Healthy eating during pregnancy

Healthy eating is always important, but nutrition deserves some extra attention during pregnancy. A varied diet with important nutrients is especially important. How can you achieve this? And how do you do this when you are a vegetarian and pregnant?

Nutrition during pregnancy

Pregnant women, like most people, have little desire to think about the calories and nutrients they consume. However, it is useful to pay some extra attention to this when you are pregnant. This is the only way your unborn child will receive the nutrients it so desperately needs. Moreover, your body works extra hard during pregnancy and it therefore deserves special attention to maintain its strength.

Dinner for two?

Although you would expect otherwise, your energy needs do not double during pregnancy. The energy requirement is ‘only’ increased by 15%, which in practice means approximately 500 calories per day. You have to pay close attention to what extra calories you consume, because the food must be healthy for both you and the baby. However, eating too much is not good either, and pregnancy is certainly not the time for a diet .

The baby’s food needs

During pregnancy, the baby only has the mother available as a food source . The most important and indispensable nutrients for the unborn baby are proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Proteins are possibly the most important nutrients for the baby . The amino acids that form the proteins are literally and figuratively the building blocks of the body . Proteins are crucial in the formation of muscles, bones, connective tissue and organs. Whole wheat bread, pasta, beans, cheese, sesame seeds, nuts and milk are examples of protein-rich products.
Carbohydrates provide the pregnant woman with the need for calories. Because you need about 500 extra calories per day during pregnancy, it is wise to pay close attention to whether you are consuming enough carbohydrates .
Fruit and vegetables are truly vitamin bombs ! Vitamins are usually not stored in the body, which is why you need to consume vitamins daily. Potatoes, vegetables and fruit contain vitamins A, E, B6, iron, zinc and magnesium. Broccoli, spinach, watercress, carrots, tomatoes, bananas, apricots and cherries are especially rich in these vitamins. Our vitamin B needs are met by meat, fish, dairy, grain and nuts.
Minerals and trace elements contain substances that help your body function properly. However, the body does not produce these itself, so you must ensure that your body receives these substances. Iron and calcium are especially important for the baby’s development.
Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin , the oxygen-binding part of red blood cells. Zinc is important for the development of the baby’s brain, but cannot be taken at the same time as iron-containing food because iron and zinc absorption hinder each other.
Calcium is important for the formation of the baby’s bones . The bones begin to develop between the 4th and 6th week of pregnancy. Lime is abundantly present in dairy products, green leafy vegetables, soy products and fish with bones.

Vegetarian food and pregnancy

If you eat little or no meat, it is important that you supplement the nutrients from these products in some way. As a vegetarian, you must be especially careful that you get enough iron, as there is relatively little iron in plant-based foods. It is advisable to drink at least 1 extra glass of milk per day if you do not eat meat. If you don’t eat animal products at all , you should ensure that you get vitamin B12 in another way, for example through vitamin supplements .

Power supply problems

If you, as a pregnant woman, eat too little or too much, problems with the baby can arise. It is important that you eat good quality food and avoid foods that may be contaminated with bacteria that can cause illness.


Not eating enough can have consequences for the baby. There is, among other things, an increased risk of premature delivery , miscarriage and underdevelopment of the baby . Poor nutrition also slows down the growth of the placenta. The development of the baby’s brain mainly takes place in the first three months, so malnutrition during this period can result in brain abnormalities in the unborn baby.

What foods should you avoid during pregnancy?

Certain foods are contaminated with bacteria that can endanger the unborn baby. These can transmit diseases, especially in people with low resistance and pregnant women.
Listeriosis is a phenomenon caused by Listeria bacteria . These are mainly present in French cheese, unpasteurized milk, cooked frozen foods, pâté and semi-cooked meat. Listeriosis can also spread through contact with infected animals. The symptoms are very similar to an emerging flu: high fever and a lot of muscle pain. An unborn baby can die from Listeriosis. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriage .
Salmonell a bacteria are mainly found in contaminated eggs and chicken. Therefore, do not eat food prepared with raw egg. Symptoms of Salmonella infection include headache, nausea, abdominal pain, chills and fever.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection that can be contracted by eating raw or semi-cooked meat, or by contact with the feces of infected dogs and cats . The disease can cause brain damage and blindness in the unborn child. 80% of people have already produced antibodies against toxoplasmosis at a young age.

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