Eating during pregnancy can be confusing. You suddenly hate mac and cheese, pickles with Cheetos are a go-to snack, or you suddenly are experiencing a food sensitivity. However, eating the right foods during pregnancy is so important as it can give your body all the necessary nutrients to give baby the best and healthiest start to life! So, get in those pregnancy superfoods!
Why is eating healthy important? Well eating healthy during pregnancy has been linked to good brain and fetal development, as well as healthy birth weight.
Eating the right kinds of foods will also help bring down the risk of certain birth and pregnancy complications, as well as help with fatigue, anemia, and morning sickness.
However, don’t chomp down those cherry tomatoes and celery sticks yet!
The key is a balanced diet with a variety of foods. Different foods give you different nutrients, so eating a good range of carbohydrates (grains), fats, proteins, fiber, and fruits and veggies with different vitamins and minerals is best.
But we all already know which foods we SHOULD be eating, right? So, let’s focus on the superfoods during pregnancy which give you the best sources of nutrients and may even help make your labor and delivery so much smoother!
Top 9 Pregnancy Superfoods for a Healthy and Smooth Pregnancy
- Leafy Greens
- Bone Broth
- Nuts and Seeds
I put dates on the list first as they are so incredibly important for pregnant mommas.
Eating dates during pregnancy has been linked to shorter labors and fewer birth defects due to the nutrients found in dates.
A 2011 study, showed that women who ate six dates a day for 4 weeks before going into labor had a shorter first stage of labor, a riper cervix, and a better cervical dilation.
Additionally, 96% of women who ate dates experienced spontaneous labor, versus 79% of women who didn’t eat dates.
In a more recent study, 77 women ate dates regularly before labor, and 77 women didn’t eat any dates. They found that the date eaters had a significantly lower rate of medical intervention before, during, and after labor and delivery.
Now can you tell why I am so in love with eating dates? Something so simple, yet so incredibly helpful, truly a pregnancy superfood! Not a fan of dates? Try eating them with a nut butter or including them in smoothies or baked goods to get those super helpful nutrients in!
Eating salmon, or fish in general during pregnancy is so important. Salmon is high in protein which is necessary for fetal brain development. It also contains Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
However, limit your servings to 2-3 servings a week with fish, as too much of a good thing can also become a bad thing, and remember, you need variety in your diet!
Be aware that some types of fish are to be avoided during pregnancy due to high levels of mercury, which is not very baby-friendly.
- orange roughy
- bigeye tuna
- king mackerel
Leafy greens contain so much goodness for you and your growing babe. They are high in iron and vitamin K which help prevent anemia, hemorrhaging, and help in blood clotting.
The best leafy greens include:
- collard greens
- and swiss chard
Try eating them in salads, adding them to smoothies, kale chips, or even making a green juice!
Watermelon is a pregnancy superfood, or more like superfruit in preventing dehydration as it is made up of 92% water. Watermelon also helps keep your energy levels high and provides some Vitamin C for that immune boost.
Every health nut is obsessed with avocados, but that’s because they are incredibly healthy and nutrient-packed! And they are known as the ultimate superfood and had to be included in our pregnancy superfoods list!
Avocados are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients. This helps in the healthy development of baby, shortens your labor, and enriches your future breastmilk.
They are also high in Potassium which strengthens contractions (making labor more efficient) and relaxes your muscles as well.
Not a fan of the taste or texture of avocados? Try eating them in guacamole, or even adding a quarter of an avocado to a smoothie, it makes it so much creamier and you won’t even taste it at all!
Using bone broth in your cooking instead of chicken or beef broth will add so many benefits. Bone broth is very rich in vitamins, minerals, and very high in protein as well. These help strengthen the uterus which helps in stronger and more efficient contractions.
Let’s add a healthy grain into the mix. Quinoa is known as the super-grain, as it is a protein-rich carbohydrate, meaning it is slowly digested and released, keeping you fuller for longer.
Why is this beneficial? Well eating quinoa before going into labor will boost your endurance and energy during labor as it will give your body the necessary fuel for a longer period of time.
Ah, yogurt. We all know how good probiotics are for our gut health and vaginal flora. Meaning, a lower chance of any vaginal infections or group B strep.
So, make sure to get those probiotics during pregnancy, as well as right before labor and delivery!
Nuts and Seeds
Snacking on nuts and seeds during pregnancy, but especially during labor can be so beneficial. Nuts and seeds are very nutrient-rich, meaning they will keep you nice and full and give you that boost of energy.
I snacked on trail mix throughout my 12-hour labor and nothing else. I believe that is the key reason I was not exhausted and could keep going, even when pushing took 3 hours long!
Eating the right kinds of foods during pregnancy, but also before labor and delivery can be super beneficial, and who doesn’t like eating food?
Try choosing at least 3 of the pregnancy superfoods above and implementing them into your meal plan for the next few weeks. Even just upping your intake on a few (or all) of these will boost your physical well-being!
Until next time,