You are pregnant, you are scared to gain much weight and at the same time you want to eat enough for your baby. Nutrition is the golden rule of pregnancy. Some people don’t know what to eat to provide the best for the baby. The food that you eat is transferred to the baby through the placenta so what you eat is very important.
Food is changed to energy units called Calories; the body uses what it needs and converts the extra to fat. A woman needs about 2200 calories daily while the pregnant woman needs about 2500 calories.
Recommended weight gain
- Women with normal pre pregnancy weight: 11-16 kgs gain
- Less than normal :13-18 kgs gain
- More than normal :7-11kgs
- Twin pregnancy:16-20 kgs
Weight increase components : baby 3.34kg, placenta 0.9kg, blood size 2 kg, plasma 2kg, uterus 1kg, breast 1kg, amniotic fluid 3 kg
Rate of weight gain : 1-2 kgs first trimester, 0.5 kgs/week till the end.
Food Consists of
- Proteins: build up body tissue. Found in: Meat, fish, eggs, milks, green beans, rice, and bread.
- Fats: Provide the body with energy. Found in meat, fish, egg yolk, milk.
- Carbohydrates: Source of energy. Found in sugar, pastry, rice, fruits.
- Essential elements: Iron is necessary for making Hemoglobin which carries oxygen. Found in Vegetables, liver, meat. Zinc is necessary for making proteins and enzymes. Iodine is necessary for thyroid gland function and Fluoride is important for teeth protection. Calcium is necessary for bone formation and to prevent leg cramps in the mother. Found in dairy products and milk. Magnesium, potassium and phosphorus are important for good muscular balance.
- Vitamins: They help in all body bio-chemical reactions.
- Vitamin B1: Helps in digestion. Found in whole grain wheat, yeast, potato.
- Vitamin A : Essential for growth. Found in milk, butter, egg yolk, and fish. Its intake should be monitored as its excess is not recommended.
- Vitamin B2, B5 : Necessary for cell division. Found in milk, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Vitamin B3: :Helps building neural cells. Found in whole grains, green vegetables, eggs, and fish.
- Folic Acid: Helps in cell formation and well formation of the fetus neural tube. It also helps in forming red blood. (Green beans, cabbage, citrates, meat, and chicken)
- Vitamin B6: Helps in digestion, deficiency lead to neural psychosis and anemia.
- Vitamin C: Promotes the binding material of vessels & tissues. Found in vegetables and fruits.
- Vitamin D: Helps in calcium metabolism. Found in milk, egg yolk, butter.
- Vitamin E is good for preventing varicosities and stretch marks. Found in carrots, tomatoes, soybeans, corn, asparagus, oatmeal, olive oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil, peanut oil.
A typical pregnancy diet: Your Diet has to be balanced: about 20% proteins, 30% fats and 50 % carbohydrates.
- Proteins -6 ounce per day: an ounce is: 30g cooked fish, poultry or lean meat or lancheaon or sausage – 1/4 cup cooked beans(lentilse or hummus or beans) – 1 egg – 15 g nuts seeds.
- Grains – 6 servings per day. a serving is: 1 slice 35 g bread – ½ muffin 35 g – ½ cup 125 ml : Brown rice, white rice, pasta – 3 cups 500 ml Popcorn – 1 cup cereals – 30g crackers – half cup oatmeal
- Vegetables – 2.5 cups per day: a cup is: 1 cup yellow or orange vegetables (pumpkin, carrots, yellow beans, sweet potato, red sweet pepper) – 1 cup green vegetables (tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, broccoli, cucumber, egg plant, okra, soy beans, garlic, onion, parsley) – 1 cup starchy vegetables (corn, green peas, potatoes) – 1 cup vegetable juice – 2 cups dark green leafy greens (dandelion green, collards, spinach, lettuce,spinach).
- Fruits 2 cups per day: a cup is: 1 cup 100% fruit juice – ½ cup dried fruit – 1 Medium sized fruit (apple, orange, banana, pear, plum, guava, kiwi, peach, mango, grapefruit) or 3 apricots, 2 figs, 30 grapes, ½ cup parries – 1 cup chopped fruit (cantaloupe, watermelon)
- Milk Products – 3 servings per day: Serving e.g. is: 1 (250 ml) cup milk or yogurt – 50 grams of cheese – 1 and half cup of icecream – 1 cup of milk shake.
- Oil – 5-6 tablespoons of oil. One tablespoons is : half a tablespoon of margarine or mayaonise – 15 g nuts – 8 olives
- Liquids: Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day.
- Vitamins and minerals: it can be taken by supplements written by your doctor.
- Don’t eat raw meat or eggs
- Don’t eat non-washed vegetables and fruits.
- Don’t drink un-pasteurized milk.
- Lower your salt intake. (Make it less than one tablespoon)
- Always try to choose lean meat like turkey meat.
- Always choose food with enough fibers and low sugar and low fat.
- Eat little meals to make sure stomach is never empty or full.
- Steer clear of greasy, spicy or high fat food.
- Remain upright after meal and sleeping.
- Wash your hands before handling food, wash all vegetables and fruit thoroughly and cook raw meat well.
- Limit your tea intake as it lowers your iron absorption.
- Caffeine: Limit your caffeine intake as it is an element that does not have any vitamins or minerals or nutritional values. It is stimulating; it increases heart rate, irritability, insomnia and headaches and is diuretic. It also lowers your iron absorption.
- Alcohol: it is better not to have alcohol during pregnancy as it is rapidly transferred from mother blood to the fetus through the placenta. It has many side effects which include premature labor, abortion, restricted mental and physical growth of born children and FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDORME which causes defects in heart and face development in addition to mental and physical growth restriction after birth.