Best food during pregnancy for baby brain

9 Foods To Boost Your Baby's Brain Development During Pregnancy – feedmomandme

Written by: Co-Founder Amanda Capriglione, RDN, CDN

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO

In this article

Every parent naturally wants their baby to be healthy and grow up to be smart. Scientific research suggests that your diet during pregnancy can help boost fetal brain development. Optimal nutrient intake will not only have you flourishing but also your growing baby. We will be discussing the nutrients and foods that help boost a baby’s brain development while pregnant.


Taking a daily complete prenatal plus DHA multivitamin will help you get those extra nutrients you may not be getting in your everyday diet. Look for a prenatal with DHA and Choline, both essential for baby’s brain development. We recommend taking Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal + DHA Multivitamin.

Vitamins supplements are meant to supplement your well-rounded diet regimen. They help enhance your intake of nutrients and vitamins along with your everyday food intake. Vitamin supplements aren’t meant to be used in place of real food.

For more information on prenatal vitamins, please check out our Benefits of Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA Multivitamin Blog. To purchase our Prenatal Vitamins, click here! You got this mama, you and your little one are going to thrive!


Active forms of omega-3 fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are vitally important for your developing baby’s brain & retina during pregnancy. DHA is the critical component of the cell membrane in the brain, eyes, and nervous system. It also supports the development of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem.

The fetal’s brain growth accelerates during your second trimester and continues growth for several years after birth. During pregnancy and lactation, it is recommended women’s daily intake of at least 200 mg of DHA. Both DHA and EPA are primarily derived from seafood and algae. Consuming 1 to 2 servings of seafood per week and a daily prenatal with DHA will help with your omega-3 intake.

  • Fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Herring, and Sardines. (No more than 12 ounces per week)
  • Fortified Eggs
  • Flax and Chia Seeds

★ A good prenatal vitamin with natural DHA will smell a little fishy.

Read more on DHA in our blog, All You Need To Know About Prenatal Vitamins And DHA.


Choline is vital for the proper development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. It also helps form the neurotransmitters in the brain, which the nervous system uses to transmit messages between neurons, and/or neurons to muscles. It also influences lifelong memory functions for your developing baby.

  • Lean Beef, and Poultry.
  • Fish such as Salmon. (No more than 12 ounces per week)
  • Dairy Products such as Eggs.
  • Potatoes
  • Vegetables such as Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Cauliflower.
  • Some Grains such as Quinoa.
  • Some Nuts such as Peanuts.
  • Read more on choline in our blog, Choline during pregnancy.


    Vitamin B complex plays a critical role during pregnancy for your developing baby’s brain. They help aid the production of numerous aspects of brain function, including energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis/repair, genomic and non-genomic methylation, and the synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signaling molecules. They can also be considered a potent antioxidant capable of protecting the brain’s cellular membranes.

    • Poultry, Lean Beef, and Meat.
    • Fish such as Tuna and Salmon. (No more than 12 ounces per week)
    • Dairy Products such as Eggs, Milk, Yogurt
    • Nuts and Seeds such as Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, Cashew Nuts
    • Legumes such as Chickpeas, Black-Eyed peas, and Kidney Beans
    • Whole Grains such as Whole Wheat, Brown Rice, and Oats.
    • Enriched and Fortified Foods such as many Breads and Cereals.
    • Vegetables such as Mushrooms (especially shiitakes), Avocados, Potatoes, Asparagus, and Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli.
    • Leafy Vegetables such as Spinach and Mustard Greens.
    • Fruits such as Papaya, Oranges, and Banana.
    • Dried fruits such as Apricots and Prunes.


    Antioxidants protect your developing baby’s brain tissues and cellular membranes from damage and free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells. Produce contains the most amounts of antioxidants that are good for you and your baby. Try to consume seven servings of well-washed fruits and vegetables daily.

    • Dark Chocolate
    • Pecans
    • Berries such as Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, and Goji Berries
    • Vegetables such as Artichokes, Broccoli, Asparagus, and Squash
    • Leafy Vegetables such as Kale, Spinach, Cabbage, Lettuce, Collard Greens
    • Root Vegetables such as Carrots, Beets, Radish
    • Legumes such as Beans and Peas
    • Avocados

    ★ Dark-colored produce often has more antioxidants.

    6. IRON

    Iron is one of the critical nutrients in developing a healthy baby. It helps your body produce hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen through your red blood cells, delivering life-sustaining oxygen to your baby. Oxygen helps flourish your developing baby’s brain growth. Make sure you stay hydrated when consuming iron to help avoid constipation. Check out our blog on the Top 15 Foods to Help Naturally Relieve Pregnancy Constipation.

    • Lean Meat, and Poultry.
    • Iron-fortified Breakfast Cereals and Breads.
    • Legumes such as White Beans, Lentils, Spinach, Kidney Beans, Peas, and Edamame.
    • Dried Fruits such as Raisins, Apricots, Peaches, and Prunes.
    • Leafy Greens such as Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, and Collards Greens.

    Read more on iron in our blog, Iron during pregnancy.

    7. PROTEIN 

    Every cell in your body requires protein’s numerous amino acids to help your body make new cells and repair cells. Research has shown that proteins are essential for the function of brain cells and the development of your baby’s brain. 

    • Poultry
    • Fish such as Salmon & Shrimp
    • Dairy such as Eggs, Milk
    • Legumes such as Beans, Lentils, Split Peas.
    • Nuts & Seed such as Peanuts, Walnuts, Cashews, Pistachios, and almonds
    • Whole grains

    8. IODINE

    Your thyroid needs iodine to produce triiodothyronine & thyroxine hormones in both your developing baby and you during pregnancy. Iodine plays a crucial role in aiding the formation of your growing baby’s cerebral cortex and neocortex, visual and auditory cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. The fetal thyroid is not fully active up until the 20th week of pregnancy; therefore, your baby is entirely dependent on maternal thyroxine supply.

    • Seafood & Fish such as Cod, Tuna, Seaweed, and Shrimp.
    • Dairy products such as Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese.
    • Iodized salt

    Read more on iodine in our blog, The importance of iodine during pregnancy.

    9. ZINC 

    Zinc is a key micronutrient that helps with the rapid growth and development of cells and tissue.  Aiding the development of the brain's hippocampal and cerebellar. Making it essential for your baby’s brain development.




    Foods to Eat During Pregnancy to Make Baby Smart

    Foetal brain development usually starts after 28 days of conception when the neural tube is formed. During this time, the mother must intake adequate amounts of nutrients because what a mother eats during pregnancy has a major impact on a baby's brain development inside the womb and the cognitive responses of the child at a later stage in life.

    This blog will tell you about the 15 most important foods to eat during pregnancy to make the baby smart.

    Foods to Eat During Pregnancy to Make Baby Smart

    The two most important nutrients that play a significant role in brain development are folate and choline. They help prevent neural tube defects. Other essential nutrients include iodine, iron, protein, and vitamin D.

    The following are some of the most popular foods to eat during pregnancy to make the baby smart.

    1. Eggs

    Having eggs during pregnancy or breastfeeding helps enhance brain development, making the baby smarter. Research suggests that eggs contain nutrients that the body can easily absorb. Eggs are a rich source of choline, fatty acids, essential vitamins and minerals, and bioactive compounds that enhance foetal brain development. Pregnant women can have 2 hard-boiled eggs each day.

    Book an online consultation with India's best Nutritionist/Dietician for FREE to know more about what you should eat & what you shouldn't during pregnancy.

    2. Meat

    Having meat during pregnancy also helps boost brain development in babies. Research suggests that meat is rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which are essential nutrients for brain development. Zinc forms a part of the DNA and acts as a neurotransmitter. Its deficiency can lead to reduced memory in babies. Vitamin B12 is also beneficial for the psychiatric health of babies. Meat also contains niacin, a compound that improves cognitive function.

    3. Bananas

    Banana is another most important foot brain development during pregnancy because it is rich in folic acid.

    4. Dairy products

    Milk and other dairy products like yoghurt and cheese are essential foods during pregnancy. Research suggests that milk and dairy products are rich in iodine and protein sources necessary for foetal brain development. Milk also contains choline that helps make your baby smarter. Research suggests that iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause damage to the brain of the foetus. Children of mothers who had iodine deficiency in pregnancy are prone to neurological disabilities.

    5. Spinach

    Another iron and folate-rich food that can enhance foetal brain development is spinach. According to research, spinach contains folic acid, which is beneficial in making babies smarter. Spinach also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to research, omega 3-fatty acids and iron improve cognitive ability in children.

    6. Salmon

    Eating fish like salmon and tuna is also good for developing a baby's brain as they are a rich source of choline. Fish also contain good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. According to research, docosahexaenoic fatty acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 acid, is essential for the fetus's neurodevelopment. DHA is also responsible for the structural and functional development of the fetus's brain. Pregnant women should eat properly cooked fish only.

    7. Legumes

    Legumes like kidney beans, soybean, chickpea, and peanuts are also rich sources of iron, antioxidants, and folate that help make your baby smarter. Legumes are also rich protein sources, which is again beneficial for your baby's brain. Research suggests that a low protein diet by a mother during pregnancy can lead to a short-term memory of the child.

    Book an online consultation with India's best Nutritionist/Dietician for FREE to know more about what you should eat & what you shouldn't during pregnancy.

    8. Blueberries

    Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are considered superfoods as they are rich in antioxidants and various other essential nutrients like folate and vitamin B6. Therefore, they are beneficial to the brain development of the baby.

    9. Whole-grain Foods

    Oats, brown rice, whole wheat, and other whole-grain foods are rich in protein, iron, and vitamin B6, which are good for brain development.

    10. Oranges

    Minerals like selenium, copper, magnesium and vitamins C and E are essential during pregnancy. According to research, deficiency of these minerals in the body during pregnancy can harm the development of the foetus. Studies show that insufficient amounts of vitamin C in the diet can have a negative effect on cognitive performance. As oranges are a rich source of vitamin C, they are beneficial for your baby's brain development.

    11. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes, being a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin C and E, choline, folate, and magnesium, is good for the fetus's brain development. Therefore, it helps your baby to be smart.

    12. Green Leafy Vegetables

    Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and kale are rich in bioactive compounds that improve cognitive abilities. Therefore, you must add green leafy vegetables to your diet during pregnancy.

    13. Eggplants

    These are excellent sources of antioxidants like copper, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. So, eating eggplants during pregnancy can help make your baby smart.

    Book an online consultation with India's best Nutritionist/Dietician for FREE to know more about what you should eat & what you shouldn't during pregnancy.

    14. Avocado

    This is another healthy food that you can eat during pregnancy for your baby's brain development. Avocados are a rich source of vitamin B and C. They also contain essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, and folate.

    15. Nuts and Seeds

    Walnuts, pistachios, sunflower, flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds are all rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids beneficial for the baby's brain development during pregnancy.

    16. Dark Chocolate

    As per research, dark chocolate is an excellent source of iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc that promote foetal brain development during pregnancy. You can have 1-2 pieces of dark chocolate daily. However, you should avoid eating dark chocolate in excess because it contains caffeine which can be harmful to the baby.

    Best Food for Baby Brain Development During Pregnancy

    The best foods for baby brain development during pregnancy are the ones rich in choline, folate, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids like DHA, protein, and vitamin B12. The most popular foods that contain these essential nutrients include eggs, fish like salmon and tuna, red meat, milk and dairy products, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, nuts like almonds, walnuts, and peanuts, pumpkin, flax and chia seeds, whole grain foods like oats and brown rice, berries, carrots, and more.

    Book an online consultation with India's best Nutritionist/Dietician for FREE to know more about what you should eat & what you shouldn't during pregnancy.

    What to Do During Pregnancy to Have an Intelligent Baby?

    Having a healthy and smart baby depends on several factors like genes, mother's nutrition during pregnancy, mother's health, and more. Here are a few things that you can do during pregnancy to have an intelligent baby:

    1. Exercise

    According to research, exercising during pregnancy positively impacts a baby's brain development.

    2. Read stories to your baby

    Your baby can listen to you in the last trimester of your pregnancy. Reading stories to your baby or talking to them can enhance brain development and help you bond better with your baby.

    3. Listen to music

    You can listen to soft music. According to UNICEF, listening to music during pregnancy positively influences the baby.

    Tips and Precautions

    Here are a few tips and precautions that you must keep in mind for your baby's development during pregnancy:

    • Consult your doctor frequently.
    • Eat balanced meals and take plenty of rest.
    • Keep yourself hydrated.
    • You can also consult your doctor if it is safe to do yoga, light exercises, or meditation.

    The following are the things that you must avoid during the pregnancy or breastfeeding period for your baby's proper brain development:

    • Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can pass on nicotine and carbon dioxide to the baby. It can cause nerve damage and should be avoided.
    • Drinking alcohol should be avoided as it can damage the baby's nervous system.
    • Avoid having too many caffeine drinks like coffee, green tea, black tea, and soft drinks because they can cause complications in pregnancy.
    • Avoid raw foods and unpasteurised milk or cheese as they can cause bacterial infections.
    • Uncooked or raw eggs, fish, and meat should also be avoided.
    • If you have a cat at home, you should avoid cleaning the litter box as it can cause an infection called toxoplasmosis, which is harmful to the baby.
    • You should also avoid heavy exercise.
    • Avoid having over the counter medicines without a doctor's consultation.
    Book an online consultation with India's best Nutritionist/Dietician for FREE to know more about what you should eat & what you shouldn't during pregnancy.

    Summing Up on Foods to Eat During Pregnancy to Make Baby Smart

    If you want a smart baby, it is vital to focus on your diet throughout the pregnancy. Nutrients like choline, folate, iodine, iron, and vitamin D are essential for your baby's proper brain development. Therefore, you should have foods rich in these nutrients during pregnancy. The most nutritious foods to eat during pregnancy to make the baby smart include eggs, milk and dairy products, legumes, berries, meat, and green leafy vegetables.


    In Which Month of Pregnancy Does Baby’s Brain Develop?

    A baby's brain development begins in the first trimester, usually from the third week of pregnancy, during which the nerve connections start forming. When you reach the second trimester, the brain tissues are formed, whereas, in the last trimester, the cerebral cortex (the left and right brain hemispheres) is formed.

    Which Fruit Gives Colour to a Baby During Pregnancy?

    The skin colour of the baby is based on genes. However, foods rich in vitamin C like avocado, orange, blueberries, strawberries, and coconut water are believed to give colour to the baby during pregnancy.

    Which Area of the Brain Is Well Developed at Birth?

    At the time of birth of a child, the five major parts of the brain - cerebrum (responsible for memory and thinking), cerebellum (important for body movement), brain stem (controls involuntary functions like breathing), pituitary gland (releases growth and other hormones), and hypothalamus (regulates sleep, hunger, and thirst) are well-formed.

    How Do I Know if My Baby Is Intelligent?

    You can notice a few signs to confirm that your baby is intelligent. If the baby learns to walk, speak, or eat earlier than other babies at his age, if the baby has a good attention span, is extremely curious and loves to solve problems like trying unique ways to get snacks kept out of their reach, there are high chances that your baby is intelligent.


    • Hiten D. Mistry, September 2011; The Importance of Antioxidant Micronutrients in Pregnancy -
    • Eamon Fitzgerald, November 2020; Maternal influences on fetal brain development: The role of nutrition, infection and stress, and the potential for intergenerational consequences -
    • The Importance of Iodine in Prenatal Brain Development -
    • Loise wang'ondu, September 2017; Improving maternal and infant nutrition to enhance fetal brain development and reduce the risk of brain injury during childhood-a randomized control study -
    • Chessa K. Lutter, October 2018; The potential of a simple egg to improve maternal and child nutrition - https://www.
    • Ayfer Dayi, September 2016; Maternal Aerobic Exercise during Pregnancy Can Increase Spatial Learning by Affecting Leptin Expression on Offspring's Early and Late Period in Life Depending on Gender -
    • How music affects your baby’s brain: Mini Parenting Master Class -

    Nutrition during pregnancy - Geburtsinfo Wien

    Many people think that pregnant women should eat "for two", that is, twice as much as usual. But it's not!

    It is much more important to organize a healthy diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, milk, dairy products and high quality fats. Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water or unsweetened tea. Don't diet or fast, even for religious reasons. Diets and fasting are harmful to pregnant women.

    Essential for healthy development of the child:

    • folic acid: found in spinach, broccoli, egg yolk, tomatoes and bananas
    • Iron: in meat, black pepper, cinnamon, parsley, beans, peas, lentils, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, nuts
    • Iodine: use iodized table salt!
    • Calcium: in milk, dairy products, cabbage, broccoli, leeks, dill

    Discuss all questions with your doctor and read the following information:

    Dangerous and forbidden foods for pregnant women

    During pregnancy, the entire female body changes. This can weaken the immune system, lowering the body's defenses. Therefore, at this time, infectious diseases are more severe than usual, which can jeopardize the health of the mother and unborn child.

    Take precautions: When preparing and eating food, pay attention to the following two things:

    • Practice strict hygiene when preparing and storing food.
    • Avoid so-called dangerous foods.

    Dangerous foods include:

    • raw milk and raw milk products
      Discard raw milk or boil it first.
      Avoid raw milk products. You will recognize these products by their "Made with Raw Milk" label.

    Remove the skin from the cheese and do not eat cheeses that ripen in the presence of slime microflora (eg tilsiter, quargel) and soft cheeses (eg camembert).

    • Meat, fish and eggs

    WARNING! Avoid oily predatory fish such as tuna, swordfish, halibut and pike. These fish often contain heavy metals.
    Heavy metals are also found in giblets. Therefore, you will have to give up offal.

    Avoid raw and undercooked fish and seafood, including sushi, oysters, and the like.
    Avoid smoked and pickled fish, including smoked salmon, and gravaviloha.

    Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, meat or sausages. This list includes carpaccio, beef tartare, low to medium rare steak, salami, smoked sausage, hunting sausages, smoked ham, smoked meat, ham fat, soft-boiled eggs, fried eggs or raw egg dishes, including homemade tiramisu and the like.

    • Drinks

    Avoid alcohol and smoking. So far, no scientific study has been able to prove that alcohol, even in small doses, is not dangerous for pregnant women. Therefore: hands off alcohol! Be aware that flour products, sweets or cooked sauces may contain (residual) alcohol!

    Don't take unnecessary risks and keep caffeinated drinks to a minimum. No more than 2-3 cups of coffee or 4 cups of green or black tea are allowed. Attention: Cold tea and coffee drinks, coca-cola, guarana drinks, many energy drinks and the like contain caffeine!

    As a precaution, do not consume freshly squeezed and uncooked fruit and vegetable juices sold in stalls and shops.

    Do not drink beverages containing quinine, such as gin and tonic, Bitter Lemon, etc.

    Talk to your doctor and read the following information:

    Addictive Substances

    Quit All Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs During Pregnancy!


    Do not drink alcohol during pregnancy! Even in small doses, alcohol can cause serious harm to a child. Alcohol acts like a poison on the nerves and brain, being one of the most common causes of anomalies in the development of the child.

    Talk to your doctor and read the following information:


    Stop smoking during pregnancy and avoid smoky rooms! Cigarettes contain nicotine and nearly 5,000 other chemicals. If inhaled, all of these substances can cause serious harm to your child. Pregnant women who smoke often have miscarriages or premature births. Children born to smoking mothers often suffer from asthma, allergies, pneumonia, bronchitis and other diseases. There is also an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

    Discuss all questions with your doctor and read the following information:


    Do not use drugs or intoxicants during pregnancy! Drugs can seriously harm your baby's development and, in the worst case, lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. If you have an addiction, don't be ashamed of it and discuss the situation with your doctor. You can also contact specialized centers that advise drug addicts.

    Talk to your doctor and read the following information:

    Taking medications

    Some medications are dangerous for pregnant women and unborn babies. If you are prescribed regular medication, tell your doctor that you are pregnant. Even if you are sick and must take medication, tell your doctor that you are pregnant. When purchasing medicines at a pharmacy, always warn that you are pregnant.

    Proper nutrition during pregnancy - tips for proper nutrition


    ≈ 10 min read time


    • Pregnancy and nutrition
    • Nutrition during pregnancy
    • What can you drink during pregnancy
    • Some features of nutrition in different trimesters
    • Weight during pregnancy
    • Normal weight gain during pregnancy

    How to eat right during pregnancy, what foods to avoid, how much to drink, how to choose vitamins and how to monitor weight? Let's study this topic and answer all the questions.

    Good nutrition before and during pregnancy increases your chances of having a healthy baby and, moreover, reduces your baby's risk of certain adverse health conditions later in life.

    Find out what principles should be based on the diet of a pregnant woman, what nutrients are most necessary for the health of mother and child, what can and cannot be eaten while expecting a baby, and what weight gain is considered normal.

    During pregnancy, it is better for the expectant mother to be happy, contented and healthy in order to give birth to a happy, contented and healthy baby. And her diet should contain the necessary amount of vitamins and nutrients that will contribute to this.

    During pregnancy, you should follow the general principles of a healthy diet, then you will provide yourself with the best diet for pregnant women. The menu should contain the main food groups:

    • Vegetables and fruits (fresh, frozen, canned, dried; greens and leafy salads). They deliver antioxidants, vitamins A, C, folic acid, dietary fiber, potassium to the body. 7-8 servings per day (one serving is 250 ml (cup) chopped vegetables or 125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped fruit).
    • Cereals (oatmeal, millet, corn, buckwheat, rice, bread - preferably grain or with bran, pasta, etc.), potatoes. They are sources of carbohydrates (starch), dietary fiber, thiamine and niacin. 6-7 servings per day (one serving is 1 slice of bread (35 g) or 125 ml (1/2 cup) of rice or pasta).
    • Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, cheese, etc.). Sources of calcium, protein, vitamins A, D, B2 and riboflavin. 3 servings a day (one serving is 250 ml of milk, or 175 g of yogurt, or 75 g of cheese).
    • Protein foods: meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, legumes, nuts. They provide the body with iron, protein, B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium. 2 servings per day (one serving is 75 g or 125 ml).
    • Fats (vegetable oil, butter, fish oil, nuts). Saturate the body with essential fatty acids, vitamins A, D and E. 30 - 45 ml (2 - 3 tablespoons) per day.

    It is recommended to take food in small portions 5-6 times a day. And here is a list of the most useful foods for the nine most important months.

    • Green and yellow vegetables and fruits, and the queen among them is broccoli. The pretty inflorescences of this cabbage contain an impressive number of substances that are absolutely necessary during pregnancy. Folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, beta-carotene, selenium, vitamins PP, K, E. This low-calorie vegetable is rich in fiber, which helps to normalize digestion. In addition to broccoli, pregnant women should include more greens and spinach, other green and yellow vegetables in their diet - it is better to stew, steam or bake them, but not fry them. Of the fruits, you should pay attention to green apples, which usually do not cause allergies.
    • Lentils and other legumes are also an important part of the expectant mother's diet. They contain a large amount of vegetable protein and useful trace elements: iron, calcium, zinc. And fiber - even more than in the "usual" vegetables! Low-fat, spicy lentil soup with chicken broth can be a great main course for the whole family. It is good to add a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream to it. However, the use of legumes should be treated with some caution, as they can cause increased gas formation and flatulence, which is already a problem for expectant mothers. Therefore, it is worth including dishes from lentils, beans, peas in the diet after a "test drive" of a small portion.
    • Eggs contain folic acid, which is so important for the proper development of the fetus, as well as selenium, choline, biotin, easily digestible proteins and amino acids, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Eggs are rich in vitamins A, E, D, B12, B3. But attention! Before eating eggs must be subjected to heat treatment, they should never be eaten raw! Quail eggs are good for diet food. The body temperature of quails is so high that it does not allow the development of such a dangerous disease as salmonellosis. The content of vitamins A, B1 and B2 in them is almost twice as high as in chicken, and in five quail eggs, which roughly correspond to one chicken in weight, there are almost five times more iron, phosphorus and potassium. On the day you can eat no more than 2 chicken and no more than 6 - 10 quail eggs.
    • Fermented milk products such as yogurt and kefir promote harmonious digestion and create favorable microflora in the stomach and intestines. Expectant mothers should definitely include in the diet various low-fat types of cheeses and cottage cheese, which include a lot of calcium and phosphorus. During pregnancy or breastfeeding, special attention should be paid to the correct choice of fermented milk products, because right now its optimal composition and “reliability” are so important. An excellent solution are products in this category, specially created for baby food. "Children's" dairy products, as a rule, contain prebiotics and probiotics that support the normal intestinal microflora and promote comfortable digestion, which is so important for the expectant mother.
    • Fish is a slightly less "heavy" product than meat, which is also better absorbed. Expectant mothers are recommended low-fat varieties of sea fish: cod, navaga, hake, ice fish, sea bream, sea bass. It contains minerals, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for the healthy development of the baby and the proper course of pregnancy. Only marine varieties of fish are rich in such acids, and river fish should be treated with great care, because it may contain parasites. Raw fish is prohibited during pregnancy, and varieties such as king mackerel, swordfish, shark and tuna should be consumed in limited quantities. Fish of these varieties may contain methylmercury, which is dangerous to the nervous system of the fetus if it accumulates in the mother's body. Therefore, nutritionists recommend eating such fish no more than once a week, and the approximate weight of a steak in finished form should be about 150 g.
    • Dietary meats - rabbit, turkey, veal - are useful during pregnancy, as they are rich in protein and at the same time lean. Rabbit meat is called the latest trend in modern cooking, and it is considered optimal for dietary nutrition. It contains many vitamins B6, B12, PP, as well as iron, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, etc. An excellent traditional recipe is rabbit stewed in sour cream with seasonal vegetables. Expectant mothers who love delicious food will also like steamed veal cooked in a slow cooker with prunes, or a Moroccan turkey stewed with a mixture of spices and orange juice.
    • Whole grains and cereals, such as wild rice, wholemeal bread, oatmeal, sprouted wheat, bran, buckwheat, are extremely important for digestion because they contain a lot of plant fiber, complex carbohydrates, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins of group B. Cereals can be an interesting side dish and act as a main dish. So, almost each of them can be cooked in the manner of a vegetarian pilaf: first, stew the vegetables in olive oil, and then cover them with washed cereals and stew until tender.
    • Butter, both butter and vegetable, is also useful for expectant mothers. Butter contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Vitamin A has regenerative properties, is important for vision, as well as for the growth of the fetus. Vitamin D regulates the processes of cell division, promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the body (which is especially necessary during pregnancy), and is involved in the synthesis of a number of hormones. Vitamin K affects metabolism and blood clotting. However, due to the high cholesterol content in butter, the norm of its use is no more than 15 - 30 g per day. Vegetable oils contain a lot of fatty acids, vitamins E, A, P. Vitamin E is absolutely necessary during pregnancy and is prescribed when there is a threat of miscarriage. Pay special attention to unrefined cold-pressed oils: olive, grape seed, pumpkin, corn, sunflower.

    Pay special attention to the liquids that you consume during pregnancy: their quantity and quality is no less important for your and your baby's health than nutrition.

    First of all, we are talking, of course, about drinking water. Water is necessary to maintain proper metabolism, absorption of trace elements and removal of toxins from the body. In addition, a sufficient amount of fluid you drink helps to avoid the problem that almost every pregnant woman faces - constipation.

    More fluid is needed in the first trimester, especially if the expectant mother has toxicosis, which, among other things, may be due to dehydration. The symptoms of the latter include severe dryness of the skin of the face, hands, feet and even lips, constipation, irritability, early onset of toxicosis. And in the case of morning sickness, and on ordinary days, you should definitely maintain water balance. The required amount of fluid consumed will be determined by the doctor, taking into account the characteristics of the course of your pregnancy.

    When the baby has already grown up in the tummy, his body begins to remove metabolic products, and the mother's organs work with a greater load. More blood circulates in the vessels of a pregnant woman, its flow to the tissues increases, their saturation with water increases, which contributes to a more intensive metabolism and the removal of metabolic products.

    Puffiness, which is characteristic of all pregnant women in the later stages, is, in fact, the process of formation of water reserves by the body. Due to the fact that a large amount of blood is spent during childbirth, the body prudently prepares to replenish the fluid supply after the birth of the baby. To avoid excessive swelling, in the second half of pregnancy, you should eat more vegetables and fruits, drink yogurt and kefir and try to reduce the intake of salt, which provokes thirst.

    For expectant mothers, freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies (prepared at home), cocktails based on fermented milk products (lassi) are very useful. Before drinking any herbal tea, you should consult with your doctor.

    Sugary drinks, juices, carbonated water - minimize the use of these liquids: the high doses of sugar contained in the first two cases and minerals in the third are likely to be excessive against the background of a balanced diet and taking additional vitamin complexes.

    What vitamins do pregnant women need

    There is no magic formula for a healthy diet during pregnancy. In general, the general principles of proper nutrition remain the same as in normal circumstances - eat more vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meats and fish, healthy fats. However, there are some nutrients in the pregnancy diet that deserve special attention from the mother-to-be. Let's list them.

    Folic acid prevents birth defects

    Folic acid is a vitamin B9, taking it in the first months of pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects, the organ that forms the brain and spinal cord of the embryo. This element can be obtained from food, due to the synthesis that occurs in the intestine, as well as in synthetic form as a water-soluble vitamin or dietary supplement.

    How much is needed: 0.4 mg per day for 3 months before pregnancy and throughout the first trimester.

    Best Natural Sources: Lentils, beef liver, cod liver, legumes, green leafy vegetables, whole grains.

    Calcium strengthens bone tissue

    You and your child need calcium for strong and healthy bones and teeth. This element is also necessary for the normal functioning of the muscular and nervous systems, the regulation of intracellular processes.

    Compared to normal conditions, the need for calcium in a woman who is expecting a child increases by almost 50%. By nature, if your body becomes deficient in calcium during pregnancy, it will take it from your bones, which can contribute to the development of osteoporosis at an older age.

    The absorption of calcium doubles in the second half of pregnancy, which allows not to increase the volume of its consumption. Please note that calcium absorption requires vitamin D and vitamin K2, which is contained, for example, in Agusha curds.

    How much you need: 1200 mg per day.

    Best Natural Sources: Dairy products, grains, legumes, citrus fruits, dark leafy vegetables and leafy greens, nuts.

    Vitamin D promotes strong bones

    Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the body. Together with calcium, it serves as an excellent prevention of rickets in newborns.

    Vitamin D is synthesized subcutaneously under the influence of ultraviolet radiation. If you live in an area with low insolation and do not consume enough eggs, dairy, and fish products, you may need to supplement with chemically synthesized vitamin D.

    How much you need: 10 - 15 mcg (or 400 - 600 IU) per day.

    Best Natural Sources: Seaweed and fatty seaweed fish (salmon), fish oil, cod liver, butter, egg yolk.

    Iron prevents anemia

    The human body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in blood cells that delivers oxygen to organ tissues. Iron also makes you more resistant to stress and disease, and prevents fatigue, weakness, irritability, and depression.

    During pregnancy, a woman's total blood volume increases. Thus, the body “adjusts” to the new physiological situation, and the child’s circulatory system is also launched. As a result, the expectant mother's need for this mineral doubles.

    With iron deficiency, a pregnant woman may experience fatigue and be more prone to infections. In addition, the lack of this element is dangerous for the fetus: the risk of premature birth and low birth weight of the baby increases.

    How much you need: 20 mg per day.

    Best Natural Sources: Liver, lean red meat (especially beef), poultry, fish, whole grains, eggs, legumes, buckwheat, pomegranate, apples, beets, peaches, apricots.

    Iodine prevents malformations

    Iodine is essential for the normal development of the fetus. Sufficient intake during pregnancy is important to prevent hypothyroidism in the mother and newborn. Iodine deficiency can have a negative effect on the fetus from the 8th to 10th week of pregnancy.

    How Much You Need: 150 – 200 mcg per day.

    Best natural sources: iodized salt, marine products.

    Vitamin C enhances the protective functions of the body

    Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant sources such as buckwheat. One of those elements that cannot be synthesized and stored in the human body. And this means that you need to consume foods rich in this vitamin daily.

    How much you need: 50 – 70 mg per day.

    The best natural sources are: kiwi, orange, some vegetables (tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cabbage), berries (especially rose hips), herbs (especially parsley, spinach).

    One orange or one green bell pepper per day is enough. It is important to remember that when heated, vitamin C in foods is destroyed, take this into account when cooking.

    When thinking about the diet of a pregnant woman, it is important to remember that the food she eats should ensure, on the one hand, the growth and development of the fetus, and on the other hand, the needs of the woman herself, taking into account all the changes that the body of the expectant mother is going through.

    The volume and ratio of biologically and energetically useful substances necessary to meet the needs of the expectant mother depends on the period. In the first half of pregnancy (especially in the first trimester), the needs of the body practically do not change.

    Such changes begin to occur in the second half of pregnancy. This is due to a noticeable growth of the fetus and placenta, as well as changes in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, liver and kidneys, which ensure the circulation and excretion of metabolic products of both the mother and the fetus.

    In accordance with these features in the second half of pregnancy, it is important to increase the content of protein, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, vitamins and trace elements in the diet and limit salt intake.

    During the first months of pregnancy, you should not notice any weight gain. Some women may even find weight loss due to ailments that are quite common (according to some reports, in 70% of cases) occurring in the first trimester and affecting established eating and drinking habits. So-called morning sickness can continue throughout pregnancy, although it usually goes away or at least begins to subside by the end of the first trimester.

    Talk to your pregnancy doctor if you experience severe nausea as your body may become dehydrated. Do not forget that along with the liquid, there is also a loss of vitamins and trace elements that are so necessary for you and your baby.

    As the baby grows in the second and third trimesters, the nutritional needs of the mother-to-be also increase. Nevertheless, pregnancy is not a reason to overeat, “eat for two,” as they used to say. In fact, pregnant women need only 200 to 300 extra calories per day, and then only in the last trimester. They can be obtained by eating an additional 2 fruits, 2 handfuls of berries, a cheese sandwich or a serving of cottage cheese casserole.

    If you entered a pregnancy at a healthy weight, then an increase of 10 to 13.6 kg is considered normal, and this additional mass is distributed in the body as follows:

    • fetus, placenta, amniotic fluid - 5 kg;
    • mother's circulating blood volume - 1 - 1. 5 kg;
    • extracellular fluid - 1 - 1.5 kg;
    • uterus, mammary glands - 1 - 1.5 kg;
    • adipose tissue - 4 kg.

    In women with a deficit or excess of body weight before pregnancy, the indicators will be somewhat different, and an increase of 12 to 15.2 kg and 7 to 9.1 kg, respectively, is acceptable.

    If your weight was previously significantly different from the norm, it is better for you to consult with a specialist leading your pregnancy about the diet and desired weight gain.

    Recommendations should be given taking into account age, body size (height, weight, mass index), level of physical activity, individual metabolic characteristics, and some others.

    As an indicator of underweight or overweight, an indicator such as BMI (body mass index) is commonly used. It is calculated as follows:

    BMI = weight (kg) / height (m)2.

    The recommended weight gain, calculated on the basis of BMI, is the most personalized, taking into account the individual characteristics of a particular woman.

    On average, you can gain 1-2 kg in the first trimester. In the 2nd - 3rd trimesters, the following weight gain is considered the norm:

    • at normal weight - 0.4 kg per week;
    • underweight - 0.5 kg per week;
    • overweight - 0.3 kg per week.

    Weight gain of less than 1 kg or more than 3 kg per month should be the basis for a careful study of the circumstances of the course of pregnancy by an obstetrician. What not to drink and eat when you are pregnant

    • Unpasteurized milk. Any dairy and sour-milk products that you will consume during pregnancy must be labeled "Pasteurized" on the packaging.
    • Soft cheeses. You can enjoy parmesan on pizza, but soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk (brie, camembert, feta, blue cheeses) are best avoided. The bacteria they contain can have an adverse effect on your current condition.
    • Raw and underdone meat. May contain pathogenic bacteria. This also includes all raw smoked products. Leaving aside the question of whether they are useful in principle, let's focus on the fact that the Listeria bacterium, which can live in raw meat, continues to exist even when these foods are in your refrigerator. They become relatively safe only when eaten immediately after cooking at high temperatures.
    • Raw, dried fish, seafood and dishes from them (sushi, etc.). If you are a fan of sushi, oysters, mussels or lightly salted salmon, you will have to forget about these delicacies for the entire duration of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Only carefully processed and cooked at high temperatures, fish and seafood are allowed to be consumed by pregnant women.
    • Raw eggs and egg dishes (before heat treatment), eg raw dough. If you are kneading the dough with eggs, give up the habit of tasting it. Even a small amount of raw dough poses a risk: the same Salmonella bacterium is very dangerous for any healthy body, not to mention your special situation. In the same category - homemade mayonnaise and other salad dressings ("Caesar", etc. ). And let's not forget about sweet dishes: mousse, eggnog, meringues, tiramisu, etc.
    • Shoots and germinated grains. Avoid any: pathogenic organisms can enter them at an early stage of growth, and it will not be possible to wash them off with water before eating.
    • Fish with mercury. Tuna, swordfish, mackerel, shark may contain high doses of mercury. It is considered safe to take no more than 300 g per week of seafood or fish containing minimal doses of mercury: catfish, salmon, cod, canned tuna.
    • Fresh juices. Juices squeezed in restaurants and other public places may also contain disease-causing bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. The bottled raw, unpasteurized juices you see in supermarket refrigerators fall into the same category.
    • Unwashed fruits and vegetables. Toxoplasma bacteria, which is dangerous for you and your baby, can live on them.
    • Caffeine. Many mothers are interested in the question of whether it is possible to drink coffee during pregnancy. Recent studies show that small amounts of caffeine are safe for pregnant women. However, the question is still being studied whether high doses of this substance can lead to risks of miscarriage, as was recently thought. As research is ongoing on this subject, the current limit for caffeine consumption is 200mg per day – that’s one cup of coffee. Remember that this element is also found in cola, tea, chocolate and energy drinks.
    • Alcohol. The topic of alcohol consumption during pregnancy continues to be relevant. You are well aware that the abuse of strong drinks leads to serious malformations of the fetus. However, not everyone knows that even small doses can be dangerous. No safe amount of alcohol is allowed during pregnancy yet. Therefore, it is best to abandon any "hot products" for the entire time of waiting for the baby and breastfeeding.

    The waiting period for a child is a time when you should pay special attention to your health and the needs of the body.

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