In the first trimester, a woman will gain 2 to 5 pounds and about 1 pound for every succeeding week up to the third trimester. A healthy diet is very important because this will ensure that the woman is getting the appropriate weight gain during the time of pregnancy and it will also result to successful birth to healthy babies.
There will be times when a mother will experience bouts of nausea or loss of appetite making regular full meals hard to take. When this happens, small but frequent meals or snacking with healthy foods is recommended to make sure that both the mother and the baby is still getting the required amount nutrients for the day.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends a prescribed level of proper vitamins and minerals for pregnant women to make sure that the unborn child is getting the proper amount of nutrients to develop their organs, bones and cells and to get a good start at living a long and healthy life.
A well-balanced diet is the key in getting all the “good stuff” into the body. Listed below are the most vital nutrients with its food sources; and the foods that a woman should and should not eat during the course of pregnancy.
Vitamin C: is an antioxidant that fights free radicals from damaging cells in the body; it aids in the absorption of iron; and also boosts immunity. Sources: citrus fruits, red and green bell pepper, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and papaya.
Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): is a water-soluble vitamin and naturally occurring in foods which helps support the placenta. It is also responsible in preventing various birth defects such as mental retardation, cleft palate and spinal bifida. Sources: dark leafy greens like spinach or kale, broccoli, citrus fruits, fruit juices, beets, dried beans, peas, nuts.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1): this water-soluble vitamin raises energy level and helps regulate the nervous system. Sources: Whole grain, fortified cereals, pork, wheat germ, organ meats, eggs, berries, rice, pasta, nuts, legumes.
Calcium: it helps in the baby’s bone development; prevent blood clots and helps in lowering the mother’s blood pressure; It also aids in muscle and nerves function. Sources: milk, cheese, yogurt, dark leafy greens, sardines with bones, calcium-fortified drinks like soy milk and fruit juices.
Iron: is a mineral which helps in the production of hemoglobin, prevents anemia, low birth weight, and premature delivery. It provides needed energy and strength; and it also promotes heart health. Sources: spinach, pork, beef, dried fruits, wheat germ, iron-fortified cereals or grains.
Zinc: helps in the production of insulin and enzymes. It also aids in the rapid cell growth during pregnancy and helps strengthen the immune system. Sources: beef, pork, chicken, whole grains, beans, nuts, milk, cheese, yogurt, spinach, tofu.
If you are expecting a child, “pregnancy” is the best time to analyze your nutrition. Making smart choices would have a great impact on your health as well as to the growing child inside your tummy. A steady and appropriate weight gain can be achieved through proper nutrition. Most mothers would often double their food intake when they are pregnant because they think that they are “eating for two”, which should not be the case because it might lead to undesirable weight gain. Instead follow the recommended amounts to be able to meet all the nutrients that your body and the baby needs.