One of the most important stages in a woman’s life is pregnancy , a period of 37 to 42 weeks where the pregnant woman should consume healthy foods and avoid those that may contain ingredients that will not benefit the nutrition of the fetus .

Note: Formerly it was considered that in order for the fetus to receive sufficient food supplies, its mother should be fed “For two”. Today, there are scientific arguments that demonstrate the importance of nutritional quality during pregnancy. (1)

During pregnancy, many opinions arise regarding what you should consume, for this reason in this article we offer you a list of foods that should be consumed during pregnancy due to their great nutritional value for mother and baby.

What should be eaten during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the mother should have a healthy diet , drink plenty of water, do moderate exercise, and avoid weight gain.

You should know : During pregnancy, there is a greater chance of suffering from gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and cesarean delivery in pregnant women with high levels of weight, so it is necessary to avoid consuming unnecessary calories, thus avoiding weight gain.

In this sense, an adequate balance of all the foods present in this list will allow adequate nutrition to be achieved, so that the pregnant woman and her baby can obtain the necessary nutritional requirements.

1. Lean meats

They come from birds, fish, beef, rabbit, among others. They have 10% total fat compared to others (2) . Lean meats are recommended to be consumed during pregnancy and lactation, as they allow the absorption of a large amount of essential vitamins during pregnancy and lactation. 

Lean meat provides zinc, a fundamental mineral in the evolution of the fetus , iron to prevent anemia, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine, fiber and protein, all of which allow the baby to develop healthily .

To highlight : Pregnant women should be careful when eating fish and shellfish , especially if they are raw or their preparation is unknown (sushi or carpaccio). Swordfish may contain mercury, a harmful metal during pregnancy.

2. Eggs

During pregnancy, an essential food that women must consume is choline, a compound present in eggs. Choline together with folic acid play a determining role in the development of the neural system  of the embryo.

In this sense, the Cuban Encyclopedia published an article where it refers to the benefits of the egg and its important nutrients for any person regardless of their age. On very few occasions, she mentions special conditions that interfere with their consumption, so the consumption of eggs is important during pregnancy. (3)

Note: Low choline intake during pregnancy can cause degenerative problems in the neural tube of the fetus. It is also important to avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs during pregnancy, as salmonella can be contracted .

3. Salmon

It is a fish with a high content of fatty acids and highly recommended for the diet of a pregnant woman.

This fish is rich in vitamins A, B and D, it contains calcium, zinc and iron , essential nutrients for the evolution of pregnancy. These compounds are directly involved in the formation and strengthening of bones and muscles, improve brain activity, hemoglobin production, and transport oxygen across the placenta. (4)

To highlight: Salmon contains Omega 3, which  is a compound that the human body is not capable of producing on its own, and is responsible for the formation and development of the baby ‘s brain tissue 

4. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green that is rich in fiber and micronutrients, vitamins A and C , as well as minerals such as iron. They prevent fluid retention, constipation, high blood sugar levels and promote eye health, with all these benefits they represent an excellent option for the pregnant woman’s diet.

You should know: The Cuban Encyclopedia (5) highlights the properties of spinach for pregnant women, mentioning that “Its high folate content makes it advisable in diets for pregnant women “, also arguing that this vegetable prevents the appearance of malformations in the first weeks of gestational evolution. (6)

5. Lentils

Lentils are legumes rich in folates . They take care of immune health and are an excellent source of vegetable protein due to their high content of folic acid, iron, potassium and magnesium , therefore they are a necessary food during pregnancy.

In this sense the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) describes legumes as rich in folates, emphasizing that “they are essential for the function of the nervous system and especially important during pregnancy to prevent anomalies in the fetus. ” .” (7)

You should know : Spina bifida and anencephaly stand out among the most common malformations of the newborn .

6. Leche

Milk is a necessary food in the gestation process , due to its high content of calcium, vitamin D, B12, riboflavin (B2), potassium and phosphorus.

Milk contains calcium, therefore it is directly involved in the formation of the bone structure of the fetus and guarantees that the pregnant woman does not suffer decalcification at the end of the period . It is important to highlight that the adequate consumption of dairy products, soft cheeses, yogurt , among other derivatives, will allow the expectant mother to store the necessary reserves for the lactation period .

Note : In the case of difficulty digesting lactose , the main sugar present in dairy, there are currently a variety of products that contain fermented, which you can consume without problem. (8)

7. Carrot

During pregnancy, it is sought that the mother absorbs the greatest amount of nutrients. In this sense, we cannot ignore the benefits of carrots , which is a vegetable that stands out for regulating blood sugar, lowers cholesterol levels, improves eyesight, and skin, among other benefits.

The carrot offers great contributions for pregnant women , since it contains beta-carotene which favors eye health; It also has antioxidant vitamin E that intervenes in the appearance of cardiovascular diseases, it also contains iodine that acts at the endocrine level, promoting fetal development.

8. Banana

Eating fruits and vegetables during pregnancy will cover a large part of the requirements that the body needs. In this sense, the banana provides vitamins B12, B6, C, manganese, potassium, magnesium, fiber, among other nutrients. (9)

On the other hand, the banana offers the pregnant woman a feeling of pleasure, regulates constipation and reduces the risk of anemia. Potassium prevents common cramps during pregnancy, prevents malformations, among other benefits.

To highlight: The banana contains catechins, natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage, also allow the release of dopamine , a substance responsible for generating a sensation of pleasure, since it prevents stress in the mother.

9. Nuts

Nuts offer multiple benefits for pregnant women, since they are a source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant; They have vitamins belonging to group B (thiamine, niacin and folic acid), as well as minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc, among others . (10)

The intake of nuts during pregnancy decreases the risk of suffering from hypertension and gestational diabetes, and can also benefit cognitive function and brain development of the embryo.

You should know : It is necessary to take into account that there are people with problems digesting the proteins present in this type of food, so you must take precautions when consuming them .

10. Avena

Oatmeal is a cereal that offers great nutritional contributions for pregnant women . In this sense, the carbohydrates that oats have produce a feeling of satiety that will prevent overeating, maintain blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Oatmeal, in addition to protecting the intestinal mucosa, prevents constipation and fights anemia thanks to calcium, zinc, and phosphorus, which are supplements that you must ingest to achieve optimal growth of the baby .

11. Avocado

The avocado is a fruit that stands out because it contains benign fats that can be used to the maximum during the first weeks of pregnancy.

These fats contribute to maintaining adequate hormonal levels in the mother and benefit the development of the baby ‘s organs in addition, folic acid helps the development of the neural tube of the fetus.

12. Chickpeas

Chickpea is a legume, which provides large amounts of benefits for pregnant women. These grains contain calcium, iron and important micronutrients for the development of the fetus in the first weeks of pregnancy and, like other foods included in this list, they can prevent anomalies at the neural tube level .

To highlight: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) points out that “Legumes have a higher protein content than cereals” , also detailing the great nutritional contribution present in foods such as cereals, fruits and vegetables. vegetables. (eleven) 

Key Findings

  • Pregnancy is a process where the mother needs to eat a diet of foods that guarantee the favorable development of the embryo .
  • This list of foods includes fruits, enriched cereals, legumes, vegetables, greens, chicken, fish, among others.
  • During pregnancy, there are risks of serious health problems, so it is necessary to avoid being overweight and eat healthy foods.
  • Eating healthy foods during pregnancy will allow the absorption of properties for the baby and subsequently guarantee greater milk production during the lactation period.

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