Tired of hearing “eat healthy” during pregnancy? The weight gain doesn’t align with the generic “eat healthy” comment. It can be frustrating, but it benefits you and your baby's growth. Sticking to a healthy diet tremendously affects how your baby grows.
This article explains why maternal nutrition is important and how weight gain is needed for a progressive pregnancy.
What is maternal nutrition?
Maternal nutrition during pregnancy is essential for the health of your offspring. The ability of a mother to provide nutrients and oxygen for her baby is a critical factor for fetal health and survival.
Improving your nutrition during pregnancy is crucial to boosting your and your baby’s health. Failure to supply adequate nutrients to meet fetal demand can lead to malnutrition.
Importance of maternal nutrition
Human milk energy, proteins and nutrients come from the diet and maternal body stores. Women that do not obtain sufficient nutrients from dietary sources may be at risk of deficiency in some minerals and vitamins that perform important functions.
When should I start making healthy food choices?
Making healthy food choices should begin in the months before conception. However, as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, ensure your diet is as healthy as possible.
What should I consume before pregnancy?
Folic acid supplementation is recommended before conception to prevent the development of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
It should be taken at least 0.4 mg/day throughout the first trimester of pregnancy, 0.6 mg/day, and 0.5 mg/day while breastfeeding. Eat foods rich in folic acid, such as green leafy vegetables.
Iodine levels are frequently too low in pregnant women, and iodine is necessary for normal thyroid function and mental development of the fetus. Ensure to consume prenatal vitamins containing iodine.
Many pregnant women have been found to have low levels of vitamin B12, and supplementation has not yet been shown to improve pregnancy outcomes or the health of the newborn.
Iron is needed for the healthy growth of the fetus and placenta, especially during the second and third trimesters. It is also essential before pregnancy for the production of haemoglobin.
Nutrition during pregnancy
Eating a nutritious diet during pregnancy is linked to good fetal brain development and healthy birth weight, reducing the risk of congenital disabilities. A balanced diet will also reduce the risks of anaemia and other unpleasant pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and morning sickness. Good nutrition helps balance mood swings and may also improve labor and delivery.
A well-balanced pregnancy diet should include these nutrients:
Fruits and vegetables
Weight gain and control in pregnancy
Whilst your weight gain depends on the type of pregnancy (e.g., multiples) and diet, you don't have much control over it. However, you can carry out exercises you used to engage in before pregnancy to maintain your weight.
Avoiding unhealthy meals is a good way to maintain your weight. A simple way to satisfy your nutritional needs during pregnancy is to eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups every day. Discussing and monitoring your weight and nutritional needs with your doctor throughout the pregnancy is essential.
Though, weight gain is normal and essential in pregnancy. Weight gain recommendations will vary for women who are underweight before conceiving, for those who are obese, and for those with multiple pregnancies, such as twins.
Aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging, and swimming, stimulate the heart and lungs as well as muscle and joint activity, which help to process and utilize oxygen. Aerobic activity also improves circulation and increases muscle tone and strength.
What should I not consume during pregnancy?
Do not consume anything that is not pasteurized and thoroughly heated. Also raw food too. Limit your intake of greasy and sugary meals. They significantly add to your weight gain.
Nutrition during and after pregnancy can be daunting. You have limited options and may not know how to utilize them. Whilst you need to eat healthy, you can still enjoy your meals without a grim. Diversify your meal options. Try new fruits and vegetables. Ensure to check in with your physician before trying new meals and fruits.
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