Pregnancy nutrition is essential for a healthy baby. Women must adopt a healthy eating plan before pregnancy. Without thinking of how many weeks are left on the countdown calendar for the baby to be born, it is better to start a healthy diet soon. Nurturing the body with tasty, nutritious food can help improve fertility, maintain the feeling of being healthy throughout the pregnancy, and makes labor easy. It can also aid in establishing the vital components for the growth and complete health of the child.

Pregnancy is the only time when the eating habit of one person affects another. Incorporating a wide range of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean proteins, and other healthy food choices into the diet plan before and during pregnancy gives the baby a strong start during the initial days.

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The body needs enough folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, proteins, and iron during pregnancy. Hence, these nutrients need to be consumed in enough amounts by the mother.

Folic acid: It is also called vitamin B9 and prevents defects during birth. It helps prevent neural tube defects, severe malformations in the spinal cord and brain. It is the synthetic form of folate found in fortified foods and dietary supplements. The chances of premature birth can be reduced by consuming folic acid supplements during pregnancy. An ample amount of folic acid can be derived from fortified cereals, green leafy vegetables, dried beans, and citrus fruits. The body needs 400-1000 micrograms of folic acid per day before and throughout the pregnancy.

Vitamin D: It aids in developing strong bones and teeth. Rich vitamin D sources include fatty fish like orange juice, salmon, and fortified milk. A pregnant lady needs 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day.

Calcium: Both the mother and the baby need calcium for strong teeth and bones. Calcium aids in the proper metabolic functions of the muscular, nervous, and circulatory systems. Dairy products have an appreciable amount of calcium. Non-dairy sources like kale and broccoli also provide calcium to the body. A normal human being needs an average of 1000 milligrams of calcium per day, but pregnant ladies and teenagers need 1300 milligrams of calcium per day.

Proteins: They are essential for the growth and development of the fetus during pregnancy. They aid in the growth of uterine and breast tissue during pregnancy. They also enhance the blood supply. Poultry, eggs, lean meat, and fish can fulfill the body’s protein requirement. Other sources include nuts, soy products, beans, seeds, and peas. The body’s protein needs are 71 grams per day.

Iron: It is essential for hemoglobin production, a protein present in red blood cells which carries oxygen to the tissues. During pregnancy, the iron intake is two times more than in non-pregnant women. The body needs iron to increase the blood supply to the growing fetus. If the body fails to get enough iron during pregnancy, it could lead to anemia. Severe iron deficiency during pregnancy can increase the chances of premature birth, postpartum depression, and low birth weight. Poultry, lean red meat, and fish are good sources of iron. Other sources include beans, breakfast cereals, and vegetables. The body needs around 27 milligrams of iron per day.