The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Give an egg a break! The nutrient-packed powerhouse contributes to a healthy baby and a healthy you. “It’s the ideal source of protein, offering you and your baby all the essential amino acids you need to build muscles, hormones and enzymes,” says Allison Tannis, M.S., R.H.N., co-author of The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy (Fair Winds Press).
Egg yolks are packed with zinc (to lower your risk for preterm birth and help your baby build DNA) and vitamin B12 (boosted levels of this B vitamin in pregnant women meant less colicky newborns, Dutch scientists found). Eggs are also one of the best sources of choline, a key nutrient for fetal brain and nervous cell development, says Kathy McManus, M.S., R.D., director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
In fact, recent research found that choline consumption during pregnancy can also reduce your child’s chances of developing hypertension and diabetes later in life. So start thinking of the oval avengers as an inexpensive and versatile pregnancy superfood you can enjoy anytime.
This casserole can be an easy, hearty breakfast if prepared for baking the day before, but it works for dinner, too. Kale contains key pregnancy nutrients calcium, folate and iron, which helps prevent your baby from developing iron-deficiency anemia. Plus, a single 70-calorie large egg contains 6 grams of protein. Get the recipe >>
A healthier take on the traditional sandwich stuffer, this recipe includes sunflower seeds to add crunch, plus vitamin E, which can help your offspring avoid asthma, and folate, which helps reduce the risk for neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida. Two large eggs per day deliver 250 milligrams of choline, more than half of the recommended daily pregnancy dose. Get the recipe >>
Quick and easy, omelets are a healthy way to get your veggies. The two large eggs this dish calls for supply 30 percent of your daily dose of vitamin D, which helps your baby absorb bone-building calcium and phosphorous, during pregnancy. Plus, canned shrimp gives you 60 milligrams of choline and 5 grams of protein. Get the recipe >>
This hearty and healthy vegetarian version of the classic dipped sandwich contains part-skim ricotta, which provides bone-building calcium, and choline, a vitamin that has been linked to lowering breast cancer risk. Red peppers provide a burst of vitamins A, to help fight infections, and C, which boosts iron absorption. (Note: you can make a more traditional Monte Cristo with turkey, but be sure to reheat deli meat slices to piping hot before adding them to the sandwich to reduce your risk of contracting listeriosis, which can cause premature birth and miscarriage during pregnancy when you’re more susceptible. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the slices reach 160° F.) Get the recipe >>