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Eating right can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Staying physically active can help you feel more comfortable through 9 months of pregnancy and have an easier delivery. Use the ideas and tips in this booklet to improve your eating plan and to be more physically active before, during, and after your pregnancy. Make these changes now and be a healthy role model for your family for life.
What is considered a healthy eating plan for a pregnant woman?
A healthy pregnancy meal plan includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. In January 2005, the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 . These new guidelines contain recommendations for promoting health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases through a nutritious diet and physical activity. These recommendations include some of the nutritional needs for pregnancy. For additional information on food groups and nutritional values, please visit: https://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.
How many calories should I eat?
Eating a variety of foods that provide you with enough calories helps both you and your baby gain the appropriate amount of weight. During the first 3 months of pregnancy, you do not need to change the number of calories you eat.
Women of normal weight need to consume an additional 300 calories per day during the last 6 months of pregnancy. This totals around 1,900 to 2,500 calories per day. If you weighed less or more than you should or were obese before you got pregnant, or if you are pregnant with more than one baby, you may need a different number of calories. Ask your healthcare provider how much weight to gain and how many calories you need.
Women of normal weight need to eat an additional 300 calories each day during the last 6 months of pregnancy. This totals around 1,900 to 2,500 calories per day. If you weighed less or more than you should or were obese, before you got pregnant, or if you are pregnant with more than one baby, you may need a different number of calories. Ask your healthcare provider how much weight to gain and how many calories you need.
Why is healthy weight gain important?
A healthy weight gain can help make your pregnancy and delivery more comfortable. It can also help you have fewer complications during pregnancy, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, constipation, and back pain.
If you don’t gain enough weight when you’re pregnant, your baby will have a hard time growing properly. Let your healthcare professional know if you think you are not gaining enough weight.
Each of these healthy options contains around 300 calories:
- 1 cup of low-fat yogurt with fruit and a medium apple
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 1 cup chili con carne and beans (or you can substitute a variety of vegetables for the meat) and 1/2 ounce chedar cheese
- 1 cup of raisin bran cereal (“raisin bran”) with 1/2 cup of skim milk and a small banana
- 3 ounces fat-free roasted ham or roasted chicken breast and 1/2 cup sweet potato
- 1 flour or corn tortilla (7 inches / 18 centimeters), 1/2 cup refried beans, 1/2 cup cooked broccoli and 1/2 cup cooked red bell peppers
If you gain too much weight, you are more likely to have a longer and more difficult labor. Also, if you gain a lot of body fat, it will be more difficult for you to return to a healthy weight after giving birth. If you think you are gaining too much weight during your pregnancy, check with your healthcare professional.
Don’t try to lose weight if you are pregnant. If you don’t eat enough calories or a variety of foods, your baby won’t get the nutrients he needs to grow.
Do I have any special nutritional needs now that I am pregnant?
Yes. Remember that during pregnancy your baby is developing and both you and your baby need more of various nutrients. If you eat the recommended number of servings per day from each of the food groups, you should be getting most of the nutrients you need.
Make sure to eat foods high in folate, such as orange juice, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, beans, and fortified breads and cereals, or you can get it in a vitamin and mineral supplement.
How much weight should I gain during pregnancy?
Check with your healthcare professional about how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. The general recommendations on how much to gain weight in the right column below depend on your weight before pregnancy and are for women who are expecting only one baby.
|If you:||You must increase:|
|Weighs less than normal||28 to 40 pounds (between 13 and 18 kilos)|
|Has a normal weight||From 28 to 40 pounds (between 13 and 18 kilos)||You are overweight||15 to 25 pounds (between 7 and 11 kilos)|
|You are obese||At least 15 pounds (at least 7 kilos )|
To prevent birth defects, you need to get enough folate every day before and during your pregnancy. Prenatal supplements contain folic acid (another form of folate). Look for supplements that contain at least 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folic acid.
Although most healthcare professionals recommend taking a prenatal multivitamin with minerals before and during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, you should always consult with your healthcare professional before taking any supplement.
Can I continue a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
Yes, you can follow a vegetarian meal plan during pregnancy, but check with your healthcare professional first.
To make sure you are getting enough of the important nutrients, including protein, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, your healthcare professional may ask you to make an appointment with a registered dietitian, who can help you plan. meals as well as recommending supplements.
Suggestions for a healthy diet
Follow these tips to meet your body’s needs and avoid common pregnancy discomforts:
- Eat breakfast every day. If you feel nauseous in the morning, eat wheat toast or whole grain crackers when you wake up, even before you get out of bed. A little later, maybe mid-morning, eat the rest of your breakfast (fruit, oatmeal, cereal, milk, yogurt, and other foods).
- Eat foods that are high in fiber. Eating whole grain cereals, vegetables, fruits, beans, bread and brown rice, drinking plenty of water, and doing daily physical activity will help you avoid the constipation that many pregnant women suffer from.
- Keep healthy foods on hand. It will be easier for you to get a healthy snack if you have a basket full of apples, bananas, peaches, oranges, and grapes on hand. Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables, as well as canned beans, are quick and healthy additions to meals.
- If you suffer from heartburn during pregnancy, eat small meals more often, eat slowly, avoid spicy or fatty foods (such as chili peppers or fried chicken), drink liquids between meals instead of with meals, and do not lie down immediately after eating.
- If you have a lot of nausea or excessive vomiting (“hyperemesis”), see your healthcare professional. You may need to adjust the way you eat, for example by eating smaller, smaller meals. often and drinking lots of fluids. Your healthcare professional can help you with nausea or vomiting, so you can continue to eat healthily.
What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?
There are certain foods and drinks that can be harmful to your baby if you eat or drink them during pregnancy. Here is a general list of foods and drinks to avoid:
- Alcoholic beverages. Instead of wine, beer, or a cocktail, enjoy a glass of apple or tomato juice, fizzy water, or other non-alcoholic beverages.
- Fish that may have high levels of methylmercury (a substance that can be stored in fish and harm an expecting baby). Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish while pregnant.Eat no more than 12 total ounces of any type of fish per week (the equivalent of 4 3-ounce servings, each the size of a deck of cards).
- Soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, goat or fresh cheese and cold cuts or cold cuts (“deli meats” or “lunch meats”) that come ready to eat, such as sausages, mortadella or bologna, blood sausages, ham, sausages, sausages and salami. These foods may contain a bacteria called listeria that is harmful to the baby you are expecting. If cold cuts or hot dogs are cooked to a high temperature, this bacteria can be killed, making them safe to eat.
- Raw fish such as sushi, sashimi, or ceviche, and raw or undercooked meat or poultry. These foods can contain harmful bacteria. Cook fish, meat, and poultry thoroughly before eating.
- Large amounts of beverages that contain caffeine. If you drink a lot of coffee, tea, or soda, check with your healthcare professional to see if you should cut back on caffeine. Try the decaffeinated (caffeine-free) version of your favorite beverage, a cup of warm skim or part-skim milk, or fizzy water.
- Anything that is not food. Some pregnant women have cravings for things that are not food, such as laundry starch or clay. Let your healthcare professional know if you have a craving for something other than food.
Ask your healthcare professional for a complete list of foods and drinks to avoid.
Should I do physical activity during pregnancy?
Almost all women can and should do some type of physical activity during pregnancy. However, check with your healthcare professional first, especially if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, bleeding, or other health problems, or if you are obese or weigh very little.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you did any type of physical activity before your pregnancy, ask your healthcare professional how much exercise you can safely do. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity (that makes you breathe harder but does not make you overwork or overheat) on most, or if possible, every day.
Regular moderate intensity physical activity during pregnancy can:
- Help you and your baby gain the right amount of weight.
- Reduce pregnancy discomforts such as back pain, leg cramps, constipation, bloating and inflammation.
- Reduce your risk of gestational diabetes (diabetes that is first found when you are pregnant).
- Improve your mood and energy level.
- Improve your sleep.
- Help you have an easier and faster delivery.
- Help you recover from childbirth and return to a healthy weight faster.
Follow these precautions when doing physical activity during pregnancy:
- Choose moderate activities that are less likely to hurt you, such as walking, water aerobics, swimming, yoga, or using a stationary or stationary bike.
- Stop exercising when you start to get tired and never exercise until you are exhausted or overheated.
- Drink lots of water.
- Wear comfortable clothing that fits well and supports and protects your chest.
- Stop exercising if you feel dizzy, short of breath, have back pain, swelling, numbness, nausea, or if your heart begins to beat very fast or irregularly.
What physical activities should I avoid during pregnancy?
For reasons of your health and safety, and that of your baby, there are certain physical activities that you should not do while you are pregnant. Here are some of them. Ask your healthcare professional if there are other physical activities to avoid during pregnancy.
- Avoid doing any physical activity outside in very hot weather.
- Avoid steam baths, hot tubs, and saunas.
- After 20 weeks of pregnancy, avoid physical activities that require you to lie on your back, such as certain yoga positions.
- Avoid contact sports like football and boxing, as well as other harmful activities like horse riding.
- Avoid activities where you have to jump or quickly change direction such as tennis or basketball.During pregnancy, your joints loosen and you are more likely to hurt yourself from these activities.
- Avoid activities that can result in a fall, such as in-line skating or downhill skiing.
Suggestions to start doing physical activities
Start doing physical activities for your health and that of your baby, following the suggestions below:
- Take a walk around the block or at a mall with your husband or a friend.
- Sign up for a prenatal class, be it yoga, water aerobics, or exercise. Make sure your instructor knows that you are pregnant before beginning.
- Rent or buy an exercise video for pregnant women. Look for these videos at your library, video store, healthcare professional’s office, hospital, or maternity clothing stores.
- At the gym, community center, YMCA or YWCA, sign up for a session with a personal trainer who is knowledgeable about appropriate physical activity for pregnancy.
- Get up and move at least once an hour if you spend most of the day sitting. When you’re watching TV, get up and move during commercials.
What habits should I maintain after my baby is born?
Continuing healthy eating and physical activity habits after your baby is born can help you return to a healthy weight faster and give you the energy you need to meet your new demands. You will also set a good example for your child when he grows up. After your baby is born:
- Keep eating well. Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups. If you are not breastfeeding, you will need about 300 fewer calories per day than you did when you were pregnant.
- If you are breastfeeding your baby, you will need about 200 more calories a day than you did when you were pregnant. Breastfeeding can help you return to a healthy weight more easily as it requires a lot of energy. It can also reduce your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding can protect your baby from illnesses like ear infections, colds, and allergies. If you had gestational diabetes, breastfeeding your baby for more than 3 months can help prevent your child from becoming overweight.
- When you feel empowered to do so, and after your healthcare professional gives you approval, gradually return to a routine of moderate intensity physical activity. Wait 4-6 weeks after delivery before trying to increase your level of physical activity. If you are physically active shortly after delivery, the recovery process may be slower. If you are breastfeeding, regular moderate-intensity physical activity does not affect the amount of milk you produce.
- Gradually return to a healthy weight. Lose no more than 1 pound per week after delivery and use a healthy eating plan and physical activity routine.
Why should I try to return to a healthy weight after giving birth?
After delivery, your health can benefit if you try to return to a healthy weight. If you don’t lose weight after having your baby, you may become overweight or obese later, which can lead to health problems. Talk to your healthcare professional about reaching a weight that is healthy for you.
Take good care of yourself
Pregnancy, birth, and raising your baby can be wonderful, exciting, emotional, stressful, and exhausting all at the same time. Going through this whirlwind of emotions can cause you to eat too much or not enough or lose her drive and energy. If you take care of yourself, these feelings can be easier to deal with. Follow good eating and physical activity habits for a healthy pregnancy, baby, and family. Here are some ideas on how you can take care of yourself:
- Try to get enough sleep.
- Rent a funny movie and laugh.
- Enjoy the miracle of pregnancy and birth.
- Invite people you like to come meet your new baby.
- Find out what groups there are that you can join with your newborn, such as new mom groups.
Favorite recipes that have been adapted
2 cups of 1% milk
4 tablespoons of frozen mango juice (or 1 fresh mango, peeled and without the seed)
1 small banana
2 ice cubes
- Put all the ingredients in the blender.Blend until the mixture is foamy.
- Serve immediately.
Alternative: Instead of using mango juice, try orange, papaya, or strawberry juice.
Makes: 4 servings. Size of each serving: 3/4 cup.
Each serving provides: Calories, 106; total fat, 2 g; saturated fat, 1 g; cholesterol, 5 mg; sodium, 63 mg; calcium, 157 mg; iron, less than 1 mg.
Source: Stay Young at Heart Recipes. National Institutes of Health; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Office of Research on Minority Health. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/syah-html/
1½ pound beef tenderloin
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 large onions, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
3 cups boiled potatoes, diced
- Clean the meat of all visible fat and cut it into thin, small strips.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the garlic until golden. Add the meat, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Cook 6 minutes, stirring meat until browned.
- Add the onions and tomato. Cook until onion is translucent. Serve with boiled potatoes and white rice.
Makes: 6 servings. Size of each serving: 1 1/4 cup.
Each serving with potatoes and rice provides: Calories, 549; total fat, 8 g; saturated fat, 2 g; cholesterol, 56 mg; sodium, 288 mg; calcium, 55 mg; iron, 5 mg.
Source: Delicious Heart-Healthy Latino Recipes. National Institutes of Health; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Office of Research on Minority Health. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/recipes-bilingual
- Check with your healthcare professional about how much weight to gain during pregnancy.
- Eat foods high in folate, iron, calcium, and protein, or else get these nutrients through a prenatal supplement.
- Consult your healthcare professional before taking any supplement.
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Eat foods that are high in fiber and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages, raw fish or those containing high levels of methylmercury, soft cheeses, or consuming anything other than food.
- Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, mostly, or if possible, every day during pregnancy. It doesn’t matter whether or not you did any form of physical activity before your pregnancy, ask your healthcare professional how much exercise you can safely do.
- After pregnancy, gradually return to a routine of moderate intensity physical activity. Make sure you feel capable of doing this and that your healthcare professional says that it is okay for you to start being physically active.
- Enjoy the miracle of pregnancy and birth.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other National Institutes of Health (NIH) organizations conduct and assist research on many diseases and medical conditions.
What are clinical trials, and would they be a good option for you?
Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the root of all medical advances. Clinical trials look for new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to study other aspects of clinical care, such as how to improve the quality of life for people with chronic diseases. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.
What clinical trials are available?
For more information on the clinical trials that are available and recruiting visit: www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
The content of this publication is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). English). NIDDK translates and shares its research results to increase awareness of health and disease among patients, healthcare professionals, and the general public. Publications produced by NIDDK are carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.
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