How to eat properly during pregnancy, what foods should you watch out for, how much should you drink, how to choose vitamins and how to monitor your weight? Let’s explore this topic and answer all the questions.
Pregnancy and nutrition
Good nutrition before and during pregnancy increases the chances of having a healthy baby and, moreover, reduces the risk that your baby will develop specific adverse health conditions in adult life.
Find out on what principles the diet of a pregnant woman should be based, what nutrients are very necessary for the health of mothers and children, what can and cannot be eaten while waiting for a child, and what weight gain is considered normal, Heirloom Midwifery
Nutrition during pregnancy
During pregnancy, it is better for the expectant mother to be happy, contented and healthy in order to give birth to a happy, contented and healthy child. And her diet should contain the right amount of vitamins and nutrients that will help this.
By adhering to the general principles of good nutrition, you are guaranteeing the best diet for pregnant women. Eating good foods from all five major food groups is considered to be healthy and active. Let us indicate these groups.
- Vegetables and fruits (fresh, frozen, canned, dried; greens and lettuce). They deliver antioxidants, vitamins A, C, folic acid, dietary fiber, potassium to the body. 7-8 servings throughout the day (one part — 250 ml (glass) chopped vegetables or 125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped fruits).
- Cereals (oatmeal, millet, corn, buckwheat, rice, bread — best of all grain or bran, pasta, etc.), potatoes. They are sources of carbohydrates (starch), dietary fiber, thiamine and niacin. 6 — 7 servings throughout the day (one part — 1 slice of bread (35 g) or 125 ml (1/2 cup) rice or pasta).
- Milk products (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, kefir, cheese, etc.). Sources of calcium, protein, vitamins A, D, B2 and riboflavin. 3 servings throughout the day (one part — 250 ml of milk, or 175 g of yogurt, or 75 g of cheese).
- Protein foods: meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, legumes, nuts. Provide the body with iron, protein, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium. 2 servings throughout the day (one part — 75 g or 125 ml).
- Fats (vegetable and butter, fish oil, nuts). Fill the body with essential fatty acids, vitamins A, D and E. 30 — 45 ml (2 — 3 tablespoons) throughout the day.
- It is recommended to eat in small doses 5-6 times a day, and here is a list of the healthiest foods for the nine most important months.
- Green and yellow vegetables and fruits, and broccoli is the queen among them. The pretty inflorescences of this cabbage contain a significant number of substances that are definitely needed during pregnancy. Folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, beta-carotene, selenium, vitamins PP, K, E. This low-calorie vegetable is rich in fiber, which helps to normalize digestion. In addition to broccoli, pregnant women should include more greens and spinach and other green and yellow vegetables in their diet — it is better to stew them, steam them or bake them, but not fry them. From fruits, you need to pay attention to green apples, which usually do not cause an allergic reaction.
- Lentils and other legumes are also considered a significant component of the mother-to-be’s diet. They contain a lot of vegetable protein and useful trace elements: iron, calcium, zinc. And fiber — much more than in «ordinary» vegetables! Low-fat spicy lentil soup with chicken broth can be a great staple for all family members. It is good to add a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream to it. However, the consumption of legumes must be treated with some caution, since they usually cause a very high formation of gas and flatulence, which is already considered a problem for expectant mothers. Thanks to this, it is worth including dishes from lentils, beans, peas in the meal after the «test drive» of a small portion.
- Eggs contain folic acid, which is so essential for the normal development of the fetus, as well as selenium, choline, biotin, easily assimilated proteins and amino acids, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Eggs are rich in vitamins A, E, D, B12, B3. But attention! Eggs should be cooked before they are eaten; they should never be eaten raw! Quail eggs are good for dietary nutrition. The body temperature of quails is so high that it does not give the opportunity to develop such a dangerous disease as salmonellosis. The content of vitamins A, B1 and B2 in them is almost half higher than in chicken eggs, and in five quail eggs, which roughly correspond to one chicken in weight, in fact, five times more iron, phosphorus and potassium. During the day, you can consume no more than 2 chicken eggs and no more than 6 — 10 quail eggs.
- Fermented milk products such as yoghurt and kefir help with proper digestion and the creation of a positive microflora in the stomach and intestines. Expectant mothers should definitely include various low-fat types of cheese and cottage cheese in their meals, they contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus. During pregnancy or breastfeeding, it is necessary to pay great attention to the correct selection of fermented milk products, because actually now its proper composition and «reliability» are very important. An excellent solution is the products of this category, actually made for baby food. «Children’s» dairy products mainly contain prebiotics and probiotics, which support normal intestinal microflora and facilitate comfortable digestion, which is very important for a mother-to-be.
- Fish is a somewhat less «heavy» product than meat, it is also better absorbed. Low-fat varieties of sea fish are recommended for expectant mothers: cod, navaga, hake, ice fish, dorada, sea bass. It contains minerals, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed for the healthy development of the baby and the proper course of pregnancy. Only marine varieties of fish are rich in such acids, and river fish must be treated very carefully, because it contains parasites. Raw fish is prohibited during pregnancy, and varieties such as king mackerel, swordfish, shark and tuna should be drunk in limited quantities. Fish of these varieties may contain methyl mercury, which is dangerous for the nervous system of the fetus, for example, if it accumulates in the mother’s body. Thanks to this, nutritionists advise eating such fish no more than once a week, and the approximate weight of a steak in ready-made form should be about 150 g.
- Diet types of meat — hare, turkey, veal — are useful during pregnancy, as they are rich in protein and at the same time low in fat. Hare meat is called the latest trend in modern cooking and is considered ideal for diet nutrition. It contains a lot of vitamins B6, B12, PP, and also iron, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, etc. A hare stewed in sour cream with seasonal vegetables is considered an excellent classic recipe. Expectant mothers who love to eat deliciously will also like steamed veal cooked in a slow cooker with prunes, or Moroccan turkey stewed with a mixture of spices and orange juice.
- Whole grains and cereals, such as wild rice, wholemeal bread, oatmeal, wheat germ, bran, buckwheat, are very important for digestion because they contain a lot of vegetable fiber, complex carbohydrates, and also calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and group vitamins B. Groats can be an interesting side dish and serve as a main course. So, in fact, any of them can be cooked in the manner of a vegetarian pilaf: first by stewing vegetables in olive oil, and then filling them with washed cereals and stewing them before cooking.
- Butter, both butter and vegetable, is also useful for expectant mothers. Butter contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Vitamin A has regenerating properties, is important for vision and also for fetal growth. Vitamin D changes the processes of cell division, promotes the assimilation of calcium and phosphorus by the body (which is especially needed during pregnancy), and participates in the synthesis of a number of hormones. Vitamin K affects the metabolism and blood clotting. However, due to the high content of cholesterol in butter, its consumption rate is no more than 15 — 30 g during the day. Vegetable oils contain a lot of fatty acids, tocopherols, A, P. Tocopherol is absolutely necessary during pregnancy and is prescribed when there is a threat of miscarriage. It is worth paying much attention to unrefined «cold pressed» oils: olive, grape seed, pumpkin, corn, sunflower.