Food and Nutrition For pregnant and Breastfeeding moms
The most nutritionally demanding stages in a woman’s life are pregnancy and breastfeeding. Every day, the body requires enough nutrients to sustain its needs and also to support a baby’s development. More nutrients are required by pregnant and breastfeeding women than by other women. Eating healthy meals that have a range of foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy products, is essential. There are lifestyle factors, apart from diet, that can also influence the health of both the mother and the baby. For pregnant women, it is necessary to do all of the following: ensure that the foods they eat are safe; integrate physical activity into their everyday lives; and prevent alcohol consumption.
Proper nutrition during pregnancy and although breastfeeding is important not only for mothers, it is also important for their babies’ health. Women with nutritional deficiencies face a greater risk of illness and death for themselves and their growing unborn children.Here are some tips for eating healthy during pregnancy period:
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Choose foods which contain high fibers, minerals, proteins and vitamins.
- Exercise or do meditation on a regular basis. This will help you during your child delivery. Doing regular exercise will help you to maintain your fitness during and after pregnancy.
- Drink plenty of water (approximately 3,000 milliliters per day or 12 eight-ounce glasses for pregnant women)
- During the first trimester of pregnancy, the World Health Organisation recommends that pregnant women eat an extra 90 calories and 1 gram of protein. Some additional requirements for nutrients, especially iron, folic acid and vitamin A, are difficult to achieve during pregnancy through food sources alone. So, it is also suggested to take supplements and fortified foods during pregnancy.
- There is an additional 290 calories and 10 grams of protein needed during the second trimester. Extra calories, including fruits, vegetables, beans and grains, can come from nutrient-dense foods. Meat, fish, beans and eggs should provide extra protein.
- An extra 470 calories and 31 grams of protein should be added to the diet during the third trimester. Processed foods with added sugars and fats should be kept to a minimum, while extra calories and protein should be consumed with fruits, vegetables, grains and protein-rich foods.
- During this period, insufficient weight gain can lead to low birth weight, which can increase the death risk of the child. During pregnancy, the amount of recommended weight gain depends on the weight prior to pregnancy. To find the number that is right for you, consult with a doctor.
Nutrition during breastfeeding is just as essential during pregnancy as nutrition. To help the mother as well as her baby’s well being, a breastfeeding mother needs to continue to eat healthy food. A Mom makes healthy breast milk with a diverse diet based on nutrient-dense foods. If a baby’s diet contains more complementary foods and insufficient breast milk, the baby’s mother’s energy needs will also decrease. Here are some important tips for breastfeeding moms:
- Include foods which will contain proteins 2 or 3 times per day such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts and seeds.
- A mother breastfeeding exclusively (feeding only her child’s breast milk) needs around 670 extra calories and 19 extra grams of protein per day; the WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a child’s existence.
- Eat three servings of vegetables a day and eat two servings of fruit a day, like dark green and yellow vegetables.
- To relieve your hunger, drink water. When breastfeeding, many women learn they are thirsty; but pushing yourself to drink water does not increase your supply.
- It is possible to make vegetarian diets compliant with breastfeeding. Be sure to eat other sources of iron and zinc, such as dried beans, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and dairy, if you avoid meat. You would need to take a B12 supplement if you skip all animal products (vegan diet) to make sure your baby does not develop a B12 deficiency.
- Breastfeeding demands for more calories. These additional calories can naturally be used for your milk if you already have baby weight from your pregnancy. You will need to eat an additional 500-600 calories a day if you have lost all of your baby’s weight. You can produce less milk after your baby begins consuming other foods at 6 months, and you should cut back on your calorie intake.