5 foods that promise a stronger, healthier heart for baby

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What you eat during pregnancy has a direct impact on your developing baby. The more nutritious choices you make today, the better off your little one will be. Throughout these nine months, your child is growing and changing at a remarkable pace – it almost seems as if one day he or she is a clump of cells, and the next a little being who hiccups in your womb!

All of these incredible changes are made possible by baby’s heart, which is already pumping blood by your seventh week of pregnancy. A fetus’ heart helps deliver blood and nutrients throughout its system, promoting healthy development from its first beat. Give your little one the best shot at a strong and healthy heart – and in turn, a healthy body – by making these simple changes to your pregnancy diet:

Add these foods

To ensure baby’s most important organ gets all the love and care it needs, pregnant women need particular vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, omega-3 fatty acids, and thiamine. While you’re already taking your prenatal vitamin, you can ward off a deficit by adding these foods to your plate:

Whole grains: Swap your white breads and flours for their whole wheat and grain alternatives. Multi-grain breads are easy to find and nowadays, every grocery store is stocking whole wheat, flax, or quinoa noodles. Mix up your breakfasts throughout the week by dedicating a day or two to heart-healthy oatmeal. Experiment with different spices and fruits to keep yourself satisfied.

Read more: Why your first trimester is the most important for your baby’s heart health

Greens: Add a kale or spinach smoothie to your breakfast routine. Cook up Swiss chard, mustard greens, or collards as a side dish – or make a nightly salad part of every dinner you have. Making sure you up your green intake doesn’t have to be monotonous. With so many varieties, you can keep your tastebuds always guessing.

Healthy proteins: If you’re a meat-lover, consider weaning yourself off fat-laden and high-cholesterol meats. Opt for leaner options such as turkey breast, chicken, or oily fish to get your animal protein.

Dairy: Low-fat dairy, such as 8 ounces of milk or Greek yogurt can be a great option for meeting your calcium needs. Just make sure any dairy you choose – from milk to yogurt to cheeses – has been safely pasteurized to ensure you and baby stay safe and healthy.

Nuts and beans: For the vegetarians among us, this comes as welcome news. Nuts such as cashews and almonds, and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, not only offer protein, but they also serve up a dose of heart-healthy copper. If you’re not accustomed to eating plenty of legumes, start by adding a serving or two 2 – 3 times each week so that your digestive system has time to adjust to the change.

One more thing

Building up baby’s heart doesn’t mean just adding heart-healthy foods to your diet. It also means cutting back on food choices that could do damage. Talk to your doctor or midwife about monitoring your fat, cholesterol, and sodium intake. In addition, science has spoken: To boost baby’s heart, mom should hit the gym. Again, always consult with your health care provider before making any changes to your diet or exercise regimen.  Read more: Prenatal exercise gives baby’s heart a boost

4 Comments

  1. Hi , my child is 4 month old but still can’t sit- stand by herself – she’s so loose – I thot maybe its because she’s a premie but doubt ,

    What can I do or feed her with ?

    1. Hi there Tonny,

      This sounds like normal infant development. A typically developing child won’t sit on his or her own until closer to 6 months (and some may be a bit later, too). Pulling up and standing comes even later. If you’re located in the United States, I encourage you to contact your state’s Early Intervention program. It’s a wonderful, affordable resource for new parents and their little ones–and can help you determine if your daughter is truly on the right track developmentally. As for feeding, the latest guidance advises parents to exclusively breastfeed or bottle feed until at least six months, meaning no solids are necessary at this point. Best of luck to you, and thank you for reading Pregnancy Magazine!

  2. Hi I’m having some issues I’ve been bleeding and they thought I was farther along till my blood work came back saying I’m only 5-6 weeks . I went to the er due to cramping and bleeding they said I could be pregnant w twins and that they got a flicker to follow with my doctor so I did He tells me I’m 5 weeks 5 days but couldn’t get a tone on the baby or babies does this mean the babies not developing and I could be miscarrying

  3. I had my first ultrasound today and my babies heartbeat was only measuring at 83. The doctors said she would like to see it closer to 100 and gave me less than a 50
    /50 chance of the baby making it. I was supposed to be 7 weeks but measured at only 6 weeks. She said there’s nothing I can do. Any advice?

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