vitamins.
Bananas are a good source of nutrition during early pregnancy because they are rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, which are important for the growth and development of the baby.
Additionally, bananas are a good source of energy, which can help to alleviate morning sickness symptoms and provide a steady source of fuel for the mother’s body during pregnancy.
Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, which can help to boost the immune system.
Salmon and other fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for the baby’s brain development.
10. Whole grains
Whole wheat bread, quinoa, and brown rice are high in fiber, which can help to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive system during early pregnancy.
Whole grains are high in B vitamins, including folic acid, which is essential for preventing birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine.
In addition, they are a good source of complex carbohydrates which provide a steady source of energy for the mother and the growing fetus
Diet is very important during early pregnancy. Ensure you stick to the above healthiest foods for early pregnancy and more for the proper development of your baby and your health. If you are having difficulties with your appetite, ensure you consult a doctor for help.