In his time Hippocrates said that our nutrients should be a remedy and our remedies should be nutrients.
Many centuries have passed but the concept about the importance of good nutrition for health hasn’t lost its relevance. And even if a woman doesn’t particularly watch her diet in ordinary life, she should think about it during pregnancy as what she eats is consumed by her child in its own way.
The main purposes of nutrition during pregnancy:
The risk of a negative impact on a fetus is high during the first trimester that is why it would be better to abandon all procedures, where dangerous substances are used, any interventions, which influence on the pregnancy and fetus is understudied, are prohibited too.
Today none of the experts recommend that a pregnant woman eat for two. It is known that in the first trimester of pregnancy energy requirements don’t change much, in the second half of pregnancy calorie intake can be increased by 300-450 kcal / day. But since the majority of the population of our country consumes daily significantly more calories than recommended by dietitians, many doctors do not advise pregnant women to increase the amount of food at all. Excess of calories is more harmful than a small deficit.
There should be enough proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the diet. Protein is the most important. It’s the building material necessary for fetal growth. Fats and carbohydrates can be formed from proteins if necessary but protein is irreplaceable. Therefore, vegetarianism is not recommended during pregnancy in traditional medicine, one needs to include at least dairy products and eggs into the diet. But most of us eat fats and carbohydrates in abundance anyway. Therefore, obstetrician-gynecologists often face such pathology as diabetes mellitus of pregnant women (gestational diabetes mellitus). If a woman is at risk she’s recommended to follow diet No. 9 developed for people with diabetes, which consists in almost completely eliminating easily digestible carbohydrates and restricting fats.
Since food products in Russia are not always of the highest quality, it can be difficult to make up for the deficit of vitamins with food alone. That’s why prescribing pregnant women with multivitamin supplements was considered mandatory just a few years ago. Nowadays vitamin pills are not prescribed to everyone - everything depends on individual needs. The only “must-takes” are folic acid in the 1st trimester (at a dose of 400 mcg / day) and iodine products throughout the entire pregnancy (200-250 mcg / day). Whether it’s necessary to take any extra vitamins, how long one should do it and what supplements to choose - discuss it with your physician.
There are no prohibitions on the consumption of any particular products. The exception is alcohol, it must be forgotten for the entire period of pregnancy and lactation. Also, one shouldn’t have foods and drinks containing artificial sweeteners, their effect on the fetus hasn’t been studied, that’s why they are considered potentially dangerous. Refuse sweet fizzy drinks. They don’t contain anything healthy at all, but there’s a lot of sugar and various color additives, preservatives, etc. in them. Other than that one should follow usual principles of healthy nutrition: more fresh and natural products, less smoked and canned foods, moderate restriction of sweets and pastries. It’s better to eat boiled and steamed food and not eat too much fried food.
A woman’s general physical and mental state during pregnancy also affects the way she eats. In the first trimester women often suffer from morning sickness, nausea and vomiting. Split meals (small portions, but often) are recommended in this case. Nausea gets worse on an empty stomach so there shouldn’t be large gaps between meals. It’s recommended to keep sugarless cookies or dried fruits close by even at night, and if you wake up you can chew something. If you notice that nausea gets worse from some products you don’t have to force yourself into eating them even if your relatives claim that it is an extremely good product and you just can’t do without it. You have a problem if you don’t want to eat anything at all. Then you do have to make an effort and eat a tiny bit of something every hour. Many women resort to baby foods, especially fruit purees (including with the addition of cottage cheese or cream) and canned meat. Baby food is good because it’s quickly and easily digested, doesn’t contain sugar, salt and harmful preservatives.
Nausea is gone in the second half of pregnancy but there may be another problem - heartburn. In this case one should also eat small portions, if you overeat the heartburn will get stronger. And try to exclude sour fruits, juices and berries, fresh bread and rolls and eat more dairy products (non-sour cottage-cheese, cheese and milk).
During pregnancy the body becomes not only more sensitive, but also more sensible. If you notice that after a certain product you feel worse, don’t eat it even if it’s very tasty and, possibly, healthy. If you were allergic to some products, don’t have them hoping that this time nothing will happen. During pregnancy when taking care of your child and adjusting your diet you get a chance to acquire healthy eating habits that will stay with you in later life and help you avoid getting overweight and having health problems.