Monday, September 19, 2011

Mother-To-Be!



Having babies is every woman’s dream!
Dealing with the pregnancy is every woman’s nightmare!

Pregnancy comes with panic. A lot of questions are asked “Am I gaining too much weight?”, “Am I eating a lot?”, “Am I not eating enough?”, “How will I lose all those kilos?”, etc. In this article, I have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about pregnancy. Here they are…




How much calories should I eat?

There’s a tendency in women to think that when you’re pregnant, you have to eat for 2 people. This is absolutely wrong! You have to increase your calorie intake; however, you should NOT double it! And here’s the first reason why women gain weight excessively. Believe it or not: you don’t need any additional calories during the first trimester. It is only during the second that you increase your intake of 340 calories. Then, during the third, you add an additional 110 calories. Those demands should be met by nutrient dense foods. Choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Go for low fat milk and dairy products, fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes.

Are there nutrients of special interest?

Special attention should be given to Vitamins B9, B12, D, calcium, iron and zinc.

Even before getting pregnant, women should obtain 400 micrograms of vitamin B9 or folate daily, either from supplements or fortified foods (fortified cereals) IN ADDITION to eating folate-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, asparagus, etc. In fact, this vitamin plays an important role in preventing neural tube defects in babies which may lead to paralysis.

Pregnant women also need a greater amount of vitamin B12 to assist folate in the manufacture of new cells. Women who exclude animal foods from their diet should obtain Vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified foods.

Calcium and vitamin D: They are involved in building the skeleton. Any deficiency may produce abnormal fetal bone development. Regular exposure to sunlight and consumption of vitamin D fortified milk should be sufficient to provide the recommended amount of vitamin D during pregnancy.
If calcium intake is adequate, no supplementation is needed. In fact, during early pregnancy, calcium absorption doubles and the mineral is stored in the mother’s bones. It is then used in the third trimester. So have 3 servings of calcium rich foods everyday and you’ll be sure to cover your needs.

Iron intake should be increased for several reasons:
-          Increased blood volume to provide for placental and fetal needs.
-          Inevitable blood losses at birth especially if the delivery is a C-section.
Consume adequate amounts of meat and legumes. Add lemon juice to legumes in order to enhance iron absorption. If you must have tea and coffee, try to keep them away from meals so that they don’t interfere with iron absorption. Ask your doctor if a supplementation is needed.

Zinc is vital for protein synthesis and cell development during pregnancy. It is abundant in meat, nuts and shellfish. Zinc supplementation is not usually advised.

How much weight am I supposed to gain?

The ideal weight gain pattern for a woman who started pregnancy at a healthy weight is around 1.5 kilos during the first trimester and 0.5 kilos/week thereafter.



Recommended weight gain
Prepregnancy weight
For single birth
For twin birth
Underweight (BMI<18.5)
12.5 to 18 kg
Insufficient data to make recommendations
Healthy weight (18.5<BMI<24.9)
11.5 to 16 kg
17 to 25 kg
Overweight (25<BMI<29.9)
7 to 11.5 kg
14 to 23 kg
Obese (BMI>30)
5 to 9 kg
11 to 19 kg

No dieting is recommended during pregnancy! You can avoid excessive weight gain but you should not engage in a weight loss program.

How can I remove the weight gained?

Normal women get rid of most of the weight gain:
- During delivery
- In the following weeks when blood volume returns to normal and accumulated fluids are eliminated
- Breastfeeding: believe it or not, breastfeeding helps remove the weight gained during pregnancy.
There is no doubt that some women keep a few kilos from pregnancy and might not return to their pre-pregnancy weight. However, with the right diet and physical activity, anything can be achieved.

Should I exercise during pregnancy?


If you’re already physically active, you can and should continue exercising throughout pregnancy, adjusting intensity and duration as the pregnancy progresses. Staying active during the course of a normal and healthy pregnancy improves the fitness of a mother-to-be, facilitates labor and reduces psychological stress. Of course, you should avoid activities that might induce falling or hurting yourself.


Why do we crave certain foods?

Food cravings and aversions that arise during pregnancy are probably due to hormone-induced changes in taste and sensitivities to smells, and they quickly disappear after birth. They have nothing to do with a need in certain nutrients.

What are the things I should avoid?

- Smoking: it can have many consequences on fetal development and may lead to fetal death
- Drugs
- Alcohol: it limits oxygen delivery to the fetus, slows cell division and reduces the number of cells organs produce.
- Artificial sweeteners: their effect during pregnancy is still being studied, that’s why it is best to avoid them.
- Large fish: the larger the fish, the more it contains mercury which can harm the developing fetal brain and nervous system. Avoid eating shark, king mackerel and swordfish. Limit average weekly consumption to 12 ounces of seafood or 6 ounces of tuna.
- Raw meat and fish: sushi and rare or undercooked meat should be avoided as they may contain bacteria that can only be eliminated by submitting food to a high temperature.
- Raw eggs: it should be avoided as it can be contaminated with Salmonella. Avoid Caesar dressing and mayonnaise.
- Unpasteurized milk: It may contain a bacteria called listeria that induces a miscarriage. Make sure the milk you’re drinking is pasteurized.
- Unwashed vegetables: vegetables are very important in your diet. However, you should wash them very well to avoid exposure to toxoplasmosis.

It may seem hard to follow all those instructions and care for every detail. But believe me, it’s not. I’ve never tried pregnancy (:P) but I’ve heard it’s quite amazing! If you have any more questions regarding the matter, don’t hesitate to ask!

11 comments:

broomall cosmetic dentist said...

It's important to have enough calcium in your body. This is especially true when you're expecting.

Powercom RF2 said...

I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case, great info…I will bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!=

Anonymous said...

I found lots of interesting information here. The post was professionally written and I feel like the author has extensive knowledge in this subject.Thanks.
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