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The 10 most important foods to eat during pregnancy

Here are the top 10 foods to help baby and mama grow and feel their best.

important food pregnancy

While eating a balanced diet is always important, it becomes even more so during pregnancy.

Here are the top 10 foods to help baby and mama grow and feel their best.

1. Water, water, water!

Okay, water is technically not a food, but staying hydrated is super beneficial! It improves blood flow, increases brain power, improves body performance, helps you sweat and poop, and decreases headaches and non-labor contractions (called Braxton Hicks contractions). Water is wonderful, mama.

During pregnancy, aim to drink 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day.


2. Ginger

Especially in the earlier months, ginger can help with nausea associated with pregnancy, as well as aid in digestion. Ginger comes in many forms: ginger ale, ginger candy or chews and even ginger tea.

For soothing relief, make your own homemade ginger tea to help keep nausea at bay.

Here's our favorite ginger tea recipe:

Take fresh ginger that has been peeled and cut into a 1-inch cube and steep it in 8- ounces of hot water for about five minutes. Sweeten with a drizzle of honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

3. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, a plant compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body. This vitamin is essential for growth and the differentiation of most cells and tissues.

Pregnant women are often advised to increase their vitamin A intake by 10 to 40%(to about 770mcg per day)—sweet potatoes are a great way to do that. They also contain fiber, which may increase fullness, reduce blood sugar spikes, and improve digestive health and mobility.

Try baked sweet potato wedges with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt the next time you need a vitamin A boost (and a delicious snack).

4. Fruit smoothies

Fruit contains vitamin C and fiber, which are important nutrients during pregnancy. Aim to have about 85 milligrams of vitamin C and 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily. Smoothies are a great way to get in enough fruits and veggies; they can help curb your sweet tooth and they pack a more nutrient-rich punch.

For a folic acid boost, add some spinach to your smoothie.

Need inspiration? We are obsessed with this nutrient-dense smoothie recipe!

5. Whole grains

For consistent energy throughout pregnancy (even when you're exhausted), look to the carbohydrates found in whole grains. Whole grain bread can also help with nausea during the early stages of pregnancy. Whole grains also contain fiber, B vitamins, iron and various minerals that refined starches leave out. Depending on your weight and dietary needs, you should consume around 6 to 11 ounces of bread and grains daily.

Examples of whole-grain foods include:

  • whole-grain bread
  • quinoa
  • barley
  • farro
  • brown rice
  • oats

6. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs + beans

They all have protein, B vitamins and iron needed in pregnancy. Your growing baby needs a minimum of 60 grams of protein daily, particularly in the second and third trimester, when they are growing by leaps and bounds. Iron helps carry oxygen to the baby and can reduce symptoms such as swelling. You should consume at least three servings of protein daily.

7. Leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula contain folic acid, which can prevent neural tube defects, as well as provide another source for protein. The average pregnant person should consume 400 to 1,000 micrograms of folic acid a day, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also, four or more servings of vegetables are recommended daily.

We love this spinach salad with quinoa, toasted pistachios and cranberries—it's beyond delicious.

8. Dairy

Pasteurized dairy is important for promoting strong bones and teeth, blood clotting and muscle and nerve function. Your growing baby will need a considerable amount of calcium for development, so it's important to get enough to keep mama healthy, too. For those between the ages of 19 and 50, you need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.

A few examples of healthy dairy items include:

  • milk
  • non-fat yogurt
  • cheese (pasteurized)
  • cream soups
  • some green vegetables(such as spinach and kale)

9. Glycine-rich foods

Glycine is an essential amino acid that will help your body build new connective tissue. Your body depends on glycine to help support your stretching skin and growing uterus, and your baby also needs this nutrient to form their DNA. Bone broths and slow-cooked meats are some of the richest sources of collagen and gelatin, which naturally provide glycine. For the mamas who don't eat meat, legumes are also higher in glycine. To get a more accurate measurement of daily glycine intake, talk to your provider.

10. Healthy fats + oils

Not all fats are made the same. Nuts, avocados and olive oil are all great sources of good fats. They promote higher energy levels and cell growth, which can help you function at your best. Fish low in mercury are also a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Fats to avoid are saturated or trans fats like butter, margarine, shortening and beef or pork fat.

We love this nutrient-packed recipe by Crystal Karges for getting tons of superfoods in a totally delicious way:

Mediterranean chickpea salad

Ingredients for the red wine vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Ground pepper to taste

Ingredients for salad

  • 2 14-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 medium avocados, cubed
  • 1.5 lbs. tomatoes, chopped
  • 1.5 lbs. cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, or dill), finely chopped
  • optional add-ins: cooked chicken, crumbled pasteurized feta cheese, sunflower or pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl and stir gently to combine.
  2. Add the vinaigrette to the bottom of four glass jars.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and chicken and cheese (if using).
  4. Divide evenly between the jars, top with fresh herbs and seeds (if using), and seal with an airtight lid.
  5. Store in the refrigerator. When ready to enjoy, shake or stir well and serve!

Set yourself up with gear designed to make healthy eating a breeze. Here are some of our favorite products to do that:

Welly water bottle

water bottle

Minimal design to elevate the everyday. This triple-walled, vacuum-insulated bottle comes with a removable infuser and sleek loop cap and makes it beautifully simple to hydrate no matter where the day takes you. Keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 14.

$40

Tea infuser

tea infuser

When filled with your favorite loose leaf tea, this stainless steel infuser delivers the perfect pot. It also pulls triple duty when packed with herbs and spices for making stock, or mulled drinks. A kitchen staple if ever we've found one.

$15

Bamboo store and go containers

bamboo container

Food storage never looked so stylish. These 100% leak-proof store and go containers are made from FSC-certified bamboo fiber with food-grade silicone lids. Serve up a side dish or salad, pop the lid on the leftovers and it's ready to pack for lunch the next day. Suction the lid to the bottom while in use to keep it from slipping or while storing to keep it from getting lost.

$30

Steel fruit basket

fruit basket

The taller version of our steel fruit basket, the sides help corral and keep fruit secure. The open design helps prevent bruising and damage to the fruit and adds a touch of style to the kitchen or tabletop.

$25

Collagen

collagen

Shore Magic is made of one pure ingredient – hydrolyzed marine collagen from sustainably sourced wild fish skins, free of additives and synthetics.

$120


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

A portion of this article is excerpted from The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

Chrissy Teigen is speaking out about her high-risk pregnancy, addressing fans from her hospital bed this week.

Teigen, who is expecting her third child with husband John Legend, says she's been dealing with non-stop bleeding during this pregnancy due to her "really weak" placenta. She's about halfway through her pregnancy but she's bleeding significantly.

"It's just hard because there's not much you can do," she explained in an Instagram story, suggesting that her baby boy is a strong little dude living in a damaged house. Right now though, there's not a lot her medical team can do to fix her baby's "house."

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She explained: "We're in that weird in-between time where you can't really do anything...I'm taking my progesterone, my iron—trust me, we're on it."

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