Pregnancy Nutrition

Nurturing the Womb: The Best Food for Early Pregnancy

best food for early pregnancy
Written by Stephanie McClane

It’s important to maintain a healthy diet while pregnant to make sure your little one gets all the nutrients it needs to grow and develop properly. Poor nutrition can lead to a number of irreversible issues, such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

To prevent these health issues, make sure you’re consuming healthy foods in the right quantities from the beginning of your pregnancy to the end. If you’re interested in learning more about what the best food for early pregnancy is, follow along! We have compiled a list of the best foods to eat in your first trimester.

Best Food For Early Pregnancy

1. Yogurt

Dairy consumption during pregnancy ensures that the growing fetus will have adequate amounts of both calcium and protein. Dairy products also provide phosphorus, vitamin B, magnesium, and zinc – essential vitamins and minerals for the growth of your baby.

However, out of all dairy products, yogurt may be the best one. It contains more calcium than most other dairy products and is rich in probiotic bacteria, meaning it will support the health of your digestive system as well. Consuming probiotics during pregnancy has been found to reduce the risk of complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, vaginal infections, and allergies.

2. Legumes

Legumes include lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans, and peanuts. They are excellent sources of folate, iron, and calcium. Most pregnant women don’t consume the required amount of folate, a crucial vitamin to consume during pregnancy.

In fact, folate deficiency has been found to increase the risk of neural tube defect and low birth weight. Research has also found that this deficiency can increase the risk of infections and diseases that affect the child later in life. A mere cup of black beans gets you more than half-way to the recommended daily amount and can prevent future diseases.

3. Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids are also incredibly important to consume during pregnancy. Most women, whether they are pregnant or not, do not get enough omega-3 from their diets. During pregnancy, it’s extremely important to change this, given that omega-3 fatty acids help build the eyes and brain of your fetus.

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, make sure to limit your seafood intake to roughly two times per week, since mercury contamination is still prevalent in most seafood. Two meals of fatty fish will get you to the recommended intake of omega-3.

4. Eggs

Eggs pack a punch in the nutrient department. They are incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals essential to our wellbeing. However, what you may not know is that eggs are rich in choline. Choline is an essential nutrient that regulates healthy brain development, liver function, muscle movements, and the nervous system.

Low choline intake during pregnancy has been linked to neural tube defects and decreased brain function of the fetus. Consuming one egg will get you to roughly 25% of the recommended daily amount. For more foods rich in choline, check out this list.

5. Sweet Potatoes

You’ve probably heard of beta-carotene, a plant compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body. Beta-carotene is essential for the growth of most cells and tissues, making it extremely important during pregnancy.

In fact, pregnant women are recommended to increase their vitamin A by 10 – 40%, with most of this increase coming from non-animal sources. About 100 grams of sweet potatoes meet the recommended daily intake for pregnant women.

6. Dark Leafy Greens

Kale, spinach, and broccoli are all pregnancy superfoods. They contain fiber, iron, calcium, folate, potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and K. They can reduce the risk of constipation, which many pregnant women suffer from, and common deficiencies while benefitting both the immune and digestive systems.

In terms of the fetus, dark leafy greens have been found to decrease the risk of low birth weight. They are great for mom and baby.

7. Bananas

Pregnancy can make you tired and nauseous, especially during the first trimester. Bananas can help you fight both of these uncomfortable symptoms. They are rich in potassium, which can help fight off the pregnancy fatigue, and they can ease your stomach when you’re nauseous.

Add some bananas to yogurt in the morning for the best first-trimester breakfast.

8. Lean Meat

The recommended daily intake of iron doubles during pregnancy. To avoid being anemic, tired all the time, and passing the deficiency to the fetus, it’s important to eat foods rich in iron. Lean meats are a healthy source of iron. Not only do they provide protein and iron for fetal development and growth, but they are also low on fat!

9. Nuts or Nut Butters

Healthy fats are essential to the proper development of your baby. Unsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts and nut butters, aid in brain development and help keep you full for longer. Two scoops of nut butter or a 1-ounce serving of nuts are all it takes to keep your baby’s development on the right track.

10. Oatmeal

Home-cooked oatmeal, as opposed to the sugary store-bought variety, is a great food to consume during pregnancy. Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate, meaning it will keep you satisfied for longer. It also contains brain, which reduces cholesterol levels that may have spiked at the beginning of pregnancy.

Wrapping Up

Maintaining a healthy diet is always important, but being conscious of what you consume while you’re pregnant is even more so. Eating for two is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Steps should be taken to ensure the proper development of the fetus while keeping the mother healthy. If you’re reading this list of best food for early pregnancy, you are already taking the right steps.

For more information on pregnancy and what to expect, don’t hesitate to check out our other content! We are one of the leading sources of pregnancy care and can provide information on any pregnancy-related issues or questions.

About the author

Stephanie McClane

Hi, I’m Stephanie. I graduated college with a business degree and a minor in biology. I met my husband at a business convention and was happily marriage and pregnant within the first two years after saying the words “ I do”.

Jennifer is the eldest of the three. Being pregnant with her, my first, I researched everything pregnancy related and read nearly every book. Giving birth to Anthony and Matty seemed more natural and less stressful the third time around.

I’m happy to share what knowledge I have gathered and learn new things from other mothers. From morning sickness to Anencephaly, or potty training to thumb sucking, I have books and resource guides to share.