Load Up On Folic Acid Rich Foods
“This nutrient is critical to the development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Intake of folic acid prevents Neural Tube Defects (NTD) like spinal bifida,” says Rebecca Lewis, R.D., nutritionist for Hello Fresh. Seek out foods like dark leafy greens (like spinach, kale, and swiss chard), citrus fruits, and avocados to get 400 micrograms daily.
You Don’t Need As Many Calories As You Think
“In fact, no extra calories are required during the first trimester. Only 340 extra calories are needed in the second trimester and 450 during the third trimester, as compared to normal intake,” says Julieanna Hever, author of The Vegiterranean Diet.
Be Sure to Get Enough Iodine
“This is critical to development of the baby’s brain,” shares Rebecca Lewis. “Insufficient intake of iodine during pregnancy is the world’s most preventable cause of mental retardation.” Some places to start? Cranberries, yogurt, and strawberries.
Eat At Regular Intervals
It’s important to eat every two to four hours to provide a steady stream of nutrients to baby, steady energy levels to mom, and keep mom’s blood sugar levels stable. Managing blood sugar levels can help combat feelings of fatigue and nausea.
Some Fish Is Unsafe, But You Don’t Have to Avoid All of It
Two to three three-ounce servings of safe fish can provide important nutrients like iron, protein, and especially the important omega-3 fatty acids that are critical for healthy brain development. Safe fish include: tilapia, cod, salmon, crab, shrimp, sardines, canned light tuna, pollock, and catfish. Fish that should be avoided during pregnancy include: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and refrigerated smoked fish. All fish should be cooked to avoid the increased risk of illness. Always avoid sushi, sashimi, ceviche, and any other raw preparations while pregnant.
Drinks Lots of Ginger Tea After Giving Birth
Most people think of drinking ginger tea during pregnancy to fight nausea, but ginger is just as important post-pregnancy. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and will help the body to feel stronger and recover more quickly after birth.
Be Sure You’re Getting Enough Postpartum Calories
The extra caloric requirement for breastfeeding moms is between 450 to 500 calories per day. That’s even more than the recommended 450 additional calories needed during the last trimester of pregnancy. Choose your extra calories wisely to assist with recovery, to maintain energy, and to promote optimum milk production