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What to Eat During a Health Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman undergoes numerous hormonal changes that, together with different nutritional needs, make food very important during this stage of life. Each phase of pregnancy (and even prior to pregnancy) requires specific nutritional needs, both energy and micronutrients, for both the mother and the future baby. It is a great moment to put special emphasis on food.

Another important thing is weight control throughout pregnancy, where an increase in the correct weight should be between 10 and 12 kg.

Plan pregnancy

The weight of the mother is an important factor to consider before conceiving. If you are overweight, it is best to make a diet to lose weight before becoming pregnant. The woman should start her pregnancy with a correct weight and being well nourished. It is advisable to perform a gynecological review and explain to the doctor the intentions we have.

In terms of diet, the ideal is to have a varied and balanced diet. The only thing to take into account previously is folic acid or vitamin B9. With the current society’s diet it is common to make a deficit of this vitamin, for this reason it is always advisable to take it as a food supplement months before becoming pregnant. The daily needs for folic acid are 200 μg and during pregnancy they increase to a total of 400 μg per day. A deficiency of vitamin B9 in the first weeks of pregnancy can cause malformations in the fetus, such as spina bifida.

Food during the first trimester of pregnancy

The moment a woman becomes pregnant one of the important changes is the slowing down of digestion. The objective of this is that the food remains longer in the intestine and, consequently, the absorption of nutrients is greater.

The weight gain during the first three months should be between 0.5 kg. and 1.5 kg. of weight. This weight gain is very small since the fetus only reaches about 16 cm in size.

Nutrients to consider during the first stage of pregnancy:

Proteins, fats and carbohydrates: Its presence is very important, although the recommended amounts are not different from those of a balanced diet. This means that there must be a source of protein in each meal (meat, fish, legumes, cheese, tofu, seitan or eggs), that complex carbohydrates (pasta, bread, rice, potato) must be present daily and that there is to watch with fats (consume preferably olive oil, nuts and blue fish).

Minerals: The diet must meet the requirements of iron, iodine and calcium, although the amounts of these and other minerals must not be greater until the 4th month of pregnancy.

Vitamins: From the beginning of pregnancy it is important to increase the consumption of vitamin C, A, D, E and vitamins of group B. You can cover this contribution with the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, raw olive oil and dairy products. Many times it is recommended to take some kind of natural supplement to ensure the necessary vitamin intake.

Fiber: The daily consumption of fiber is necessary to have a healthy bowel and avoid constipation. The fiber is provided by fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. A pregnant woman should not consume more than 30 g. of fiber a day since it can decrease the intestinal absorption of important nutrients.

Diet during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy

From the fourth month of pregnancy begins to increase the energy and caloric requirement of the future mother. The recommended weight to gain during the second trimester of pregnancy is 3.5 to 4 kg, and during the last trimester of pregnancy it is 5 to 5.5 kg of weight.

Recommendations that must be taken into account:

– Increase the amount of foods that provide complex carbohydrates, for example, eating more bread.

– Increase the amount of daily protein, for example, by eating larger pieces of meat or fish.

– Reduce saturated fats and increase healthy fats by consuming olive oil, nuts and blue fish or drinking a glass of milk.

– Increase calcium intake: From the 4th month of pregnancy and until the baby is born, the amount of calcium that is consumed must be greater. The best way to do this is by taking more dairy products or milk substitutes fortified with calcium (soy, rice, oatmeal, etc.).

– Increase iron in the diet: It is very common for anemia to appear in late stages of pregnancy caused by the increase in the size of the fetus. For this reason the consumption of iron is very important. The main foods that contain it are red meats, mussels, eggs, fish and legumes. Although iron-rich foods are consumed, it is usually not enough to fight anemia and it is best to take food supplements. To combat iron-deficiency anemia it is also necessary to ingest sufficient amount of vitamin B12 (present in meat, fish, eggs and dairy) and folic acid (present in asparagus, spinach, peas, cabbage, nuts , the egg and the meat). Taking daily foods rich in vitamin C will also help a better assimilation of the iron in the diet.

We hope that the information that has been given can be useful for your healthy pregnancy.