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The growth and development of your unborn baby is solely dependent on you. What you eat during pregnancy has a direct effect on your baby's well being inside and eventually outside your womb. So what should you be eating to ensure you give your baby everything it needs? The following are five of the most important types of food a pregnant woman should be eating...

1. Protein

Protein is essential for almost every function of the human body from muscle development to the transportation of oxygen through the body. The best sources of protein during pregnancy are fish, nuts, pulses, lean meat, avocado and dairy products. However you should limit your intake of those foods that also contain a high level of fat, mainly those that are derived form animals,

2. Vitamin C

All vitamins are important during pregnancy but vitamin C is perhaps the most crucial due to its ability to help fight infection. The best sources of this vitamin are citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers.

3. Iron

Iron is essential for making hemoglobin which is the protein in red blood cells that transport oxygen to all the other cells in the body. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia which can cause premature and low birth weight babies. Iron can be found in red meat, oily fish, spinach and pulses.

4. Calcium

Calcium is essential for the development of your baby's teeth and bones. A pregnant woman recommended daily allowance is almost twice as much as a normal woman which only serves to emphasize the importance of this mineral. Calcium can be derived from milk, cheese, sardines, yogurt and green leafy vegetables.

5. Folic acid

Also known as vitamin B9, folic acid is essential for the development of your baby's nervous system as well as many other body functions. It can be found in spinach, dark leafy greens, whole grains, kidney beans, salmon, avocado and milk

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