Now you are not the only one so dear to your hubby, there is a little one in your womb who too is so important. Pregnancy is the result of successful meeting of your egg with the sperm. The egg is now fertilized and it has started multiplying itself and soon it will shape up in someone who will be the apple of your eye. In short, when you are pregnant, remember that you carry two lives; you and your baby.
Since you carry two lives, you require everything double? Not exactly but yes, you certainly need everything extra, most importantly the diet. Pregnancy diet has its own importance and all the nutrients are to be supplied well throughout the pregnancy period and even after child’s birth because the mother then will be lactating mother. The basic concept of providing extra nutrition is the woman will be requiring more nutrition in three ways; she needs nutrition for herself; for her growing baby and for the baby to store energy.
When one is pregnant, she should eat well both; in nutrition and in quantity. She needs extra proteins, vitamins, calcium and iron. Generally, a doctor expects pregnant woman to put on weight by 2-5 pounds minimum. However, in obese pregnant women, the figure may vary. Researchers from the University of Southampton and their colleagues from Bergen and Oslo observed that babies of slimmer mothers (women with lower body fats) and those having no balanced diet have greater liver blood flow and can divert less blood away from the liver in later stage of the pregnancy and hence it can affect function of the liver in later stage of life. This may result in having heart disease and diabetes in the offspring. Dr. Charmaine Griffiths from British Heart Foundation further supports the trial saying, ”This study shows how important it is for women to eat a balanced diet packed full of fruit and vegetables, before and during pregnancy”.
Pregnant women normally require higher levels of Vitamins and minerals. Iron is important for the blood, calcium for bones and folic acids supplements for protecting against some birth defects of the spine and brain in infant. On an average pregnant woman require to increase 100 calories a day during first trimester and 300 calories/day during second and third trimester. This can easily be achieved by adding something extra. For example, an extra snack before bedtime consisting of any one fruit (apple), a serving of milk (200 ml) and a few biscuits (3-4 in numbers) will be sufficient.
A doctor undoubtedly prescribes health supplements such as folic acid pills, Vitamin pills, iron supplements (could be a syrup containing elemental iron), calcium tablets and other health tonic (containing zinc, magnesium, copper etc). As prenatal supplements you generally require 4000-5000 IU of Vitamin A, 400 IU of Vitamin D, 250-350 mg calcium, 800-1000 mcg folic acid, 15 mg of zinc, 30 mg of iron, 10 mg of Vitamin E and balanced Vitamin B complex. Fortunately, all are available as supplements that we have in the form of pills.
However, you can get extra protein from lean meat, low-fat dairy products, legumes; extra Vitamin B1 from peanuts, yeast extracts, sunflower seeds, whole grains; Vitamin B2 from some dairy products and yeast extracts; folate from sweet corn, asparagus, legumes, broccoli; extra Vitamin C from citrus fruit, kiwi, berries, capsicums; extra calcium from dairy, fish, leafy vegetables and soy products; and extra irons from dark-green leafy vegetables, read and other meats, legumes and whole grains. Fruit juices and vegetable juices are to be increased since they provide enough roughage that help preventing constipation, a common problem in pregnancy. You should also drink enough water that is a natural flusher and cleanser for the intestines.
Foods and drinks to be avoided include fish (such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tile fish) as they carry some levels of mercury. MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) is another thing to be avoided and hence, think twice having any Chinese food! You should also avoid smoking, caffeine and alcohol consumption since they affect pregnancy and development of the baby.