Proper nutrition of the future mother is a necessary condition for the normal course of pregnancy, growth, and development of the fetus. And although at all times it was extremely difficult to provide pregnant women with a variety of full-fledged meals, adherence to certain basic rules is still necessary. However, the needs of a pregnant woman in food substances do not change suddenly, they depend on the period and features of the course of pregnancy. So, what are the right pregnancy nutrition basics?
Meaning of Proper Nutrition
Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients must be balanced throughout the entire period of gestation. Proper nutrition during pregnancy provides:
- normal functioning of the maternal organism;
- full nutrition of the embryo, satisfying the baby’s needs;
- growth and formation of the placenta;
- increase of the mammary glands;
- prolonged and sufficient lactation.
Also, during pregnancy, the child’s mental and physical abilities are developed intra-uterine. If there is a deficiency of certain substances in food, deviations are possible:
- the birth of a child with anomalies and malformations;
- decreased viability of the newborn;
- weak immunological protection;
- decreased intelligence;
- violation of concentration and attention;
- an early manifestation of hereditary diseases.
Also, you should know that drinking alcohol and smoking during pregnancy in 90% of cases leads to hypoxia, serious developmental disorders, as well as to chronic diseases of the fragile organism.
Not only the health of the mother but also the development of the fetus depends on the correctness and completeness of pregnancy nutrition. Still, many pregnant women make common mistakes:
Eating only according to the needs of the body – is not correct. The absence of a good breakfast and overeating during the day and evening hours during pregnancy leads to digestion disorders.
At a later time, metabolic processes are slowed down. Thus, food has an additional burden on the gastrointestinal tract. A plentiful dinner badly affects the night’s sleep of a pregnant woman, and calories turn into extra centimeters. The feeling of hunger can be eased by a cup of tea.
Eating dry food increases the risk of gastritis and stomach ulcers. The body of a pregnant woman is very vulnerable, so it is important to include warm meals. Include low-fat soups and broths in the diet. They will contribute to the work of digestive juices.
Absence of Breakfast
Digestive juices start to be produced in the body in the morning, so to avoid gastritis, do not miss meals. Drink a glass of fresh juice or yogurt. For high-grade nutrition, eat slow carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber.
There is no need to give up all seasonings, as soon as the pregnancy test has shown a positive result. The danger to the maternal organism lies in the fact that such food interferes with blood coagulability. If the doctor diagnosed anemia, cystitis, or peptic ulcer, then it is better to exclude spicy food from the diet in general.
A pregnant woman should consume only high-quality, environmentally friendly, natural products, balanced and high in content of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Food should be as varied as possible. A pregnancy diet should include all groups of products.
- Give preference to the food of natural origin rather than the industrial and artificial one.
- In the process of cooking, follow the rules of the most gentle heat treatment (steamed, steamed in a thermos, stewed in a tightly closed dish on a small fire, or in the oven).
- If possible, exclude canned food and any products containing preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and so on.
- Reduce (and in the case of allergic diseases in the mother – refuse) consumption of allergen products (strawberries, oranges, chocolate, etc.).
- Food should be chewed well – this will help its digestion and will facilitate it. If the food is chewed for a long time, it gets into the stomach not too cold or hot, but at an ideal temperature.
Adhere to the principle of split meals – you should eat more often, but little by little. This will not only control the weight gain, and assimilate the maximum amount of vitamins and trace elements from food, but also facilitate its digestion. It is not recommended to eat until the feeling of full saturation. What’s more, there is also no need to eat for two.
Basic Rules of Pregnancy Nutrition
Here are a few recommendations, adhering to which you can be sure of the full provision of your baby with all the necessary substances.
Do Not Starve
Eat a little snack between the main meals. Drink at least 8 glasses of still water a day. However, consult your doctor about the amount of water you need to drink since excess water in the body can cause edema.
Diversify your Menu
Combine products from different food groups: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, fiber, etc. However, do not forget that you must combine them correctly!
Drink Fresh Juices
The juicer is an indispensable thing both during pregnancy and after childbirth (both for you and for your baby).
Include Soup in the Diet
Soups promote good digestion. What’s more, soups are easily digested and rich in nutrients. You can cook soups on a secondary meat and vegetable broth.
Eat Sour-Milk Products
Dairy products are indispensable if you want to improve digestion. In addition, they are very tasty. Choose yogurt, sour cream, fermented baked milk, and curdled milk with reduced fat content. Eat cheese, because it contains a lot of calcium, but make sure it is also low-fat.
Do Not Give up Eating Meat
But keep in mind that preference should be given to low-fat varieties of meat. The meat should better be steamed. Avoid eating sausages. This will help control the normal weight gain during pregnancy.
Do not Exclude Fish From the Menu
Fish and seafood are the main sources of high-grade proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, the fish contains phosphorus, which plays an important role in the formation of the bone tissue of your baby. It should be steamed. Fried fish is not a good option during pregnancy.
Eggs will provide your body with the necessary amount of protein. Eat them cooked or in the form of an omelet. Try to eat not more than 3-4 eggs a week.
Add the Vegetable Oil to the Menu
Vegetable oils are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are necessary for the body to build cell membranes and other biologically active substances. You can fill salads with olive, sunflower, corn, or flaxseed oil.
Limit the Consumption of Sugar and Salt
Give up canned foods that contain a lot of salt and contribute to the accumulation of excess fluid in the body – this causes swelling. In addition, excessive intake of salt can lead to atherosclerosis and hypertension. Replace salt with spices and aromatic herbs. As for the consumption of sweet products, give preference to jam and jelly with low sugar content, and replace chocolate and buns with fruits, nuts, and dried fruits.
Don’t Forget About Iron
To maintain the required level of hemoglobin in the blood, including in the diet foods rich in iron: eggs, fish, meat and poultry, dried fruits, whole grains cereals and bread, green lettuce leaves, etc. It is better to consume iron together with vitamin C because it promotes better digestion. The main sources of vitamin C are citrus, cabbage, sweet pepper, greens, and black currant.
Nutrition Features in Each Trimester
Nutrition in each trimester of pregnancy is based on the characteristics of the fetus. A little emphasis on certain nutrients will help both the baby and mom feel good. General tips are the following:
- Eat vegetables and fruits daily in both raw and boiled form;
- Do not eat marine fish more than three times a week;
- Don’t consume too much salt;
- Do not limit your drinking regimen without the advice of a doctor.
Pregnancy Nutrition in the First Trimester
Nutrition in early pregnancy does not require sharp adjustments. Do not urgently change your lifestyle and eating habits. It is enough to carefully monitor the quality of products and observe several rules:
- Take folic acid. Vitamin B9 is especially important in the first trimester of pregnancy, it is necessary for the growth and development of organs and tissues. What’s more, it affects the formation of the nervous system. The main sources are legumes, cabbage, beets, soy, cheese, carrots, and others;
- Do not eat for two. The energy needs of the baby are not so high at this time, and overeating high-calorie foods will lead to overweight;
- To get rid of morning sickness during pregnancy, eat a cracker or a biscuit on an empty stomach and drink a glass of still water. During pregnancy, give preference to baked, boiled, and steamed dishes. When vomiting, the body loses mineral substances, so do not completely refuse the salted dishes.
- Full nutrition in the first trimester of pregnancy is fundamental for the prevention of miscarriages. Useful substances reduce the risk of stillbirth and the prerequisites of malformations.
The Second Trimester
During this period the fetus begins to grow intensively. Functional activity was already achieved by the formed organs. The daily requirement rises to 2500 kcal. The organism of the pregnant woman starts to work in the strengthened mode. Therefore, the probability of occurrence of heartburn and intestinal obstruction is high. To get rid of these problems, the nutrition of a pregnant woman in the second trimester should be enriched with the following elements:
- Calcium and vitamin D. are fundamental in the formation of bone, muscle, and nerve tissue. Deficiency, on the contrary, will lead to a delay in fetal growth. Dairy products, eggs, liver, and sea fish should be included in your diet.
- Products that are difficult to digest by the body can lead to disorders of digestion. These are bread, semolina, cocoa, fast food, soda, as well as fried and spicy dishes. Exclude these foods from your diet completely;
- Iron. The decrease in hemoglobin in medicine is called anemia. It arises because of a lack of iron in the blood. For prevention and treatment, it is worth adding meat products, eggs, and vegetables to the diet. For the best absorption of iron into the blood, it is recommended to combine foods with berries and fruits rich in vitamin C (rose hips, cranberries, currants);
- Fiber. The constantly growing uterus of a pregnant woman and decreased intestinal peristalsis provoke the appearance of constipation. Fiber-rich fresh vegetables and fruits should form the basis of the daily diet.
The Third Trimester
It’s time for the mother to reduce the calorie content of food. The intensive growth of the fetus is replaced by a decent weight gain. To ensure the proper nutrition of a pregnant woman in the third trimester, the main recommendations should be followed. Reduce the energy value of food by limiting the use of simple carbohydrates and animal fats.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.