Growing a baby is an amazing thing. Perhaps at no other time in your life will the choices you make around what to put in your mouth be more important. You're not just eating for two, you're building a baby.
Switching to a whole foods diet of natural, minimally processed foods is an easy way to make sure you're getting the good stuff. This way you leave ample room for the basics — fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, nuts, legumes and lean animal protein.
Take some time to listen to what your body is telling you. You may find that some of your favourite foods no longer appeal to you or that foods you've sworn off in the past now sound increasingly tasty. Especially if you're a vegetarian or vegan — consider relaxing your dietary restrictions if your body craves animal protein. While it's possible to maintain a healthy pregnancy through vegetarian sources, it can be much more challenging. Looking for local and humanely-raised sources of animal protein may be one way to compromise during pregnancy and ensure you're getting what you and your baby need.
You may find eating smaller portions frequently throughout the day helps you feel better because it helps you get the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy and it maintains your energy intake throughout the day. Keep some raw nuts in your purse, office drawer and car. You'll be amazed at how some quick, dense calories can affect you. The experience of being pregnant provides its own level of emotional ups and downs. You may also find you need to snack at new hours. A piece of fresh fruit before bed and then a couple of whole grain crackers as soon as you wake in the morning can make you feel comfortable. If you do wake hungry during the night, consider a small snack of a complex carbohydrate, such as a few whole grain crackers.
Regardless of your philosophies on supplementation, many health professionals recommend taking a prenatal multivitamin that contains iron and folic acid while pregnant.
Your doctor may also recommend an essential fatty acid. The science on essential fatty acids on the development of fetal brain and eyes is strong and Western diets tend to be low in certain omega-3 fatty acids.
There's some debate about whether plant sources of essential fatty acids are sufficient to provide benefit to fetal development. Essential fats from fish are the closest in structure to the form we need, so you may want to consider a fish oil supplement. If you are vegetarian or vegan, consider expanding your diet to include this form of fatty acid.
Please consult your health care provider for advice about any specific diet, nutrition, or exercise concerns during pregnancy.