Nourishing your bodyDuring the course of your pregnancy, your developing baby changes dramatically – from a tiny cluster of cells into a recognizable individual. Most of the growth in utero is physical, though this physical development sets the stage for all the things your developing baby will be able to do at a later stage.
In these critical months, his brain will grow to hold nearly 200 billion neurons, or brain cells, and he’ll already be learning things like the sound of your voice and the tastes he experiences in the amniotic fluid. He’ll also be getting ready by storing essential nutrients like iron and DHA.
Remember that you can encourage his development by taking good care of yourself. Nothing is more important than good nutrition and following your doctor’s advice.

The Importance of Nutrition During Pregnancy

What you eat during pregnancy not only fuels the growing life within you now, but can also have a direct impact on your child’s future development. All of the building blocks for your child’s development are delivered through you, by way of the foods you eat and the supplements you take.
And with some nutrients, your child will store enough of what he receives in the womb to meet his needs during his first months of life.
Here’s a look at some of the key nutrients (and the foods that contain them) that nurture your child’s development in the womb.

Pregnancy Diet Tips

For an after-dinner treat: Pop fruit in the freezer. The next time you bring home grapes or strawberries from the grocery store, instead of putting them straight in the refrigerator, wash a portion, remove the stems or caps, and place the prepared fruit in the freezer. This way, whenever you’re craving something sweet and refreshing, you can reach for the whole fruit. Fruits provide you and your developing baby with important nutrients, like fiber and vitamin C, which is important for pregnancy nutrition.1-3 And because fruits are naturally sweet, they’re ideal for desserts and fast snacks.
 
When you can’t stomach anything: Go for the grains. Bread and pasta sounding better than anything else these days? If you’re dealing with morning sickness, sticking with plain, bland food can help ease your stomach.4 But to keep up your pregnancy nutrition, choose whole grain varieties. Try swapping out at least half of your daily refined grains (like white bread) for whole grains (such as whole wheat bread and tortillas, brown rice, and oatmeal).5
 
Busy days at work: Sneak in a satisfying snack with calcium. If you’re looking for a quick but nutritious snack to enjoy at work, try high-calcium options, like cheese cubes, string cheese, or a container of plain or Greek yogurt. (Choose low-fat or fat-free versions.) Calcium is important for pregnancy nutrition because it keeps bones and teeth strong and helps support your developing baby's development1,2. When it comes to yogurt, it’s smart to stick with plain varieties5 and add in your own toppings, like almonds, honey, or berries.
 
When you’re on the road: Pack along folate-filled nuts. Whether you’re hopping in the car to visit family or taking a plane to a vacation destination, bring along some nuts or peanuts. They’re both good sources of folate1, the natural form of folic acid, which can help support healthy neural tube development2,6. And if you’re worried about your developing baby’s risk of nut allergies, you may not need to be: Emerging research has found that those moms who ate more nuts, including peanuts and tree nuts, during their pregnancies (and weren’t allergic themselves) had children who were least likely to develop nut allergies7.
 

Key Prenatal Nutrients


Salmon rich in DHA

DHA

Why it’s important
Important buiding blocks for development of the brain and eyes in infant
How much do I need?
Expert recommends at least 200mg/day for pregnant and nursing women1

It is found in algae and fatty cold water fish, like salmon, blue fin tuna, black cod, sardines, herring and shellfish.

Calcium fortified dairy

Calcium

Why it’s important
Helps build/to support development of strong bones and teeth
How much do I need?
1000 to 1300 mg/day, depnding on your age2

It is found in dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese; prenatal vitamins.

Iron rich nuts and fruits

Iron

Why it’s important
  • Important component of red blood cells which carry oxygen to all parts of the body to help body’s production of energy
  • Needed to produce haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues
  • Needed to produce myoglobin, the protein that helps supply oxygen to muscle
How much do I need?
27 mg/day2

It is found in lean red meat and poultry, fish, spinach, dried fruits, and nuts; prenatal vitamins.

nutrient rich citrus

Folate & Folic Acid

Why it’s important
  • Help support foetus’ gowth and overall development
  • Folate plays a role in the formation of red blood cells
  • Folate, taken before and during early pregnancy, helps in the mental/ normal and overall development of foetus
  • Folic acid is essential/important for growth and division of cell
How much do I need?
520 µg/day2

It is found in leafy green vegetables (like spinach), citrus fruits (grape-fruits and oranges).

Lean amino acid protein

Protein

Why it’s important
  • Protein provides the essential amino acids needed to aid in the building and maintenance of body tissues
  • Protein helps in tissue buiding and growth
How much do I need?
71 g/day2

It is found in lean meat, poultry, fish & eggs.

References:

1FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no.91.FAO: Rome.

2 Dietary Reference Intakes, USA.