Maternal nutrition and lifestyle choices hugely influence the mother and child’s health during pregnancy
Nutritionally, the Mom is eating for two while the baby is totally dependent on Mom for enough vitamins and nutrients to have a good start in life.
As far as the amount of food to eat – it is far from two people.
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Keep in mind that it is not the quantity you eat during pregnancy that is important but the quality. You might be surprised to find out that you should only consume about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant (for the second trimester). Nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy can make it difficult to have a balanced diet.
Follow these recommendations to keep the mother and fetus healthy
– Eat and drink at least 4 servings of dairy products: calcium-rich foods a day to ensure enough calcium.
– Avoid feta, Brie, Camembert. These cheeses are often unpasteurized and may cause Listeria infection.
– Eat at least 3 servings of iron-rich foods: lean meats, spinach, beans and cereals.
– Foods rich in protein: lean meat and chicken, fish, eggs, beans and lentils. Consume at least two portions of fish a week
– Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or white snapper fish: high levels of mercury.
– Avoid raw fish, especially shellfish like oysters and clams.
Carbohydrates and Sugars
– Fruits and vegetables: fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced. Minimum five portions each day.
– Starchy food: Bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. Aim for whole grain options.
Vitamin and mineral supplements
– Iron to prevent anemia
– Folic acid to prevents neural tube defects in fetus
– Iodine helps fetal brain growth
– Calcium helps fetal and bone growth
Increased weight nourishes the unborn baby and helps Mom with an easier birth while supporting both during breastfeeding.
On average, women gain between 11 to 15kg by the end of their pregnancy. While much of this weight is increased fluid, enlarged organs, the growing baby and placenta, some of the extra weight will stay after the birth. It’s these pounds you want to consider when you enjoy “eating for two” how much to eat during pregnancy.
Most women report that they lose a bit of weight due to nausea and vomiting. This should not pose a problem for the growing fetus because at this point of development, the baby is about the size of a bean and requires few calories.
Healthy weight gain during the first trimester ranges from 3-5 pounds.
Overweight women will need to gain less weight throughout their pregnancy and underweight women should gain a bit more than the average person.
During the next three months, gaining 1-2 pounds per week is recommended for the mother; at about six months, the baby should weigh around 2 ½ pounds. The fetus still does not constitute a whole other person. Therefore just add 300 calories per day to the usual diet (a cup or cereal, milk and banana).
In terms of weight gain, the mother should be adding 1-2 pounds per week. The baby, on average, is about 7.5 pounds.
It is crucial to eat regularly to supply the fetus with nutrients: three meals and two to three healthy snacks in between. When faced with morning sickness, food aversions, heartburn or indigestion, eat less but more often. Eating five or six small meals a day might be easier on your body.
Wholegrain foods play a key role in keeping full while providing you with nutrients.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women of childbearing age should adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of birth defects, suboptimal fetal development and chronic health problems for the mother and baby. Always eat when hungry, but mostly nutritious foods to gain weight steadily as your baby grows.
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