Nutrition during pregnancy is an important issue that expectant mothers should focus on. During this period, you need to be more attentive to the healthy development of your baby and your health. By eating adequate and balanced nutrition and keeping your physical activity at an appropriate level, you will both contribute to the development of your baby and adapt to the changes brought by pregnancy.
FIRST 3 MONTHS
If you started your pregnancy overweight, there is no need to increase your calorie intake in the first trimester. However, diets that can cause weight loss should be avoided. Appropriate weight gain will affect your baby’s birth weight, so you should be sensitive about this.
SECOND 3 MONTHS
During this period, pregnant women should increase their daily energy intake in order to meet the increasing energy needs. Our body will store its energy and vitamin requirements for use during breastfeeding. Therefore, your nutrition during this period is very important for you to have a comfortable breastfeeding period.
THIRD 3 MONTHS
Your weight gain continues to increase. This is the period when your baby grows the fastest. It is very normal to encounter problems such as swelling in the feet and hands, frequent urination and constipation. It is possible to minimize these complaints with nutrition.
HOW SHOULD I GAIN WEIGHT IN PREGNANCY?
Proper weight gain during pregnancy is important because your baby’s birth weight depends on your weight gain throughout your pregnancy. Insufficient weight gain (under 6 kg) during pregnancy increases the chance of giving birth to a low birth weight baby. Women with normal weight gain generally have fewer problems than women with more or less weight gain. Weight gain is important for the pregnant woman to adapt to the changes in her body. In addition to the baby’s weight, increased blood volume, enlarged breasts, placenta and amniotic fluid contribute to the mother’s weight gain. Normal weight gain during pregnancy for healthy adult women is between 10-14 kg (1-1.5 kg per month).
ADEQUATE AND BALANCED NUTRITION IN PREGNANCY
ENERGY: After the first 3 months, 300 calories of extra energy should be taken daily for the development of a healthy baby. While you need 2000-2200 calories per day to maintain your pre-pregnancy weight, the amount of energy you need to take at the moment is approximately 2300-2500 calories, with an additional 300 calories during pregnancy. The biggest source of energy is carbohydrates, as they can be converted into energy quickly and efficiently. Bread, pasta, bulgur and fruits are rich sources of carbohydrates. Avoid consuming foods that provide calories but have low nutritional value.
PROTEIN: A developing baby’s body cells, changes in the mother’s body, and especially the placenta, need protein. The growth of the baby in the mother’s womb means an average of 950 g of protein accumulation. So when you’re pregnant, you need an extra 20 grams of protein per day (or 1.2 g/kg). While the recommended protein for non-pregnant women is 50-60 grams, it increases to 70-80 grams during pregnancy. If you consume 3-4 servings of protein, milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, chicken or fish a day, it means you are meeting your need.
Consume fish twice a week for your baby’s brain development.
IRON: In order to meet the increased iron requirement during pregnancy, 20 mg of iron should be taken in addition to the normal requirement. It is important to include iron-rich foods (such as red meat, poultry, legumes, dried fruits, molasses, whole grains and enriched grain products) in the nutrition program during pregnancy. However, it is very important to ensure absorption as well as iron intake. Therefore, taking foods containing vitamin C along with iron-containing foods will increase iron absorption. For example: molasses and orange juice and or molasses and kiwi can be eaten. Consuming salad with meals is also important for iron absorption. In addition, tea and coffee should not be drunk with meals, as it prevents iron absorption.
CALCIUM: Adequate intake of calcium, which forms the bone structure during pregnancy, helps the development of the skeletal structure of the baby and the preservation of the mother’s bone mass. Adequate consumption of calcium during pregnancy protects you from the risk of osteoporosis in the later period. The daily calcium requirement of pregnant women is 1000-1300 mg. Milk, yogurt, cheese, molasses, hazelnuts, legumes, green leafy vegetables are rich sources of calcium. A glass of milk provides you with 240 mg of calcium.
FOLIC ACID: Folic acid sources can be listed as dark green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, meat, milk, yogurt and its derivatives, eggs and cereals. Inadequate intake of folic acid can result in low birth weight infants, neural tube defects, and maternal megaloblastic anemia. During pregnancy, the need for folic acid increases significantly and the daily requirement almost doubles. It is recommended for expectant mothers to start using folic acid at least 1 month before conception.
WATER: Fluid intake is an issue that should not be neglected during pregnancy. It is part of the body’s transport system and ensures the transport of nutrients to its cells. It ensures that some wastes are removed from the body. Take care to drink 8-10 glasses of water daily for increased blood volume for you and your baby.
SOME DISEASES SEEN DURING PREGNANCY
Nausea: Nausea, which is mostly seen in the first trimester of pregnancy, is caused by hormonal changes, especially the increase in estrogen levels. There are several ways to reduce nausea in pregnancy;
Eat starchy foods like crackers or plain toast when you wake up in the morning
Get up slowly when getting out of bed
Eat little and often during the day
Avoid foods high in fat
Eat slowly while you eat, and you can eat roasted chickpeas to relax you between meals.
Stay away from spicy foods and food smells, foods that bother you
Constipation: Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause your bowel muscles to relax and your bowel movements to slow down. This can result in constipation. Iron supplements used can aggravate constipation.
Consume foods high in fiber. Increase your fiber amount by consuming at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits, whole wheat bread, whole grain products and legumes twice a week.
Increase your daily fluid consumption. You should drink at least 8-10 glasses of fluid a day.
Prunes, prune juice, and figs can prevent constipation due to their natural laxative effects.
Regular physical activity ensures that bowel functions are normal. Walking, swimming and light exercises are the best exercises to do during pregnancy.
Heartburn: Heartburn, which is mostly seen in the last three months of pregnancy, is caused by the pressure of the baby on the digestive organs.
Eat your meals sparingly and often.
Avoid very oily and spicy foods.
Caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee and cocoa should not be consumed as they can cause nausea and heartburn.
After meals, you can take a walk to suppress gastric secretion.
While sleeping, you should keep your head high and choose comfortable clothes.