Nutrition Plan: Meal Planning During Your Pregnancy is Important

As part of the nutrition plan, nutritional intake is of primary importance during pregnancy.

Only eat what you are sure satisfies your nutritional needs.

To enjoy a healthy pregnancy, you must design and adhere to a well-managed nutrition plan.

Nutritional Intake Principle

nutrition plan

During pregnancy, it is very important to know what to eat and how much to eat. When preparing your nutrition plan menu, you should be wary.

Keep in mind that a balance must be met between preventing weight gain and providing nutrition for the mother and child.

Sufficient Portion, Low-Calorie

Avoid unnecessary weight gain. The important thing is for your body to receive large amounts of the necessary nutrients. So eat nutritious food.

During the first half of pregnancy, the daily calorie intake should be 150 calories. This should increase to 350 calories in the second half of pregnancy. Unfortunately, you cannot eat what your heart desires.

Your portion size should stay the same throughout the first stages of pregnancy. The portions can only be increased when you are at your 20th week. It is sufficient to increase by only two glasses of milk and one bowl of white rice per day.

Nutrition Plan: Avoid Fatty Foods

Deep fried foods, deserts and pork belly must be avoided. Bread, ice cream and fruit can be eaten on a limited basis.

To satisfy your appetite when hungry, potatoes can be a low calorie substitute. You can also try yam and sweet corn. The calories in fruit are surprisingly high. Eat in small volumes.

Cucumber, water chestnuts and mushrooms are overflowing with vitamins. Eat them in plenty. If you gain excess weight, taking a daily 4km stroll would be beneficial.

Appropriate Meat Intake

This assists the pregnant woman and child’s development. It also gives histidine and methionine. Those are essential amino acids. Iron, zinc, calcium and minerals are also very important.

Vitamin B12 is only contained in meat. It has a significant role in assisting the nerve development and preventing anemia in the developing child. A vegetarian diet is very hard to satisfy. It is because this has a very important dietary requirement.

Sufficient but not Excessive Protein

Pregnant women require 75 grams of protein per day, which is 30% more than an average woman. The reason for this high requirement is as follows:

  • protein influences the fetus’ brain cell development
  • mother’s secretion of milk
  • toxemia condition

In terms of food, it equates to the following:

  • 80g of meat
  • 50g of fish
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 pieces of tofu combined

If protein is taken in excess, it can lead to a higher rate of premature birth and stillbirth. Therefore, it is important not to exceed the recommended amount by more than 25%.

Folic Acid before Pregnancy

Folic acid is a type of vitamin B. It is contained in green and yellow vegetables, Chinese cabbage, and beans. It is also found in sardines, eggs, orange juice, liver, green beans and brown rice.

Folic acid is an essential ingredient for brain development in the fetus. If insufficient folic acid is taken in the diet, it can lead to deficient nerve development. Other effects are Down syndrome, premature birth and underweight babies. It is well known that a lack of folic acid can lead to repeated miscarriages and high blood cystine.

According to the American center for disease control, folic acid reduces the risk of defective neural development and deformities by 79-84%. Additionally, sufficient intake of folic acid reduces the risk of child leukemia by 20-25%. That is according to other research.

Because of this research from 1998, America made a mandatory requirement. It is for an additional 140ug of folic acid to be added to every 100g of flour, rice, spaghetti and corn flour.

Full Intake of Vitamins and Minerals

Supplemental vitamins are not required if, during pregnancy, weight gain is steady and stable. The cases where they need to be supplemented are  the following:

  • ​when pregnant with twins
  • women who have had multiple pregnancies
  • ​smokers
  • vegetarians
  • eating of non-nutritional or unhealthy foods
  • suffering from morning sickness
  • teenage pregnancies
  • underweight pregnancy or overweight pregnancy

These are all groups who are at risk from nutritional deficit.

If Vitamin A is taken in high levels, it may lead to birth defects. Foods with high levels of Vitamin A are liver, fish liver oil, whole milk, eggs etc. Vitamin A is included in medical treatments for acne and cosmetics. Thus, these are best to avoid during pregnancy.

As B-Carotene in our bodies can transform and eliminate Vitamin A, we can freely eat foods containing this chemical. Foods include carrots, spinach, green and yellow vegetables, and seaweed.

Restrict Alcohol, Cigarettes, Coffee and other Addictive Foods

nutrition plan

During pregnancy, cigarettes, alcohol, and coffee are strictly forbidden. Coffee is less directly related to dangerous conditions but still needs to be restricted. Please be aware that coffee beans have 1.8 times more caffeine than instant coffee. Green tea, cola, chocolate, cocoa etc. all contain caffeine. Please consume with caution.

Alcohol, it is very clear, can cause deformities due to alcohol poisoning syndrome. However, the safe limit of consumption is not clear.

We all know that before pregnancy is realized and the mood is right, alcohol may well be consumed. In this situation, it is not too harmful. Judging by standard types of alcohol, most alcoholic drinks contain 10 grams of alcohol per glass. Drinking over 14 glasses per week will lead to increased risk of pregnancy complications and there are many reports confirming this.

Binge drinking will also be very hazardous, especially during the beginning stages of pregnancy. Thus, no alcohol intake is the best choice! Although there are no reports connecting smoking with birth defects, it can lead to ectopic pregnancy. Other effects include placental abruption, placenta previa and premature rupture of membranes.

No Basis for Traditional Taboo

Tradition tells us that certain taboo foods must not be eaten. This includes octopus, goose, rabbit and duck eggs. However, none of these have any scientific basis to support this belief.

Based on American research, sardines have a potential risk of mercury contamination. Although eating a can per day should pose no problem, but there is still a possibility. So, it is best to substitute with another type of fish. As the final consumer of all food products are humans, it would lead to high blood pressure and gestosis. That is if mercury contaminated food is consumed.

Correct Method to Choose Food

For the good of the unborn child, it is best to choose unpolluted, organic foods, meat and vegetables.

Vegetables

Make every effort to eat organic vegetables. You must find out where to buy ‘no pesticides’ foods. You can also find ‘reduced pesticides’ and ‘Non GMO’ ones. Choosing the most naturally cultivated foods is best for the body.

Especially, make effort to select pollutant free food. Don’t eat anything with pesticide or has been polluted by any means. This is the best for the unborn child. Carrots, chili peppers etc. and green and yellow vegetables, fried with a little oil, will be an excellent source of nutrition. They are that packed with vitamin A.

Little Box of Common Knowledge

All about Iron

Lacking iron will lead to anemia, premature birth and underweight babies. Iron cannot be supplemented by the food. If the red blood cell count is found to be low, the doctor may suggest taking iron tablets.

For iron medicine, it is not necessarily the case that the most expensive is the best. Mixing iron, vitamin and mineral supplements is most convenient. However, calcium and magnesium will restrict the iron intake. So, it is best to take separately.

Gastrointestinal medicine will relieve stomach ache. However, these powders will restrict the body’s absorbance of iron. Thus, it is best to separate the intake of iron tablets with these medicines.

Typically speaking, during pregnancy, 30 mg of iron is required daily. If anemic or having twins, this needs to be increased to 60-100mg.

Selecting which brand to buy is difficult. It is best to write down the ingredients and quantity and discuss with your doctor. Iron tablets can be taken before meals and before bed. But, it is best absorbed by the body on an empty stomach. Iron intake will be at best when accompanied by a full intake of other vitamins.

If suffering from stomach ache or indigestion after taking iron tablets, eating before meals will prevent this. You can also do it before bed. Any iron not absorbed by the body will be passed in the feces. As it is passed from the body and touches the air, it will be oxidized and turn black. This is not an abnormal condition.

When it comes to creating a nutrition plan, make sure to consult your doctor since every pregnancy is different.

Sandra Henderson
 

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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