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Nutrition During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman undergoes a host of physical and emotional changes. Every third person she meets gives her advice to improve her health. But, the advice of each and every person differs and hence it becomes difficult for a pregnant woman to decide on her nutrition. But, a healthy diet intake is necessary for a pregnant woman to improve her own health and also the health of her baby. So, she should come out of the nutritional myths and should follow a well-balanced diet.

Eating for two – a myth or fact?

Normally, people used to say that a pregnant woman has to take more diet as she consumes food for two. But, in reality she has to consume food for herself and only a very small amount for her baby. That is, approximately she needs to consume an additional 300 calories for each day. Changes in dietary needs in pregnancy is somewhat related to the body’s adjustment to pregnancy since the changes take place according to the fetal requirements.

On the other hand, if a pregnant woman’s calories intake is less, then the woman may not get enough vitamins, minerals and protein which nourishes her unborn child. A substance called ‘Ketones’ is formed in the urine and blood of a pregnant woman if there is low calorie intake. The amount of ketones in the blood and urine signals malnourishment and continual production of ketones may lead to the birth of a mentally retarded child.

Quantity of calories required during pregnancy

A pregnant woman needs to eat an additional 150 calories per day during the first trimester and an additional 350 calories per day in the two succeeding trimesters than she consumed before becoming pregnant. An overall weight gain of 25 to 30 pounds is generally recommended by doctors worldwide. But, the actual pattern of weight gain is more important than the total number of pounds increased. In the first trimester the weight gain should be low and after that must steadily increase with the mom-to-be gaining the maximum weight during the third trimester as the maximum growth of placenta and fetus takes place during this period.

How to choose a healthy diet to meet the extra requirement?

A pregnant woman should follow a daily food guide pyramid to consume the right amount of food. A Pregnant woman should take a little more than half of food of what she eats in the form of carbohydrates. Whole grain bread, tortillas, brown rice, pasta and potatoes are some excellent sources of carbohydrates. Fat consumed helps a mom-to-be to absorb more vitamins. But, she should avoid fried foods and sweets and should eat fish-oil, vegetable fats, and poultry, diary products to meet her daily requirements. A pregnant woman should have a lot of fibre to avoid constipation. About 3 to 4 servings of fruit and vegetables a day will meet her fibre requirements.

During pregnancy, a high protein diet is not advisable as grains, vegetables and fruits should be consumed more than milk and meat products. So, one can consume an egg and a little dried beans, peas, tofu, legumes etc. to get the required amount of protein. Extra calories taken during pregnancy ought to be uniformly distributed amongst the different groups of the food pyramid.

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Disclaimer - The data contained in the is provided for the information purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice and shall not create a physician - patient relationship. We are not responsible for any consequence resulted from using the information from this web site. Please always consult your physician for medical advices and treatment.