Diet During Pregnancy
During pregnancy a woman’s body and mind go through a lot of changes.
The little baby growing inside needs its mother to be physically and emotionally fit. The body especially needs to have the right kind of nutrition so that both the mother and the baby are getting the nutrition and energy that they need to stay healthy. Pregnancy usually lasts for about 40 weeks but since the day you find out that you are carrying a baby in you your health becomes a top priority and that is why that in spite of the morning sickness it is very important to follow a healthy diet plan during pregnancy and meet the nutritional demands of the mother and the baby. On an average a woman requires at around 2000 calories per day.
But during pregnancy though in the first three months you don’t have to change your calorie intake but after that you will have to increase your calorie in take by 300 kilocalories per day. But if you are underweight or obese while pregnant then you need to talk to your health worker to draw up your tailor-made diet during pregnancy. Diets during pregnancy should be balanced with the required amount of proteins, vitamins, minerals and calories. All the calories that are got from this are needed to meet the growing demands of the foetus inside you and the needs of your body to help it grow.
The best way to choose the correct diet during pregnancy is to consult your doctor or the dietician so that meal plans with the right nutrients can be easily drawn up. For meal ideas during pregnancy it is best to draw up a chart for all meals times and snacks, make sure that you change it after a few weeks or you might end up getting bored and not want to eat. As part of the diet plans during pregnancy make sure that you include a steady in take of dairy products since they are rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Milk, yogurt and buttermilk are very good sources of calcium, if you prefer vegan foods that you can always substitute it with soy milk which is equally nutritious. Along with this proteins are also needed. Lean meat like beef, chicken, pork and lamb are good in small quantities but if you are vegetarian then your proteins can be substituted by beans, lentils and whole grains. Green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, turnips broccoli and the like should be an integral part of you diet during pregnancy since they are rich in iron which is vital for pregnant women. Whole grains and cereals have a high vitamin and mineral content and therefore should be a regular part of your meals during pregnancy. Sometimes constipation is a big problem during pregnancy therefore vegetable soups and a lot of fruits and vegetables that are rich in fibre should be a part of your diet plan. In your meals plan during pregnancy make sure that you include at least one egg a day at breakfast because it contains vitamins and proteins that will help the baby grow better. Make sure that you limit yourself to a minimum fat diet so that you don’t put on extra weight, so it is best to avoid fried food for sometime. Instead substitute fried stuff with baked foods, though you should avoid sweet bakery stuff.
Make sure you plan your meals in such a way that along with three small meals you also have around three snacks in between. This way you will be able to stay healthy while eating during pregnancy. Along with all this make sure that you drink enough water during your pregnancy this will not only keep your hydrated but also increase your blood volume.
Diet During First Trimester
During the first trimester most pregnant women are known to experience the common symptom of morning sickness or nausea which can be quite dehydrating and frustrating for them.
It is from the first trimester onwards that one needs to concentrate on 1st trimester foods in particular and also follow a new pregnancy healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating during the first trimester is required so as to ensure the healthy growth and development of both the mother and the child as the pregnancy progresses and even in the future years of the child.
Some foods that are included in the diet during the first trimester include fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, cereals, dairy products and crackers which are required to stabilize the blood pressure which tends to fluctuate during pregnancy. Nutrition during the first trimester also includes an additional intake of fresh drinking water and other fluids as it prevents the mother from getting dehydrated on account of the vomiting and is also required to flush out any harmful toxins form the body. During the first trimester women who suffer from frequent bouts of vomiting and nausea should ideally eat foods that are easy to digest and are known to be light on the stomach and should also eat smaller and more frequent meals to prevent and dehydration or weakness form setting in.
First trimester calorie intake should ideally be from foods like soy, lentils, and fresh leafy vegetables which tend to benefits the body of the pregnant woman and also provide both the mother and child with calcium, fiber, iron and protein. Many women have the misconception that they should gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy and tend to go overboard with their calorie intake. While gaining a certain amount of weight is normal during pregnancy it is not healthy to become obese as this may cause future complications in the mother and the child. Hence most of the calories during the first trimester that are required from meats should come from lean meats such as chicken and fish which provide the body with the required amount of protein while ensuring that the expectant mother does not become overweight. Some of the most important considerations pertaining to diet during the first trimester are getting sufficient amount of folate and also preventing dehydration and malnutrition. During pregnancy, pregnant women tend to require 300 additional calories more than usual every day. The pregnancy diet during the first trimester should include plenty of dairy products and other foods that are rich in calcium as calcium is required for the skeletal development of the child and also to replenish the calcium deposits of the mother.
Additionally foods that are rich in fiber should also be consumed during the first trimester and throughout the pregnancy as fiber helps in the formation of stools and also prevents constipation which is one of the common problems during pregnancy. Fiber is also required to maintain the good health of the digestive system of the mother. Foods that are rich in fiber are fruits, vegetables and whole grains and are a necessary part of a pregnancy diet during the first trimester. The first trimester is considered to be the most critical time during the pregnancy and hence special attention should be given to nutrition as although the fetus might be just around four inches in length and also may weigh almost an ounce, most of its major organs are beginning to develop. Additionally all of its functions would have also begun to form such as nervous system, heartbeat, fingers, arms, toes, legs and even buds for future teeth. Thus the development of the baby is taking place at a rapid pace and this puts added pressure on the mother’s body to meet the growing nutritional demands of the baby.
Post Pregnancy Diet
Getting in to shape and staying healthy after your pregnancy is a big task.
Most women want to get their shape back soon after the delivery but the most common mistake that they make is that in their bid to lose weight they tend to neglect the need for continuing to eat healthy and stay fit instead of just losing the extra weight. As your little baby is solely dependent on you for its nutrition it is necessary to make sure that you continue to eat healthy food and follow the right kind of post pregnancy diet. Lack of nutrition is the diet can lead for complications both for the mother and the infant.
Most of the side effects of the post pregnancy can be taken care of by following a strictly balanced diet even after your pregnancy. Post pregnancy diets doesn’t mean cutting down or restricting calories instead it means that you should continue to follow a dietary meal plan to continue to stay healthy and make sure that your baby gets the proper nutrition that it needs to grow. Such a diet is not to lose weight as soon as possible; your main aim should be to make sure that your baby gets all the necessary nutrition is requires to grow up healthy.
Your own body will slowly get used to the diet and with some regular exercise you will be able to get back your previous shape. One of the wisest things to do is to stick to the diet that you were following while you were pregnant so that you continue to get all the required nutrition. Eating healthy will also help your body to recover and make your metabolism function as before. Post pregnancy food is more or less the same as you have been used to before. Healthy low fat food that is rich in fibre is the best kind of post pregnancy nutrition. Some of the easy nutritious foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, tofu or cottage cheese, and yogurt with fresh fruits in it, nuts and dry fruits or sunflower seeds, whole grain or corn cereal. These don’t require long cooking processes and can easily be eaten as you take care of your baby. With the help of your dietician you could draw up a post pregnancy diet meal plan that would help you to plan around 5 small meals a day that will be able to pack all the nutrition that you need in those meals and snacks that will not only keep you healthy but also help you to give your baby the right kind of nourishment. You should make sure that your meals include a steady in take of dairy products since they are rich in calcium and Vitamin D which is good for you and the baby.
A regular portion of meat like beef, chicken, pork and lamb are good to build up your energy levels. Vegetarians can substitute the proteins adding by beans, lentils and whole grains. Green vegetables like lettuce, spinach, turnips broccoli and the like should be an integral part of you diet. Whole grains and cereals have a high vitamin and mineral content which is good for both you and your baby. Some kinds of foods especially spicy food may upset your baby therefore you will have to be extra careful as you plan your post pregnancy diet so that you find out what your baby is sensitive to. Avoid caffeine and alcoholic drinks as these can be harmful for your baby. Substitute these with fruit juices or herbal teas which are good for both you and the baby.
Vegetarian Pregnancy Diet
There are many questions about the nutritive value of a vegetarian pregnancy diet.
Some women fear that they and their baby may not be able to get the right kind of nutrition they require. But this is not true since most vitamins and minerals can be easily got from the vegetables and fruits that you eat. The advantages of a vegetarian pregnancy diet is that it is by far very healthy if taken in the prescribed way and because sticking to a vegetarian diet will make the expectant mother stay away from junk food naturally. The right kind of vegetarian pregnancy diet may consist of carbohydrates that can be found in whole wheat, cereals, grains and oats. Proteins are usually found in beans, lentils, peas and soy products like tofu.
Food with fats should be kept low, go slow on fried foods and try to use very little oil while cooking your food. Try to avoid butter and cheese for sometime as they can make you put on weight very easily during your pregnancy. Nuts are also a good source of proteins and vitamins walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts and seeds like sunflower and sesame seeds can be made into snacks in your vegetarian pregnancy meal plan.
One of the most common mistakes that most pregnant women make is that the protein content drops drastically and this can be very harmful for you since you might not have enough strength to support your baby and in turn your baby may lose out of the much needed proteins.For a vegan pregnancy diet you have to be careful since no animal product can be included in your diet. Soy has been found to be more or less equal in the amount of protein that comes from meats and fish. Therefore you can make use of soy milk, tofu or even soy nuggets that can be easily included into your vegan diet. Moreover if you stick to a vegan pregnancy diet you will have to take nutrition supplements for calcium, Vitamin B12 and iron. One of the simplest vegetarian recipes to make during pregnancy is stir fried vegetables. For this all you have to do is to cut some carrots, beans, leeks, peppers, potatoes, mushrooms and some sprouts and fry them in a little oil and with some seasoning. Apart from these vegetables you could also add some boiled kidney beans or chick peas to it and increase the protein intake. As you decide to plan a vegetarian pregnancy meal plan or menus make sure that you include: nearly five servings of green vegetables in a day, four servings of fruits, at least 8 servings of whole grain cereals, rice or pasta, make sure your milk intake is almost 4 times a day you can always use soy or toned milk. Such kind of foods are able to provide the much needed iron, calcium, zinc and protein that is vital for you to be healthy enough to take care of your baby inside.
You should also make your meal plans in such a way that instead of three big meals divide it into five small meals a day with a few healthy snacks in between so that you are able to eat healthy and stay fit throughout your pregnancy. The best way to plan a vegetarian pregnancy diet is not to change much from your earlier vegetarian diet, but for good measure it is best to consult a dietician or your health worker so that both of you are able to draw up a meal plan that you be in accordance to the nutritive value that you and your baby require.
Pregnancy Diet Nutrition
During pregnancy, food and nutrition play a very important role in ensuring that your unborn baby gets the nourishment required to develop.
Eating well during this period is not only about how much you eat but also about taking into consideration what you eat. During the first trimester of your pregnancy, diet and nutrition experts recommended that you increase your calorie intake by about 100 calories and about 300 calories in your second and third trimester. Working out a diet for a healthy pregnancy is important as the extra calories should come from nutritious foods that can contribute to your baby’s well-being. For instance, if you need to have an extra snack before you go to bed, a fruit, a serving of yoghurt and a couple of biscuits is usually enough.
A well-balanced diet for a healthy pregnancy involves eating different types of food, but in moderate amounts.
Eating too much of one food type may be harmful and could also lead to too much of weight gain. If you are suffering from nausea or heartburn, try having six small meals instead of three meals. Your daily intake of pregnancy diet calories should be approximately 2,800 or so for a healthy pregnancy.
Here are a few pregnancy nutrition facts that you should keep in mind.
Make sure your diet consists of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and plenty of water. Recommended daily servings include fruit (2 to 4 servings), bread and grains (6 to 11 servings), vegetables (4 or more servings), dairy products (4 servings), and other protein sources (3 servings). Sweets and fats should be consumed sparingly.
Also, during pregnancy, diet and nutrition experts recommend that you take a vitamin supplement daily. This ensures that your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals are consistently met. Check with your doctor for some medicines that you can pick up over-the-counter or ask him/her to prescribe some prenatal vitamins. Your doctor may prescribe vitamins such as folic acid, calcium, and iron during your pregnancy.
Some foods that are best avoided during your pregnancy include raw seafood or sushi. Possible sources of bacteria such as undercooked meat, pate, and eggs can harm your unborn baby. Products made from liver and liver should be avoided as they contain too much of the retinol form of Vitamin A that is bad for your child. Consuming too much alcohol can cause problems such as learning disabilities, physical defects, and emotional problems in your child. Pregnancy diet and nutrition experts feel that reducing your intake of caffeine is a good idea as extra intake of it could cause baby health problems.
In addition, during your pregnancy, drink a lot of fluids such as water and fresh fruit juices and make sure you are well-hydrated. Diseases are generally caused due to waterborne viruses so make sure you drink water that is clean and filtered. While traveling carrying your own water is a good idea.
Juices that are commercially packed usually have high content of sugar and during pregnancy food and nutrition experts recommend that you go easy on them.
Any type of diet during your pregnancy can be potentially harmful to your developing child and you. Diets for weight loss can leave a deficit of important minerals and vitamins such as folic acid and iron. One of the most important and positive signs during your pregnancy is your weight. You will have a healthy baby if you gain the right amount of weight. Eating fresh food that is nutritious and wholesome is the best way to go. During pregnancy, exercise and nutrition in moderation and as prescribed by your doctor is the key to having a healthy baby.
Pre Pregnancy Diet
One of the most important considerations for women who are planning to conceive and get pregnant is concentrating on their pre pregnancy diet.
One of the most important pre pregnancy health tips that all doctors will give to women who are trying to conceive is to follow a healthy pre pregnancy diet. Following good pre pregnancy nutrition and eating healthy foods even before getting pregnant would help ensure that the baby has an ideal environment to grow in and this will also ensure that the baby has a lower risk of deficiencies that may lead to birth defects. Those women who are interested in starting a family should get their pre pregnancy health evaluated.
This will help to determine if they are healthy enough to bear a child and in some cases, the doctor may suggest that the woman should wait for a while before trying to conceive. There may be certain circumstances that tend to deplete the nutrient stores in a woman such as eating disorders, recent pregnancy, recent long term illness, lack of a well balance diet, excessive dieting, inadequate calcium intake and other factors. The first steps towards pre pregnancy health is to take prenatal supplements prescribed by the doctor which contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and follow a healthy pre pregnancy diet.
Folic acid is extremely essential as it reduces the chance of the baby being born with congenital disorders such as spina bifida. Folic acid is also required to enable proper development of the embryo and also for facilitating proper cell growth thereby preventing serious physical problems which may even include neural tube defects. Additionally folic acid is also known to reduce the risk of preterm delivery, recurrent miscarriages and also the risk of low birth weight babies. There are also some natural sources of folic acid which may be found in foods such as fruits, dark leafy vegetables, fortified grain products, cereals, peas and dried beans. Pre pregnancy tips also include foods that moms to be should avoid such as certain dietary supplements which may harm the bay in the short or long term namely supplements that provide an excess of Vitamin A may cause birth defects in the child. There are also certain herbal preparations that are known to be toxic to the child and hence must be strictly avoided such as parsley and fenugreek as they tend to cause uterine contractions. Similarly pre pregnancy diet should also strictly exclude cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, illicit drugs as they could be fatal for the bay besides causing birth defects. Along with ones diet pre pregnancy fitness also plays an important role in the healthy growth and development of both mother and child. Most doctors would recommend that moms to be should take up some form of exercises such as swimming or walking or even jogging so a sot ensure that they are physically fit and able to handle the rigors of pregnancy.
Eating a healthy pre pregnancy diet is essential to the health of the mother and the developing child, Good nutritional habits are required to be followed and maintained not only before and during pregnancy but also after pregnancy so as to ensure that the baby gets maximum amount of nutrients from the mothers breast milk. Pre pregnancy nutrition should also include Omega 3 essential fatty acids which are available from fish oil, fish and other supplements. However moms to be should be careful about getting their intake of omega 3 fatty acids from fish alone as there is a possibility and a danger of heavy metal contamination from mercury to pregnant women who are on a high fish diet. This in turn may result in serious birth defects in the child such as autism.
Pregnancy Diet Chart
Proper food and nutrition is essential when you are pregnant, as it will help the baby grow and develop.
In order to do this you need to plan out a well balanced diet that has the necessary proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats. A pregnancy food chart will list different foods from the basic food groups. These food groups are 1. Whole grain products. 2. Fruits and Vegetables. 3.
Milk and other dairy products. 4. Meat and fish. When planning a pregnancy diet plan you will have to avoid having spicy foods, caffeine foods such as coffee, tea, chocolates, canned and processed foods, cakes, candies, cookies which are very sugary, colas and soda drinks. You should also try and keep the salt intake as less as possible. You should try and have 3 to 4 meals everyday. This will ease the digestion process and give relief from nausea and heartburns.
The following is a list of different foods that should be included in your diet:
- Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet as it supplies energy that helps develop the immune system and avoids blood clotting.
In order to ensure proper intake of carbohydrates you could foods such as; bread products, 1 cup popcorn, half hamburger, ¾ cup cold cereal, 1 muffin, half cup noodles, rice, macaroni or spaghetti, 2 graham crackers, 6 round crackers, 4 whole wheat breads.
- Vitamin A is important for healthy skin, helps resist infections, bone growth, cell growth and eye development. Daily Requirement of vitamin A is 770 mcg. Foods that supply Vitamin A are; Sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomato, pumpkin, carrots, leafy vegetables, apricots, watermelon and squash. So ensure that you include any of these in your daily diet.
- Vitamin C supplying foods:- All citrus fruits, green vegetables, berries, tomatoes, broccoli and cantaloupe. Is very important for the production of callagen which is a component of skins, cartilage tendons and bones. Also helps tissue repair. Daily Requirement – 85 mg.
- Fats are another source of energy for the body that help transport the essential vitamins in the body. To get the required intake of fats you can include meat products such as 2 pieces of chicken or lean meat, 4 oz. fish, 2 eggs or 2 pieces of pizza, 1/8cup beans or chili or 2 tablespoon peanut butter. Fats are also found in foods such as nuts, vegetable oils, salad dressings, dairy products.
- Folic Acid foods are also very essential as it helps reduce birth defects. It is also important for DNA production and prevents neural tube defects. The daily requirement for folic acid is 600 mcg. Other than the folic acid pills your doctor will prescribe your diet should include foods such as vegetables, legumes, nuts, leafy vegetables and yellow fruits as they are good sources of folic acid.
- Calcium is essential as it helps in the development of the baby’s bones, nerves, teeth, muscles and heart rhythm. The daily requirement of calcium is 1000 mg. Spinach, Watermelon, yogurt, sardines, cheese and milk are all good sources of calcium.
- Vitamin B6 is important as it helps develop the brain, nervous system and new blood cells. The daily requirement is1.9 mg.
Pork, ham, beef liver, bananas and whole grain cereals are good sources of Vitamin B6.
- Iron is essential as it builds red blood cells. It also helps in bones development and supplying oxygen to the cells that provide energy to the baby. The daily requirement of iron is 27 mg. Iron can be found in foods such as spinach, lean meat, whole grain cereals and breads.
- Water is also very important in a diet during pregnancy as it helps in preventing constipation, hydrating you body, keeps you away from urinary tract or bladder infection and swelling.