Although fats are essential to any healthy diet, some fats are much better for you than others. If you are pregnant, it is important to get enough of the good fats as well as certain amounts of specific fats. Some types of fats are important to your baby’s brain and eye development. Good fats can also help the placenta grow and prevent against having a premature baby or low birth weight. Good fats are necessary for the body while bad fats can be detrimental to it. Try to minimize the bad fats and consume the good fats instead.
There are four basic types of fats: saturated, trans fat, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Saturated fats and trans fats are the bad fats; consume the least amount of these fats as possible. Saturated fat is found in whole milk, coconut oil, lard, and butter. Trans fats are found in some packaged foods as well as most fried foods. Bags of cookies or chips often contain trans fat. If you consume too much bad fat, you could run the risk of developing heart disease or high cholesterol. Trans fat can also lead to low birth weight and having an SGA (small for gestational age) baby.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are the good fats. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, canola oil, avocados, olives, nuts, butters made from nuts. These fats are great at lowering your cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats are really important during pregnancy because they contain omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids can be found in flax seed oil, walnuts, and canola oil. You can get omega-6 acids from sunflower, corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils. You can also get vitamin E from most monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
In order to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy, make sure you eat enough polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Try to keep the saturated and trans fats to a minimum.