Pregnant women have many questions about foods and drinks during pregnancy; “Should I eat for two?”, “What foods should I avoid?”, “Can I drink coffee?” and many more. Here, we will help you understand the basic diet rules during pregnancy.
The calorie intake question: Should I eat for two?
There is this old idea that a pregnant woman should double her food intake to meet the needs of her body and her baby. But that’s not accurate. In general, women don’t need to increase their calorie intake during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, during the second trimester, calorie intake should be increased by about 340 kcal, and by about 450 kcal in the third trimester.
However, you should keep in mind that not all calories are the same! pregnant women should consume healthy calories, not empty calories. Empty calories are those you get from sweets and fast food, such meals are poor in nutrients, so they fill your stomach but keep you lacking essential vitamins and minerals, which may affect the growth and development of your baby. Instead, get your calories from a variety of healthy foods, like beans, greens, meat, grains, fruits, etc.
Macro-nutrients Vs Micro-nutrients
Macronutrients make up the bulk of your diet, they include proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
- Proteins build up the baby’s tissues and organs. A pregnant woman’s recommended daily protein intake is about 0.88 gr/kg/day. For instance, a pregnant woman who weighs 60 kg will need about 53 gr of protein per day. The best sources of protein for a pregnant woman include Beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, peas, and lentils.
- Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for both the mother and the growing baby. These comprise about a third up to half of your food intake during pregnancy. Try to avoid bad sources of carbohydrates like fast food. Try to get carbohydrates from whole grains, potatoes, oats, brown rice, corn, cereals, and fruits.
- Fats are essential for body functions. But beware of unhealthy fats like in fast food. Healthy sources of fats include vegetable oils (Olives, Coconut, Sun Flower), nuts, seeds, and fish.
Micro-nutrients on the other hand are needed in small amounts but they’re critical for healthy growth and functioning. Micronutrients include minerals and vitamins.
The best strategy to get the needed vitamins and minerals is to eat a variety of healthy foods during the day, like vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, milk, etc.
Water and other drinks during pregnancy
Fluids are important for healthy blood circulation, gut health, regulating temperature, and many more functions. During pregnancy, you need to get enough fluids, including water. You also should:
- Limit caffeine intake to about 200 mg per day (about one regular cup of coffee)
- Avoid alcohol completely
- Avoid unpasteurized milk
- Avoid unpasteurized juices
- Avoid beverages with artificial sweeteners
- Avoid energy drinks
Do I need supplements during pregnancy?
Even with healthy eating habits, you may still need dietary supplements during pregnancy. As a rule, all women who are planning to have a baby should start taking a folic acid supplement at least three months before becoming pregnant and continue to do so throughout pregnancy. Folic acid supplements decrease the risk of developmental problems in the nervous system of the baby.
The need for calcium, vitamin D, and iron also increases during pregnancy. Calcium and vitamin D are vital for bone health and growth in the baby, while iron is important for forming new blood cells in the mother and fetus. Supplements may be critical if you are vegetarian or have a chronic health condition. Consult your doctor to see what dietary supplementation is right for you.
Tips for food safety
Harmful bacteria and parasites can cause problems for the growing fetus. That’s why it’s extremely important to avoid any possible source of infection during pregnancy. The general principles of food safety are:
- Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly to avoid bacteria and parasites.
- Wash your hands after preparing raw foods (meat, fish, and raw vegetables) to avoid food poisoning.
- Store raw foods separately from ready-to-eat foods to avoid contamination.
- Cook eggs, poultry, beef, and lamb thoroughly until steaming.
- Avoid undercooked fish, meat, and eggs.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk and milk products.
- Avoid foods that may have been stored for long periods.
- Ensure clean utensils when preparing food.
DID YOU KNOW?
The few days after childbirth can be overwhelming! You will need to take care of your little one while recovering from birth. Two great tips can help you a lot during this period:
- Don’t overthink the process, but rather try to take it one day at a time.
- Use the sanitary pads from PECTIV to control the heavy flow smoothly and safely!
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