The nutrition of a pregnant woman is of great importance for the proper development of the fetus and the so-called fetal metabolic programming that affects the rest of the baby’s life. Thanks to a proper diet, you can prevent the development of many civilization diseases in a child, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity or hypertension. Meanwhile, many myths and contradictory information have arisen around the topic of nutrition of this group, which means that women do not always know what is really worth eating, and what they should definitely avoid and eliminate. What is worth taking care of during pregnancy? Which products should be included in the diet and which should be limited? What aspects should you pay special attention to?
``Eat for two, but not twice``
During pregnancy, a woman’s caloric needs increase, but it is important to focus primarily on providing the baby and herself with all the necessary nutrients, and not empty calories. Proper nutrition in pregnancy is also an important process because during these 9 months, nutrient reserves are accumulated for the lactation period. Energy demand increases only in the second trimester of pregnancy and it is + 360kcal / d, while in the third trimester it is already + 475kcal / d. It should be remembered that the lactation period is also a period of increased demand – a woman should then provide about 505 kcal more per day than her needs.
Normal weight gain throughout pregnancy with a normal body weight of a woman before conception ranges from 11.5 to 16 kg. It is good to check it at least once a month. In addition to the need for energy, the body’s need for nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates), vitamins and minerals is also increasing.
Diversity is the key
A pregnant woman should focus on making her diet as varied as possible, rich in colorful vegetables and fruits, wholesome protein, healthy fats and sources of complex carbohydrates.
Daily, you should eat 3 main meals and 2 complementary meals, at fixed times, at regular intervals (ideally every 3-4 hours). Each of them should be wholesome, that is, consist of protein, fats, carbohydrates and a portion of vegetables.
Protein in the diet of a pregnant woman
The sources of wholesome protein should be:
- lean types of meat (chicken, turkey, veal, rabbit) and (slightly less often) beef, which should be combined with vitamin C sources such as pepper or parsley, which is a good source of iron;
- sea fish – 2 times a week, 100g of fresh product, one of which should be a fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, trout or herring;
- eggs – as an addition to salads or as part of sandwich spreads. They are a source of fat-soluble vitamins and B vitamins;
dairy products – are a good source of calcium and B vitamins. It is worth choosing fermented products such as natural yoghurts, kefirs and buttermilk, as well as cottage cheese and milk. It is recommended to consume 3-4 servings a day (1 serving is e.g. 200 ml of milk or 100g of cottage cheese);
- legume seeds (broad beans, chickpeas, lentils, beans) – they can be an ingredient of salads, sandwich spreads (e.g. hummus), but also the main ingredient of dishes. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins and zinc.
Fat in the diet of a pregnant woman
Fat sources should mainly be vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, linseed oil, olive oil or avocado oil, as well as nuts and seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds). Linseed oil or avocado oil should be used as an addition to salads (cold). You should limit the saturated and trans fats found in foods such as hard margarines, fast food, confectionery, crisps and sweets.
Carbohydrates in the diet of a pregnant woman
Carbohydrates should account for more than 50% of the energy provided in the diet, and should be mainly complex carbohydrates derived from products such as whole grain cereal products (wholemeal wholemeal bread, spelled, rye, whole grain pasta, legume pasta, barley, buckwheat and pearl barley, and brown rice), vegetables and potatoes. They are an excellent source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc and dietary fiber.
Hydration during pregnancy and after childbirth
Fluid requirements increase significantly during pregnancy and lactation. It is 2300 ml during pregnancy and 2700 ml during lactation respectively. The supply of fluids should be ensured by drinking mineral spring or low-mineralized water, weak teas, herbal and fruit infusions.
Coffee and alcohol - can I or not?
Coffee and alcohol The amount of caffeine in the diet should be limited to 200-300 mg / day, or 2-3 cups. Remember that caffeine is also found in tea, cocoa, chocolate and cola drinks.
Alcohol should be completely eliminated.
What to avoid in the diet of pregnant and nursing mothers?
There are also things that should be avoided during this period. So let’s avoid the elements of the list below.
- Fried, hard-to-digest dishes.
- Unpasteurized milk and its products.
- Raw and undercooked meat, raw meats.
- Raw eggs.
- Raw and smoked fish and seafood.
- Blue cheese, feta cheese, and camembert cheese.
- Excessive salting of dishes.
- Colorful carbonated, high-sugar and energy drinks.
- Artificial sweeteners.
- Highly processed foods, soup concentrates, sauces, canned food, deep-frozen foods.
- Sugar and glucose-fructose syrup (always read the ingredients of the products).
There is no such thing as a special diet for a lactating woman. The most important thing is a rational diet according to the healthy eating plate and taking into account the increased energy requirement in the form of an additional 505 kilocalories. The diet should be as least processed, fresh, seasonal and varied as possible. An elimination diet in this period is not justified, as it does not affect the child’s risk of asthma, eczema or other allergy symptoms in any way.
Read more: Dietician Warsaw