How should the nutrition of pregnant women be during the coronavirus period and in the winter months?

The coronavirus, which started in China and spread all over the world, unfortunately still continues to spread. In people infected with coronavirus, it creates a picture in the form of respiratory problems such as loss of taste and smell, muscle aches, headache, high fever, cough and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, these tables can lead to loss of life. In general, it has been observed that the coronavirus is milder in young, healthy and immune-compromised people, while it has been observed that it causes more severe pictures in the elderly and people with chronic diseases. These effects of the coronavirus and the ongoing spread process worry pregnant mothers. There is no data on whether pregnant women are in the high risk group or the virus is directly transmitted to the baby, but immunity decreases as a result of hormonal effects that change in the body during pregnancy. A healthy diet, which is very important at every moment of pregnancy, is even more important to keep immunity strong during this coronovirus process.

Another period when it is important to keep immunity strong during pregnancy is the winter months. Due to the cold weather conditions in the winter months, it invites diseases such as flu and colds. In addition, immunity is weakened due to the inability to benefit from the sun’s rays sufficiently. Already, due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, the immunity of expectant mothers was weakened. A healthy diet is essential to prevent the mother and baby from being affected by these negative effects. In addition to these difficulties, winter months, orange, pomegranate, tangerine, broccoli, cauliflower, leek and so on. It is also the season for fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, and for fish, which is important in terms of Omega 3. Including them in the daily diet contributes to the strengthening of the immune system.

We said that pregnant women should keep their immunity strong during the coronovirus process and winter months. So how is this achieved? Adequate and balanced (healthy) nutrition is very important to keep the immune system strong. Consumption of adequate amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-protein foods (fish, chicken, red meat, legumes, eggs,…) and milk and dairy products (yogurt, ayran, kefir, cheese, …) on a daily basis, use of olive oil and adequate Consumption of water is the golden rule of healthy nutrition. In addition to adequate and balanced nutrition, adequate sleep (when the body repairs itself the most is sleep.), regular exercise, avoiding stress factors that negatively affect immunity and harmful habits such as smoking and alcohol are the main factors that will strengthen immunity.

During the coronavirus period and in the winter months, the nutrition of pregnant women should be as follows:

  • All macro (carbohydrate, protein, fat) and micro (vitamins and minerals) nutrients needed by the mother and baby must be taken in sufficient amounts. For this reason, food diversity should be given importance.

  • A lot of water is not consumed.

  • Adequate protein should be taken every day. Edema is also seen during pregnancy due to insufficient intake of protein.

  • Vegetable and fruit consumption should be prioritized to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals and to support immunity.

  • Vitamin C-rich green pepper, capia pepper, kiwi, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, spinach; Olive oil rich in vitamin E, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts; Consuming foods such as carrots, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, leeks, pumpkin, and oats containing beta carotene, a derivative of vitamin A, strengthens the immune system.

  • Zinc mineral, which is abundant in meat, liver, seafood, milk, eggs, pumpkin seeds, also improves the immune system.

  • Oily fish rich in Omega 3 (such as salmon), which supports immunity by increasing the beneficial bacteria in the intestine, should be consumed 1-2 times a week.

  • Probiotic foods also increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Examples of probiotics include kefir, yogurt, and pickles. Kefir and yogurt also help to meet the increased need for calcium during pregnancy. Since pickles contain too much salt, it will increase the problem of edema during pregnancy, so it is beneficial to consume it carefully.

  • Bone broth repairs and strengthens the intestines and supports the immune system.

  • Leeks and spinach, which are winter vegetables, are examples of prebiotic foods. The compounds in its content are a source of energy for beneficial bacteria in the gut. This increases beneficial bacteria. This, in turn, improves gut health and the immune system.

  • The antioxidants, amino acids and healthy fats in avocado strengthen immunity and are a very useful food that pregnant women can choose.

  • Being a natural antibiotic, antioxidant and prebiotic, garlic strengthens the immune system. Pregnant women can consume 1 tooth per day.

  • Ginger, which is good for nausea and vomiting complaints during pregnancy, also strengthens immunity. (Excessive consumption may cause miscarriage in pregnancy. 1 gram of ginger per day is considered safe. Daily drinking ginger tea should not exceed 2 cups. Consult your doctor before use.)

  • Vitamin D is one of the vitamins that strengthen the immune system. Sunlight is the best source. Its dietary sources are eggs, milk and oily fish.

  • Foods that weaken the immune system, such as excessive fatty/sugar foods, acidic beverages, processed products, products made from white flour, should not be consumed or should be consumed as little as possible.

Do Pregnant Women Need to Use Supplements During the Coronavirus Period and Winter?

During pregnancy, the need for nutrients increases as the needs of the baby are added. This increasing need can be met with a properly planned, adequate and balanced diet. Some pregnant women cannot meet their increased needs for vitamins and minerals such as iron, folic acid, and B12. In addition, vegetarian pregnant women or those who are pregnant with twins or triplets may not be able to meet these needs. With the approval of the doctor, these pregnant women may need to use supplements.

Pregnant women can use supplements that strengthen the immune system, with the approval of a doctor, if needed during the winter months and during the coronavirus process we are in. Supplements containing zinc, selenium, Omega 3, C and D vitamins, which strengthen the immune system, can protect pregnant women from winter diseases and coronavirus by making them resistant to infections. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency, which plays a critical role in the immune system, has a higher risk of catching coronavirus and therefore death, and that people with insufficient vitamin D survive the disease more severely. Vitamin D supplementation may be required, especially in the winter months when the sun cannot be benefited sufficiently and during this pandemic process, which requires staying at home due to coronavirus. However, we should definitely not use self-reinforcement. Before the supplement can be used, a blood test should be done first. If there is a vitamin or mineral deficiency, the product approved by the doctor should be used up to the dose approved by the doctor. Because excessive intake of vitamins and minerals can have a toxic effect. It can also interact with some drugs to increase or decrease their effect. This may also have negative consequences.

Supplements should not be used without a doctor’s approval. This becomes even more important as the supplements used by the mother during pregnancy, which is a special period, will also affect the baby. Dear expectant mothers, consult your doctor before using supplements for your own and your baby’s health. Your doctor will tell you the best for both your health. Stay healthy…

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