"Eating For TWO"
Around the first trimester because of the changes that happen many woman may experience lower blood pressure or anemia (reduced red blood cell count).
Symptoms might include nausea, low energy levels and could even lead to a low appetite, but reluctantly these symptoms pass once women enter the second trimester.
If you’re dealing with nausea, especially morning sickness try eating before getting out of bed, prepare something the night before, like fruit – the sugars in the fruit will help to energize you first thing in the morning and it’s also a healthy option for you and your baby. Nausea can also be caused by a prenatal vitamin. Try taking your vitamins towards the end of the day instead of in the morning, to see if it reduces your chances of getting morning sickness.
Now what about the second and third trimester when the cravings start kicking in?
How much should women eat during pregnancy to make sure adequate calories and nutrition is met?
There’s no need to double up on portion sizes, pregnant women only need about an extra 300 calories per day. That’s about one additional snack per day.
Below are some examples of healthy snacks that add up to 300 calories:
- Smoothie: 1 cup skim milk, 1 banana and 1 tbsp. of almond butter
- A serving of smoked salmon, with 1oz of avocado and 1 tbsp. of light cream cheese
- 1/2 a multigrain bagel with 1 tbsp. of butter
- 1/2 a cup of Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup granola and 1/2 a grapefruit
- 1 corn tortilla with 2 eggs, 1 cup of cooked spinach, and 1 oz. light cheese
- 1 apple and 2 tbsp of peanut butter
Eating whole foods is the best way to avoid unhealthy weight gain, whole foods contain more fiber, nutrients and protein, which will give pregnant women more energy, satiate them in between meals (sugar cravings may lower) and also nourishes their growing healthy baby. The first two years of life are so important for the prevention of adulthood diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases.
Women should consider being at a healthy weight before getting pregnant or exercising while they’re pregnant – studies show women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy and women who gain too much weight during pregnancy are at a greater risk of complications such as: miscarriages, sleep apnea, cardiac dysfunction, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, sleep apnea, gestational diabetes, and Caesarean sections.
Overweight and obese women are also at risk of delivering an above-average-weight baby. Fad diets or low calorie diets are also not recommended while pregnant -undernourished babies are at a greater risk of developmental problems.
It’s best to include a variety of different foods and a balanced diet to ensure proper nutrition.
Below are some of the best nutrients to include and examples of foods that contain them:
DHA – salmon, omega-3 eggs and omega-3 supplements.
Recommended serving: 200mg per day.
Essential for memory, mood and brain development.
Iron – green leafy vegetables, dried apricots, legumes like lentils and chickpeas, meat like chicken liver and beef, and iron supplements.
16-20mg a day. Iron is also absorbed better when eaten in combination with foods containing vitamin C.
Needed to help increase red blood cell count.
Iodine – saltwater seafood like shrimp and scallops, sea vegetables like kelp, and iodized salt.
Calcium -dairy like milk, yogurt, cheese and also dairy supplements.
Recommended serving: 1000mg per day.
Improves bone development and decrease chances of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure that happens usually around 20 weeks)
Folic Acid – leafy greens like spinach and romaine lettuce, soy beans, fortified cereal and supplements containing B9.
400mcg (should start taking it 3 months before conceiving)
Vitamin D – sunlight – go for a walk during a sunny day, fatty fish like salmon, egg yolks, fortified milk, and also vitamin D supplements.
Recommended serving: 600-800IU per day. May help prevent gestational diabetes and preterm labor.
Vitamin B6 – vegetables like peppers and leeks and herbs like basil.
35mg and 75mg
Boosts energy levels and may help to reduce nausea and vomiting.
During pregnancy a lot of women may be focused on the scale, it is normal to gain anywhere between 25-40lbs. But instead of focusing on the scale, gear your focus towards getting strong, having more energy and a healthy pregnancy.
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