So you just found out your expecting a new little one in your life–congratulations! This is such an exciting time as you prepare for the arrival of a baby. As you’re preparing, one of the things you’ll need to focus on is prenatal nutrition.
Pretty much what it sounds like. Prenatal nutrition is making sure you get the nutrition you need while you’re pregnant.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
Unfortunately, it can be harder than it looks.
Pregnancy does such wacky things to our bodies that it can be hard to get the nutrition we need–especially if you’re stomach decides to throw it back up!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here. I am not a medical professional, and this is not medical advice. Always consult your doctor first.
Why Is Prenatal Nutrition Important?
Prenatal nutrition is so, so important. Think about it. You’re literally building another person from scratch. That’s both crazy and amazing!
And let me tell you, it takes a lot of resources to build that little person inside you.
You’ll need plenty of vitamins, minerals, water, and more to supply both your needs and the babies.
However, remember that you aren’t actually “eating for two.” You only need a little extra for the baby.
When it comes to what you eat, quality is more important than quantity.
You want to eat healthy foods such as fruits and veggies, and healthy meats or protein rich foods.
So what are the basics that you need to know when it comes to prenatal nutrition?
Vitamins & Supplements
1. Prenatal Vitamin
As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, be sure to pick up a good prenatal vitamin.
Prenatal vitamins are essential during your pregnancy, and will ensure that the baby–and you–get all the building blocks necessary to grow.
You’re doctor may recommend a specific one, or it’s perfectly okay to get less expensive, over-the-counter vitamin.
I personally loved the gummy ones from Vitafusion, which you can get at Amazon or most drug stores.
I have a terrible time swallowing pills, which only got worse with pregnancy, so these ones helped eliminate the need to fight with my gag reflex every day. Plus, they tasted pretty good!
2. Iron Supplement
This one is a bit more case-by-case, but your doctor may have you take an iron supplement as well. Some prenatal vitamins include iron, but many do not.
In my case, I become slightly anemic in the latter half of my pregnancy. I blame my son for using up all the iron I was eating. 😉
Thankfully, it was easily remedied by taking an over-the-counter iron supplement.
It was the only one I was able to take without setting off my overly sensitive gag reflex.
It was also the only one I could find that didn’t have the nasty metallic iron taste to it. I was pleased that it really did taste like orange.
3. Other Supplements
You probably won’t need to take any other supplements while you’re pregnant.
But, to be sure, check with your doctor at your first prenatal appointment.
Make sure to stay up to date with any recommendations your doctor makes to help you stay on top of your prenatal nutrition.
Don’t Eat Food Bad for Baby
It kind of goes without saying that you don’t want to eat things that will negatively impact your baby.
However, it’s easy for some foods to sneak by without you realizing that it’s bad for the baby.
While you’re pregnant, be sure to avoid the following foods.
1. Food High in Mercury
Food high in mercury is definitely off the list.
That means no mercury high fish, such as shark or swordfish.
Some shellfish may also be off, as well as other fish such as tuna.
While it’s okay to eat a small amount of tuna per week, you may find it easier to nix it altogether until after you’ve delivered your baby.
If you’re used to drinking several cups of coffee a day, it may feel like a long pregnancy after you’ve cut back on your caffeine intake.
It’s recommended that you avoid drinking more than one cup of coffee per day.
If your chosen drink happens to be a soft drink, you may need to ditch it entirely as many sodas are well over the amount of caffeine you are allowed.
And don’t forget about the caffeine in all that chocolate you keep eyeing…
Even if you’re not a heavy drinker, you’ll need to back off the alcohol until after your baby is born, or longer if you plan to breastfeed.
Do Eat Nutrient Rich Food
Although if may feel like there’s a lot of foods you’re not supposed to eat while pregnant, try to shift your focus to all the good things you can eat.
Be sure to include lots of fruits and veggies in your diet, as well as protein rich foods.
Talk to your doctor if you’re having trouble keeping down a lot of the nutrient rich food you eat, or if your body seems to suddenly have an aversion for all things good.
Along with eating nutrient rich food and avoiding foods that have a negative impact on your baby, try to get in some exercise every day.
Exercising daily, or most days, if an important part of prenatal care and can help you feel so much better during your pregnancy.
Even a simple walk around the block can help to boost your energy levels, and help keep your body in good shape to delivery your baby.
Do you have any additional tips for prenatal nutrition? Are you or did you have difficulty giving up any foods? Let me know in the comments below!