Healthy Foods for Pregnancy

Healthy Foods for Pregnancy

When sperm meets egg, an explosion of cell division and growth immediately begins. Nine months later you hold your little one in your arms and marvel at his perfectly formed features. You and he built a body from scratch. A healthy, well-balanced diet is one of the best gifts you can give your baby before he arrives. Nutrient-rich foods are essential for his in-utero development and will keep you healthy, too.

Building Strong Bones
By the time he is born, your baby will have a strong skeletal system and tiny teeth hidden under his gums. Calcium is essential for bone and teeth formation and for muscular contraction and the transmission of nervous impulses. You can find this mineral in dairy products, fortified breads and cereals, dark leafy greens, and fortified juice and soy milk. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends pregnant women consume at least three servings of calcium-rich foods per day.

Two-for-One Deal
Healthy foods rich in one nutrient are often good sources of other nutrients, too. Strawberries, oranges, orange juice, beans, cereal and dark green vegetables all contain folate, which helps prevent neural tube defects and supports a healthy placenta. Other sources of folate include beets, cruciferous vegetables, pasta and nuts.

Pregnancy Diet
Many nutrients in your diet play a role in your baby's healthy development and a safe pregnancy. For instance, vitamin B-6 -- found in poultry, eggs and carrots -- may prevent morning sickness and helps your baby form new red blood cells. Protein, found in animal products, beans and nuts, helps your baby build new cells. To get all of the nutrients you need, it is essential to eat a well-balanced diet including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and healthy fats such as avocado or olive oil. In addition, your doctor may prescribe a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement for you to take during pregnancy.