10 Best Foods to Eat When Pregnant

Many women don't realize that when they are pregnant they will require an extra 300 calories per day in their diet. This is really good news, especially if you're anything like me, and you like to eat! 😉

The other thing that is great about your increased need for calories is that it will make it easier for you meet your increased nutrition needs during pregnancy without fear of gaining excess weight. By the way, in case you are wondering, here is the recommended weight gain for pregnancy based on pre-pregnant weight.10 Best Foods to Eat When PregnantNote: This is NOT the time to be on a weight loss plan. And you should not worry too much if you gain a bit more or less than the recommendations here.

However, it is important to point out that if you gain an excessive amount of weight too quickly, this could be a sign of excessive water weight gain which can be a sign of a dangerous condition known as preeclampsia.

It is normal to retain a bit of water and to have some swelling in your ankles and other places during pregnancy, especially after the 20th week.

However, if you gain an excessive amount of weight and have any of the following symptoms:

  1. Severe Headache
  2. Changes in Vision
  3. Upper Abdominal Pain
  4. Nausea and Vomiting
  5. Decreased urine (pee) output
  6. Shortness of breath

Then You need to contact your doctor immediately!

On the other hand, if you are not gaining weight at all due to excessive morning sickness OR you are eating just fine but still not gaining weight, you also need to contact your doctor to make sure that you are not dehydrated or that something else isn't going on. Click here for symptoms of dehydration.

Back to increased nutrient needs.

Other increased needs include:

Most doctors will prescribe a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins are usually higher in folic acid and iron to compensate for the increased folic acid and iron needs of a pregnant woman. They also contain essential amounts of other vitamins and minerals, and many contain essential Omega-3s as well.

The 10 Best Foods to Eat When Pregnant are:

  1. Lean Meat and Eggs – High Quality Protein and Iron
  2. Leafy Greens including broccoli – Magnesium, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium
  3. Legumes, peas, and lentils (pulses)Fiber to prevent constipation, folic acid
  4. Nuts – Copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium
  5. Whole grains – Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Iron, Fiber
  6. Yogurt, especially Greek Yogurt – High quality protein, probiotics (Read label to make sure yogurt you purchase contains probiotics).
  7. Calcium rich foods including milk (cow's, soy, rice, almond, cashew), cheese, and yogurt.
  8. Omega 3 Rich Foods including salmon and other fatty fish.
  9. Avocados – Healthy fats, Folic acid, B6, magnesium, fiber
  10. Water and Lots of it! (Juice, milk, soups, shakes help to provide water as well)

Gestational Diabetes

1 in 10 pregnant women will be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes during their pregnancy. As a result, I want to briefly discuss this disease with you.

But what exactly is Gestational Diabetes and what can you do to reduce the risks?

Many people are familiar with Diabetes in general. Just like other types of Diabetes, Gestational diabetes results in high blood sugar as the result of insufficient insulin. With type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas is not producing insulin. With Type 2 Diabetes, there is insulin resistance, usually as the result of excess body weight.

Gestational Diabetes, on the other hand, seems to result in insulin in the pregnant woman's body not being available.

The reason you end up with high blood sugar is because insulin is necessary for the sugars you get through the foods you eat to be transferred to your body to be used for energy.

Unfortunately, it is not clear what causes Gestational Diabetes. What we do know is that it does not mean you had diabetes before pregnancy. Though it does mean that you have an increased risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes later in life.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

“During pregnancy, the placenta, which connects your baby to your blood supply, produces high levels of various other hormones. Almost all of them impair the action of insulin in your cells, raising your blood sugar. (Emphasis mine). Modest elevation of blood sugar after meals is normal during pregnancy.

“As your baby grows, the placenta produces more and more insulin-counteracting hormones. In gestational diabetes, the placental hormones provoke a rise in blood sugar to a level that can affect the growth and welfare of your baby. Gestational diabetes usually develops during the last half of pregnancy — sometimes as early as the 20th week, but generally not until later.”

Who is at Highest Risk for Getting Gestational Diabetes

As with any type of diabetes, diet and exercise are your friends for helping you to feel your best and minimize the risks that can be associated with Gestational Diabetes.

Risks of Having Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy

One of the risk factors of Gestational Diabetes is a super big baby (high birth weight). This can result in the need for a Caesarian section because the baby is too big to fit through the birth canal. Also, preterm birth and respiratory distress syndrome can result from Gestational Diabetes. Another risk is low blood sugar of the baby at birth. And lastly, mom has a higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes later in life.

Click here for more information on Gestational Diabetes.

I hope that the information on Gestational Diabetes was helpful to you and that you are also enlightened on what I believe are the 10 best foods to eat when pregnant. There are lots of healthy foods to choose from.

Make sure you choose foods you enjoy and have fun!

Other Posts by Homeschooling Dietitian Mom

Diet and ADHD in Children, Part 1

Benefits of Breastmilk

What's So Important about Magnesium?

Why Protein is Important

10 Reasons Vitamin D is Important

10 Facts about Vitamin B12

Healthy Foods for Pregnancy E-book by Homeschooling Dietitian Mom (Me) 🙂


Healthline – 13 Foods to Eat When Pregnant

American Diabetes Association – Gestational Diabetes

What to Expect – Big Nutrition Small Packages

The Mayo – Gestational Diabetes – Symptoms and Causes

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