What you need to know about prenatal nutrition
Maintaining good nutrition is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. But it’s sometimes hard to make the best food choices with hectic lifestyles. Most people have questions about how much weight they should be gaining. It’s also important to realize that an poor diet can actually contribute to common issues that arise in pregnancy.
General nutrition tips:
The basics of a healthy diet are healthy fats, high quality protein and lots of complex carbohydrates in the form of fruits and vegetables. In general, it’s best to avoid damp foods (dairy, bananas, wheat, soy), because it can be difficult to digest.
- Good fats include: seeds- pumpkin, flax; nuts- almonds, walnuts; cold water fish, avocado
- Good protein includes: rice and beans, nuts, chicken, turkey, smaller cold-water fish, bone broth
- Good carbohydrates include:vegetables and fruit, brown rice, quinoa, ancient grains
Your baby is smart, if you take some time to focus your attention on them and ask them what they need to grow they will give you an answer.
How much weight gain is enough? How much is too much?
Unfortunately, the answer is that it varies from person to person. A good estimate is 25-35 lbs, but if you were overweight at the start of pregnancy, expect to gain closer to 25 lbs. By the same token, if you were underweight before pregnancy, expect to gain about 35 lbs. It’s important to remember that most of this weight will be gained during the third trimester as the baby grows fast and your body gets ready to breastfeed. If you aren’t gaining well in the first 2 trimesters and even if you lose some weight early on this is not necessarily a problem.
Here’s the break down:
- Baby ~ 7 lbs
- Uterus ~2.5 lbs
- Placenta ~1 lb
- Breast tissue ~3 lbs
- Mother’s blood ~4 lbs
- Mother’s fat ~5 lbs
Common nutritional concerns:
What you’re eating plays a big role in your pregnancy. In fact, many common pregnancy issues have their root in nutrition. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for plus some tips on what might help.
- Leg cramps: These are really common especially in the last trimester, but it can be a sign of a magnesium deficiency. Foods that can help include nuts and seeds, nut butters, bean and legumes.Craving ice: This can be a sign of iron deficiency, it’s worth bringing this up with your care provider especially if you are also experiencing fatigue. Iron rich foods include high quality meats, eggs and dark leafy greens. Drinking nettle tea can also help to boost iron stores.
Nausea: Ah, morning sickness. Called that because it starts in the morning and last all day. An easy fix for this persistent nausea can be making sure you are getting adequate amounts of protein, which means at least 75 grams per day. This can be a lot for some people so it might help to invest in a yummy protein powder.
Constipation: Common in the first and third trimesters, constipation can often be easily fixed by simple dietary changes. These include : warm water with lemon, bitter greens and easily digestible, cooked forms of fibre such as lentils, beans and peas.
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This article is meant to provide information only, it does not substitute for personalized medical care.