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Eating well during pregnancy doesn’t just mean eating more. You should also consider what you eat.
You only need about 340 to 450 extra calories per day – and this is for the later stage of pregnancy, when your baby is growing the fastest. These are not a lot of calories (a cup of cereal and 2% skim milk). It is important that the calories come from nutritious foods so that they can contribute to the development and growth of the baby.
Why it is important that you eat well when you are pregnant
Have you ever wondered how it can be reasonable to gain 25 to 35 pounds (average) during your pregnancy, when a newborn baby only weighs a fraction of that amount? Although it can vary from woman to woman, here is how those pounds can add up:
- 7.5 pounds – average baby weight
- 7 pounds – the proteins, fats and other nutrients stored in the mother’s body
- 4 pounds – extra blood
- 4 pounds – extra body fluids
- 2 pounds – breast enlargement
- 2 pounds – enlarged uterus
- 2 pounds – amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby
- 1.5 pounds – the placenta
Of course, weight gain patterns during pregnancy vary. It is normal to gain less weight if you start your pregnancy heavier, and to gain more weight if you are having twins or triplets – or if you were losing weight before you got pregnant. More important than weight is what those extra pounds are made of.
When you are pregnant, what you eat is the primary source of nutrition for your baby. In fact, the link between what you consume and your baby’s health is much stronger today than was once thought. This is why doctors now say, for example, that you should not drink anything of alcohol during pregnancy.
The extra foods you eat shouldn’t just be empty calories – they should provide the nutrients your baby needs to grow. For example, calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth. While you are pregnant, you will still need more s calcium for your body and additional calcium for your developing baby. Similarly, you will need more of the basic nutrients than you needed before you got pregnant.
A nutritional foundation for pregnant women
Regardless of whether you are pregnant or not, a healthy diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and lots of water. The United States government publishes nutrition guidelines that can help you determine how many servings from each food group to eat each day. Eating a variety of foods in the right proportions is a good step toward staying healthy.
Food Labels tell you about the kinds of nutrients in the foods you eat. The letters RDA, found on these labels, mean in English Allowable Daily Recommendation , or the amount of nutrients recommended for your daily diet. During pregnancy, the RDA recommendations are higher.
Here are some of the most common nutrients you need and their corresponding values:
|Nutrient||Necessary for||The best sources|
|Proteins||Cell growth and blood production||Lean meats, fish, chicken, egg whites, lima beans, peanut butter, tofu (soy) td >|
|Carbohydrates||Daily energy production||Bread, cereals, rice, potatoes, pasta, fruits, vegetables|
|Calcium||Strong bones and teeth, muscle contraction, nerve function||Milk, cheese, yogurt, sardines or salmon with bones, spinach < / td>|
|Iron|| Production of red blood cells
(needed to prevent anemia)
|Lean red meat, spinach, breads and iron-fortified cereals|
|Vitamin A||Healthy skin, good vision, hue You’re strong||Carrots, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes|
|Vitamin C||Healthy gums, teeth and bones ; helps absorb iron||Fortified citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, fruit juices|
|Vitamin B6||Development of red blood cells , effective use of proteins, fats and carbohydrates||Pork, ham, whole grains, bananas|
|Vitamin B12||Development of red blood cells, maintaining healthy nervous system||Meat, chicken, fish, milk (Note: vegetarians who do not consume dairy products need an additional supplement of vitamin B12)|
|Vitamin D||Healthy bones and teeth; helps calcium absorption||Fortified milk, dairy products, cereals and breads|
|Folic Acid||Production of blood and proteins, effective enzymatic function||Green leafy vegetables, dark yellow fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, nuts|
|Fat||Body Energy Storage||Meat, dairy products such as whole milk, tree nuts, peanut butter, margarine, vegetable oil (Note: limit fat intake to 30% or less of your intake daily calorie)|
Scientists know that your diet can affect your baby’s health – even before you get pregnant. For example, studies indicate that folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects (including spina bifida) from occurring during the early stages of fetal development and during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Doctors recommend that women take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy (especially during the first 28 days). Be sure to ask your doctor about folic acid if you are considering getting pregnant.
Calcium is another important nutrient for pregnant women. Since your growing baby’s calcium needs are high, you should increase your calcium intake to prevent loss of calcium from your bones. Your doctor may also recommend prenatal vitamins, which contain additional calcium.
The foods that are the best sources of calcium are milk and other dairy products. However, if you are lactose intolerant or don’t like milk and dairy products, ask your doctor about calcium supplements. (Symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhea, bloating, or excess gas after consuming milk or dairy products. Taking a lactase capsule or pill, or consuming lactose-free products may help). Other foods rich in calcium are sardines or salmon are their bones, broccoli, spinach, fruit juices and foods fortified with calcium.
Doctors do not usually recommend that a woman start a strictly vegetarian diet as soon as she becomes pregnant. However, if you were on a vegetarian diet before your pregnancy, you can follow the same diet when you get pregnant – but do so carefully. Make sure your doctor is aware of your diet. It’s challenging to get the nutrition you need if you don’t eat fish, chicken, milk, cheese, or eggs. You will probably need protein complexes and you will also need to take complexes with vitamins B12 and D. To ensure that both you and your baby receive adequate nutrition, consult an expert nutritionist to help you plan your diet.
What do pregnant cravings mean?
You’ve probably met women who have cravings for certain foods during pregnancy, or maybe you’ve had those cravings yourself. Researchers have tried to determine whether having an appetite for a particular type of food indicates that a woman’s body lacks the nutrient that the food she desires contains. Although this is not the case, the origin of the cravings has not yet been clarified.
Some pregnant women have cravings for chocolate, spicy foods, fruits, and homemade foods like mashed potatoes, cereal, and white toast. Other women have cravings for things other than food like clay and cornstarch. Having cravings and eating non-food items is known as pica. Consuming things that are not food can be dangerous for both you and your baby. If you have cravings to eat things other than food, please notify your doctor.
Satisfying your cravings is fine, as long as you have cravings for foods that contribute to a healthy diet. These cravings often subside after the third month of pregnancy.
What should you avoid eating and drinking during pregnancy?
As we mentioned earlier, avoid alcohol. No level of alcohol consumption is considered safe during pregnancy. Also, check with your doctor before taking vitamins or herbal products. Some of these products can be harmful to the fetus.
And while many doctors think that one or two 6-8 ounce cups of coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda won’t hurt your baby, it’s probably a smart move to avoid caffeine entirely, if possible. High caffeine consumption has been linked to miscarriages and other problems, so it is better to limit your consumption or switch to decaffeinated products.
When you are pregnant, it is important to avoid diseases that originate in certain foods, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can endanger the life of an unborn baby and can cause birth defects. birth or miscarriages. Foods to avoid include:
- soft, unpasteurized cheeses (described in advertising as “fresh”) such as Feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese
- unpasteurized milk, juices and cider vinegar
- raw eggs or foods containing them, including mousse-type desserts and Tiramisu
- raw or undercooked meat, fish or shellfish
- processed meats such as hot dogs and cold cuts (which must be well cooked)
- fish high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, merlin, tuna and orange roughy
If you have eaten this type of food at some point during your pregnancy, don’t worry too much about it now; just avoid them for the rest of your pregnancy. If you are really concerned, check with your doctor.
More about fish
Fish and shellfish can be a very healthy part of your diet during pregnancy (they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty oils, are high in protein, and low in saturated fat). But you should limit the consumption of these fish as these fish can contain high levels of mercury. Mercury can damage the brain development of a growing child or fetus.
Mercury, an element that occurs naturally in the environment, can also be present in the air through environmental pollution and can accumulate in streams and oceans, where it is converted to mercury methylate when it comes into contact with Water. Thus, mercury concentrations are stored in fish, especially larger ones that tend to eat small ones.
Canned tuna can be problematic as cans contain different types of tuna with different amounts of mercury. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends eating 2-3 servings of canned tuna per week and only 1 serving of albacore (this is a larger fish and contains more mercury) per week. According to a 2017 report from the Consumers Union, albacore may contain higher concentrations of mercury than previously thought and recommends that pregnant women not consume this fish. But the FDA maintains its position on the matter stating that the levels of mercury present in this fish are not dangerous when eating limited quantities.
Having two respected organizations make conflicting recommendations can lead to confusion.But since tests indicate that the amounts of mercury in tuna may be higher than previously thought, some women may be able to cut out these fish entirely while pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
All fish and shellfish contain certain levels of mercury, but you can safely eat up to 12 ounces per week of those that are low in mercury, such as salmon, prawns, clams, catfish, and tilapia. p >
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about how much fish to eat and which ones.
Control some common problems
The iron in prenatal vitamins and other factors can cause constipation during pregnancy. Therefore, it is a good idea to consume more fiber than you used to before you got pregnant. Aim for 20-30 grams of fiber a day. The best sources are fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, or whole grain muffins.
Some people take fiber pills, drinks, or other high-fiber products available at the pharmacy, but you should check with your doctor before consuming these products. Do not use laxatives while you are pregnant unless your doctor recommends doing so. And avoid the old home remedy – castor oil – because it can interfere with your body’s absorption of nutrients.
If constipation is a problem for you, your doctor may recommend a medicine to soften your stool. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when you increase your fiber intake, otherwise you could be compounding the problem.
One of the best ways to avoid constipation is to exercise more. You should also drink more water between meals each day to help soften your stools and allow them to move through your digestive system. Sometimes hot tea, soups, or both can help. Also keep nuts close to your fingertips for when you have an appetite between meals.
Some pregnant women find that broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and fried foods give them gas or heartburn. You can plan a balanced diet that avoids these foods. Fizzy drinks can also cause gas or heartburn in some women, although others find that these foods help their digestive system.
N á useas
If you frequently suffer from nausea, eat small amounts of simple foods like toast or crackers during the day. Some women find relief from eating foods with ginger. To help combat nausea you can also:
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