Pregnancy is a joyous occasion, awaiting the birth of a little one. The right nutrition of an expectant mother is not only a precursor to health and a smooth pregnancy but also, the development and growth of the baby.
Planning your days with the correct nutrition is a critical aspect of a pregnant woman. Certain things to follow during pregnancy:
- A diet planned with the help of your doctor can help keep you healthy throughout your pregnancy.
- Rationing and controlling portions and amounts of food eaten throughout the day. The notion of “eating for two”, at the end of the day, is a falsity. Yes eating a bit more can’t be avoided but eating more than you need or forcing yourself to eat more than you desire is not healthy.
- Eat often, smaller portions throughout the day – this diet will help your body better absorb all of the nutrients needed for baby and will also help you avoid drastic weight gain.
- Drink plenty of water. Some expectant mothers that notice swelling, will sometimes limit the amount of water they drink in hopes of avoiding it. The less water you drink the more pronounced the swelling can become, so go ahead and drink as much as you need.
- Don’t forget about micronutrients: iodine, calcium, iron and magnesium are all important to have enough of during pregnancy.
- Controlling your weight: excess weight gain will not help your overall health, or the health of your little one. The normal weight gain range is about 12 kilograms, everything else is stored as fat.
If you sure in yourself, you can come up with a menu for yourself without visiting your doctor.
Sample menu for one day:
- Breakfast: a glass of skim milk with cereal and a cup of coffee. You can substitute the cereal for a couple of cups of yogurt and the coffee for a glass of tea.
- Lunch: whole grain pasta with pasteurized cheese or rice with a teaspoon of butter, lean mean, such as steak or chicken (about 150 grams), one piece of bread, fruit. For drinks you can use a berry smoothie. You can substitute meat with beans and fish, stewed veggies (about 100 grams) and a piece of fish (about 200 grams).
- Midday Snack: a glass of skim kefir or a half a glass of milk with cereal, yogurt or apple. You can drink a glass of orange juice or tea.
- Dinner: healthy vegetable soup to start, followed by a piece of fish (200 grams) and for desert, some fruit. You can substitute the fish with a piece of boiled beef and a piece of cheese, a hardboiled egg or cottage cheese. Preferably drink natural or organic juice.
For snacks in between meals, fruits or vegetables are good options, nuts and seeds in small quantities, or fresh squeezed juices and plenty of water.
Specifics concerning nutrition during each trimester of pregnancy
Pregnancy- a period of time in a woman’s life, where a need to develop healthy eating habits is a necessity.
Follow these simple rules during each trimester of pregnancy:
- First trimester: Drastic change in diet can put undue stress on your body in the beginning stage of pregnancy. On the other hand don’t force yourself to eat something that you don’t feel like eating. Eat more fruits and vegetables. The most critical nutrient needed during this time is folic acid. Your calorie intake should amount to about 2400-2700 calories per day.
- Second Trimester: Watching your diet should be a priority during your second trimester and you should watch it a little more carefully in order to avoid issues with digestion. Choose steamed foods instead of fried or overly salty ones. Eat protein rich foods such as cheese, eggs, milk, and lean meat. More veggies should be consumed to help avoid digestive and bowel issues. Calorie intake for the second trimester should not exceed 3000 calories per day.
- Third trimester: Do not use a lot of salt on your food. Do not fast or try to limit weight gain, you will have plenty of time after baby is born to shed the pregnancy weight. The most important thing in this trimester is to ready yourself and your body for childbirth and delivery. Cravings for carbs and fats should not be indulged. Curb your sugar intake as well, instead of grapes eat grapefruit or pomegranates.
During pregnancy certain products should be avoided at all costs in order to prevent food poisoning or harm to the baby. List of prohibited products includes:
- Cheese with any indication of mold, such as blue cheese can carry harmful bacteria that can cause listeria. This type of infection can not only cause miscarriage but can also harm the baby.
- Raw eggs and homemade mayonnaise can cause salmonella poisoning.
- Raw Milk.
- Raw or undercooked meats and pates can also contain listeria.
- Tuna and other fish that is high in mercury.
- Raw shellfish that can cause food poisoning.
- Alcohol can not only cause issues with the development of a fetus but also leave long-lasting side effects on baby and cause miscarriage.
Products to consume in moderation include:
- Caffeine can cause low birth weight and even miscarriage.
- Pickled or smoked products can cause dehydration which can lead to overconsumption of water and cause swelling.
- Greasy and spicy foods can also cause dehydration.
- Store bought soda, chips and crackers have lots of harmful ingredients and empty calories.
- Also limit the intake of sweets.
Nutrition during, toxemia, anemia or obesityThe above listed diet and menus are to be followed by women who don’t have any pregnancy related issues. Below, we discuss the steps needed for women with problems such as obesity, toxemia and anemia.
During toxicosis try to avoid foods that cause nausea. Things to avoid are dairy products, sweet, salty, pickled, fried or spicy foods, coffee and tea. Consume things that help calm your stomach such as green tea, mineral water without carbonation, tangy juices and vegetable broth. Eating steamed, mashed foods in smaller portion more times throughout the day and not drinking before or during will help settle your stomach.
If you suffer from anemia during pregnancy, increase the consumption of iron-rich foods such as raw or dried apricots, peas, pomegranates, buckwheat, mushrooms, and oatmeal. Beware of foods that block iron adsorption such as milk.
[attention type=yellow]If you are faced with obesity, a special diet should be followed. Consulting a doctor is key to ensure the avoidance of harmful pathology to mother and baby. In no instance should you starve yourself, this type of method of weight loss can lead to the depletion of vitamins to the body.[/attention]
Vitamins during pregnancy
Do I need to take vitamins during pregnancy? That can be an open-ended question but if your doctor has prescribed them, then it is better to follow doctors order and take the vitamins. Following a varied, balanced, and healthy diet, especially during summer months can help you avoid taking vitamins. If you are struggling with avitaminosis and it is winter or fall then taking vitamins can help ensure a balanced organism.
Vitamins prescribed by doctors in these instances:
- pregnant women with things such as anemia or other illnesses related to lack of needed vitamins;
- women who have previously suffered from miscarriage;
- pregnant women over the age of 30.
Video on nutrition during pregnancy
We invite you to watch the video about Healthy Pregnancy Diet..