Making sure that you’re getting the right nutrients is vital for pregnant women. Complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a good amount of protein help to grow your baby and support you through your changing body.
Pregnancy completely changes the body. It has to prepare for the production of a whole new life, which can be daunting and exhilarating. This change has to be properly supported by you though. The body needs extra nutrients and attention to help you balance your body and hormones. Macronutrients are the foods we need in larger quantities, specifically fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These macronutrients are essential for producing energy, for providing the building blocks for a new baby, for providing essential amino acids, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
The macronutrients you need are similar to what you would usually eat on a normal, healthy diet. However, since you are preparing to build a whole new lifeform, you’ll need more of them.
For carbohydrates, it is important to eat more whole grains and less simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates give you energy and are an important source of fiber, which can be essential in pregnancy for keeping everything moving through the body and providing nutrients. However, not all carbs have the same benefits. The more complex the carbohydrate, the better. Simple carbohydrates, refined foods like white bread, offer little nutritional value. While complex carbohydrates, like whole grains or beans, take longer to breakdown in the body, which keeps blood sugar levels stable. Complex carbohydrates typically have more nutrients and provide energy over time instead of spiking energy levels that lead to a big crash.
It is important to maintain a consistent source of protein when entering or preparing for a pregnancy. Proteins provide essential amino acids that help to form body parts and organs in the fetus. It can also help to build the uterine and breast tissue that will come in handy during birth and after the baby is born. Proteins help to play a role in increasing blood supply. Protein can be found in meats, fish, legumes like lentils or beans, most nuts, and tofu.
Not only are carbohydrates and proteins important for pregnancy, fats can also play an essential role. The right kinds of fat help to grow the baby’s brain and are crucial for eye development. Unsaturated fats are the kind that you want. Unsaturated fats can be found in avocados, most fish, flaxseeds, and nuts. These unsaturated fats provide vital nutrients that help to build and develop cells in the body, both yours and the baby’s. They are rich in omega-3s that help to develop and sustain the health of a baby’s heart, immune system, brain, eyes, and more. Some monounsaturated fats can also be a good source of folate, or folic acid, which helps against birth defects.