Holistic Nutrition during Pregnancy

  “Eating well during pregnancy is more than simply increasing how much you eat. You must also consider what you eat”.                    

Good nutrition is vital to your growing baby. The foods you eat nourish your baby and provide nutrients needed for organ and tissue growth so, nutrition before pregnancy is critical to your baby’s health. The diet of the mother impacts the baby as early as at the time of fertilisation and in the early weeks of pregnancy. The best thing an expectant mother can do to ensure a healthy baby is to eat a healthy diet in the months prior to conception.

When you’re pregnant, what you eat and drink is the main source of nourishment for your baby. In fact, the link between what you consume and the health of your baby is much stronger than once thought. You don’t need to go on a special diet, but it’s important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. You will probably find that you are more hungry than usual, but you don’t need to ‘eat for two’ – even if you are expecting twins or triplets.

Have a healthy breakfast every day because this can help you to avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar. 

Include proteins, iron, calcium, fresh fruits and vegetables (packed with essential nutrients and full of fiber – this fiber also provides a number of benefits, including keeping your bowels moving. This helps prevent constipation and haemorrhoids). Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors every day will provide a wider range of vitamins and nutrients to you and the baby. Naturally, the best sources of good nutrition are foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, minimally processed with no additives or preservatives.

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The first step toward becoming well-nourished is to make a commitment to do so. Pregnant women will also need to learn how to eat when they are hungry, as opposed to emotional eating. Similarly, it’s important that mothers-to-be learn to not skip meals if they are upset or stressed.

The baby will take from the mother everything that they need for health, regardless of how it will affect the mother. If the mother is not getting enough nutrition for both herself and the baby, then she is very likely to suffer signs of deficiency both during and after the pregnancy.

Good nutrition during pregnancy, and enough of it, is very important for the baby to grow and develop. An expectant mother should consume about 300 more calories per day than she did before the mother became pregnant.

  • Diet and servings that are recommended during pregnancy:  During pregnancy is recommended to include 6-11 servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein sources daily. The use of fats should be reduced to its minimums. Fats are a necessary part of the diet for any person, pregnant or not, and in general, the same rules apply: steer clear of trans fats and saturated fats, aim for monounsaturated fats, and watch your polyunsaturated fat intake. Incredible benefits associated with an increased intake during pregnancy of omega-3 fatty acids are also known (Omega-3 also helps to develop the eyes and brains of unborn babies). You can get quality fats from nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Alternately, is recommended a supplement of both evening primrose oil and a high-quality fish oil, in order to get a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (of course, it’s not necessary to supplement with fish oil if fish is eaten regularly during the weekly diet).

It is important to choose foods high in fiber such as:

  • whole-grain breads,
  • cereals,
  • pasta,
  • rice,
  • fruits, and vegetables

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Making sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet while pregnant it is extremely important, therefore one should reinforce the intake by adding PRE-NATAL vitamin supplements to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals every day. This should be recommended by the doctor and these supplements should be taken way before you conceive (3 months before conceiving at least). In addition to pre natal vitamins, consuming at least one good source of folic acid every day, like dark green leafy vegetables, veal, and legumes (lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas and chickpeas). Every pregnant woman needs at least 0.4 mg of folic acid per day to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Adding folic acid supplements to the diet is a good and safe choice as well.

Eating and drinking at least four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day to help ensure that you are getting 1000-1300 mg of calcium in your daily diet during pregnancy.

  • CALCIUM Mommy:

Calcium is important to both mother and baby and not getting enough can have serious consequences, particularly for mom. It is vital for the development of the bones and teeth, is also used in muscle growth in the baby and is important for maintaining a regular heart rhythm in both mom and baby. The calcium stored in the body and from the diet will be used to make milk for your baby after she/he is born. Getting plenty of calcium in your diet during pregnancy will provide enough for you, the baby and stored calcium for making milk for the baby later. If you do not consume enough calcium to sustain the needs of your developing baby, your body will take calcium from your bones, decreasing your bone mass and putting you at risk for osteoporosis.

Dairy foods with Calcium:

  • milk,
  • yogurt,
  • cheese 

Certain foods, such as juices, cereals and breads are sometimes fortified with calcium. Include a variety of food sources in meals and snacks to get enough calcium and a wider range of other vitamins and nutrients. Calcium is also found in foods including green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, and greens), seafood, dried peas, and beans.

It is also important to eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods per day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.

Choose at least one good source of Vitamin C every day – Pregnant women need 70 mg of vitamin C a day

  • oranges,
  • grapefruits,
  • strawberries,
  • honeydew,
  • papaya,
  • broccoli,
  • cauliflower,
  • Brussels sprouts,
  • green peppers,
  • tomatoes
  • mustard greens

Every other day, make sure to include a good source of vitamin A like carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, water squash, turnip greens, beet greens, apricots, and cantaloupe. Excessive vitamin A intake (>10,000 IU/day) may be associated with fetal malformations.

Iron:

Iron is a mineral that makes up an important part of hemoglobin, the substance in blood that carries oxygen throughout the body. Iron also carries oxygen in muscles, helping them function properly. Iron helps increase your resistance to stress and disease.

The body absorbs iron more efficiently during pregnancy; therefore it is important to consume more iron while you are pregnant to ensure that you and your baby are getting enough oxygen. Iron will also help you avoid symptoms of tiredness, weakness, irritability, and depression.

Following a balanced diet and including foods high in iron can help ensure that you are consuming enough iron throughout your pregnancy. In addition, the following guidelines will help: 27 mg per day for pregnant women and 15 mg for breastfeeding women are the daily recommendation.

Eating at least three servings of iron-rich foods a day will help ensure that you are getting 30 mg of iron in your daily diet. One of the best ways to get iron from your diet is to consume a highly fortified breakfast cereal. The best sources of iron include:

  • Enriched grain products,
  • Lean meats,
  • Seafood and eggs,
  • Vegetables like black-eyed peas, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and spinach;
  • Legumes like dry beans, peas, lentils, and soybeans;
  • Fruits (all berries, apricots, dried fruits, including prunes, raisins and apricots, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, plums, prune juice, and watermelon);
  • Breads and Cereals (enriched rice and pasta, soft pretzel, and whole grain and enriched or fortified breads and cereals).
  • Other foods: molasses, peanuts, pine nuts, pumpkin, or squash seeds.

Although you need about 300 extra calories a day — especially later in your pregnancy, when the baby grows quickly — those calories should come from nutritious foods so they can contribute to your baby’s growth and development. 

Of course, patterns of weight gain during pregnancy vary. It’s normal to gain less if you start out heavier and more if you’re having twins or triplets — or if you were underweight before becoming pregnant. More important than how much weight you gain is what makes up those extra pounds.