It’s easy to make fun of the “pregnancy cravings” which often lead to bizarre (or to put it more nicely ‘interesting’) flavor combinations in the food we choose to eat. Of course, there’s a fair amount of leeway to be given here – try to grow a brand new human being yourself, however natural it is, and you’ll see that yes, it does have an effect.
But while we poke light and harmless fun at these changes, if temporary behaviors can bring joy to many, it’s worth considering what’s actually happening here. After all, alternative cravings or preferences aren’t exactly a health issue like itchy skin during pregnancy, provided you’re getting a balanced diet with enough nutrients and steering well clear of alcohol and other vices.
By learning of how our diet habits can change during pregnancy, you can develop better habits or help repeat the good ones that help you sustain yourself over the course of this quite unique period of your life. While exploring these changes, we also intend to give some worthwhile dietary advice for expectant mothers, and we hope such insights help:
Increased Nutrient Requirements
Pregnancy places greater demands on the body, as it needs to provide nourishment and support for both the mother and the growing baby, and for a prolonged period of three-quarters of a year. As a result, there is an increased need for various nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients such as protein and carbohydrates. A balanced diet becomes paramount to meet these elevated nutrient requirements, but you should also be very careful regarding supplementation.
Some supplements simply aren’t acceptable for pregnant mothers, while some may offer similar vitamin counts, so for instance taking a multivitamin and an additional essential vitamin on top of that could take you above the daily recommended allowance you should be aiming for. On top of that, certain nutrients are key for pregnancy, such as folic acid, iron, calcium and omega-3. It’s important to note that some companies put out great prenatal supplements to make sure you have everything to hand at once. In the long run, that can make a great deal of positive difference.
These can help your unborn child through helping to combat conditions like anemia and support bone development. In the long run, this will help you gain the best chance of offering optimal health to your child, while also helping you deal with the rigors of pregnancy more easily. So, to put it simply, diet habits not only change during this time, but those habits must be precisely and consciously considered.
We all know we need to drink a good amount of water each day, but in pregnancy, that becomes a non-negotiable consideration. It’s also important to be careful when drinking caffeine through teas as a max limit of 200mg is recommended to expecting mothers, as any more has been linked to issues like low birth weight.
Moreover, staying well-hydrated is critical during pregnancy. Water is essential for maintaining amniotic fluid, regulating body temperature, and aiding digestion – no doubt you can agree all of these are essential priorities. It also helps prevent urinary tract infections, which can be more common during pregnancy. Pregnant women should aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, then, equalling roughly 64 to 96 ounces, or roughly 8 to 12 standard-size cups worth.
Managing Nausea and Cravings
Most pregnant women experience these two difficulties as their body is taxed during pregnancy. While they might not completely dissipate, they can be managed. Managing morning sickness through dietary adjustments, such as consuming bland, easy-to-digest foods, can help alleviate discomfort. Likewise, understanding and satisfying cravings within reason is a normal part of the pregnancy journey, so don’t feel ashamed if you’re suddenly extremely attracted to the idea of eating pickled foods between two layers of wholemeal toast and hummus – you may balk at the idea later, but as of now, it may be the recipe you most dream about.
A quick Google to see if a certain combination is safe to eat can always be helpful, but make sure you’re still satisfying your cravings in a considered manner, and if your partner pokes fun at you for it, remember that you’re carrying their child to begin with, and you deserve a little slack.
Weight Gain Considerations
Weight gain is absolutely an expected and necessary part of pregnancy for obvious reasons, and in some cases, you may grow extra fat as part of that, outside of carrying an unborn child. Healthy weight gain is essential, and it’s not solely about quantity but the quality of the calories consumed.
It’s also important to remember that no two women will come through pregnancy the exact same way. If you’re a little larger after your pregnancy than you had expected, that’s absolutely fine, adn you can always focus on weight loss later down the line. In other words, unless this presents itself as a problem and you’re given recommendations by your doctor to change your habits, don’t worry about your figure during this time. You have much more important priorities to worry about.
Safe Food Handling
Pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses, which can be harmful to the baby. Safe food handling practices, including thorough cooking and avoiding certain high-risk foods, are critical to prevent possible sicknesses and other dangers.
In other words, you may be ultra careful about eating in new locations, especially when on vacation. You can also invest in certain helpers in the kitchen like temperature thermometers that pierce the meat and can tell you the exact internal temperature, for example in chicken the same temperature is 165 Fahrenheit to kill any harmful bacteria that could lead to potential sickness.
With this advice, we hope you can more easily understand how diet habits change during pregnancy, and also never feel like an outlier if you pick up some quirky habits of your own along the way. It’s perfectly natural, and we’re sure you’ll keep up with your great diet as you wait for the arrival of your little one. Good luck!