Monday, July 22, 2024

    Healthy Diet Tips For The First Trimester Of Year Pregnancy

    Eating well is important throughout your pregnancy, but the first trimester is the most critical period in your baby’s health and development.

    Every organ in the baby’s body begins to take shape during this phase. An adverse health issue in the first trimester can have a huge impact on your baby’s life moving forward.


    Researchers in the field of epigenetics have learnt that a poor diet during pregnancy can change the way a baby’s genes are expressed, and those altered genes can be passed down to future generations.

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    Crucial nutrients for the first trimester

    There are specific reasons nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats are essential for the development of a healthy baby. Let’s take a closer look:

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    • Folic acid. Folic acid or “folate” is one of the B vitamins that is critical for the closure of the baby’s neural tube. This tube forms the baby’s brain, skull, and spinal column. Without adequate folic acid early in pregnancy, the risk for neural tube defects like spina bifida increases. Many grains, flour, and cereals have added folic acid.
    • Calcium. Your bones and those of your baby need calcium for strength and other functions. Calcium is best absorbed when accompanied by vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D come from milk; however, cereals, other dairy products, and vegetables also have this mineral.
    • Vitamin D. This is called the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies make it when exposed to sunlight. It is a common supplement in fortified dairy products but is also in fish, eggs, cheese, and butter.
    • Iron. Iron is key to making blood, which will carry oxygen to the baby.
    • Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids come from fatty fish like salmon, chia, and other seeds. These fatty acids are critical for the baby’s brain and eye development.
    • DHA. This is one of the two main omega-3 fatty acids. You can get it from fish and other seafood. It is critical for healthy brain development, beginning in the first trimester, when the brain is newly formed.
    • Choline. Choline is essential for brain development; it is a nutrient you need as soon as the baby’s first brain cells appear. Sources of choline include eggs and beef or chicken liver. Choline is important before, during, and after pregnancy.
    • Vitamin B12. This vitamin plays a role in maintaining and developing a healthy nervous system, making it important for both mother and baby.
    • Protein. Proteins are essential for all living functions. Getting enough protein during pregnancy by eating lean meats, legumes, and other nonmeat sources supports all aspects of your baby’s health.
    • Vitamin C. Pregnancy is a good time to eat more fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. It helps your baby make new connective tissue and allows you to absorb iron more efficiently.
    • Iodine. Iodine is critical to thyroid gland function. The thyroid gland manages hormone signals that control key bodily functions like metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. A low iodine level could increase your baby’s risk of birth defects, nerve diseases, brain damage, and stillbirth.


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    Best foods to eat during the first trimester of pregnancy

    There is no perfect list of foods for the first trimester. You can often keep eating the foods you already love. Some foods, however, are especially healthy and beneficial for you and your baby. Here are a few:

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    • Whole grains. Whole grain rice, pasta, and bread are rich in folate and offer fiber to help improve bowel function. Fiber also helps sugars absorb more gradually, which helps reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.
    • Lean meats. Protein is found in all types of meat. Lean meats are best as they contain less saturated fat.
    • Fruits. Most fruits have vitamin C and phytonutrients essential for optimal health. Berries, for example, have antioxidants not found in most other foods. Aim for fruits of varied colors.

    Read also: What To Expect In Your 1st Trimester When Expecting

    • Vegetables. Like fruits, vegetables have tons of healthful ingredients. Besides vitamins and minerals, most vegetables have phytonutrients that help your baby grow and develop.
    • Yoghurt & other dairy products. Dairy products are excellent sources of vitamin D and calcium to help your baby’s bones and teeth grow and develop.
    • Kale. Kale is a leafy green that has tons of fiber and nutrients. Kale is an excellent source of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamins K, C, and A. It also contains an omega-3 fatty acid that supports eye health.
    • Bananas. Bananas are high in potassium, which will help you maintain healthy blood pressure. Potassium also helps offset swelling caused by sodium/salt retention.
    • Beans & lentils. Beans and lentils are great sources of protein and fiber. A pot of lentil or bean soup can be comforting and may help you gain protein without the saturated fat found in meats.
    • Flaxseed, canola, or soybean oil. These have omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce the risk of preterm birth and help your baby have a more optimal birth weight.
    • Spinach. This is a leafy green vegetable that has loads of vitamin C and iron. Iron helps you and your baby make red blood cells. All dark, leafy greens are good food choices because they contain folate.
    • Fish. Fish are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

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