What is pregnancy:
Pregnancy is the period during which a fetus develops inside a woman’s womb or uterus. Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, or a little over 9 months, from the last menstrual cycle through delivery. The three stages of pregnancy are referred to as trimesters by doctors.
First trimester (week 1 to week 12)
The first step toward pregnancy is conception, which occurs when a sperm penetrates an egg. Through the woman’s fallopian tube, the fertilized egg (called a zygote) goes to the uterus and implants itself in the uterine wall. A zygote is a group of cells that will develop into the fetus and placenta. The placenta connects the mother and the fetus, providing nourishment and oxygen to the latter.
Second trimester (week 13 to week 28)
- You can normally find out your baby’s sex between the ages of 18 and 20, which is when ultrasounds are used to search for birth defects.
- At 20 weeks, a woman may begin to feel movement.
- The fetus has left imprints and fingerprints after 24 weeks, and it sleeps and wakes on a regular basis.
According to the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Neonatal Research Network, babies born at 28 weeks have a 92 percent chance of surviving, although those born at this time are more likely to have serious health issues such as respiratory and brain problems.
Third trimester (week 29 to week 40)
- At 32 weeks, the bones are soft and nearly fully formed, and the eyes can open and close; preterm babies are those born before 37 weeks. Developmental delays, visual and hearing problems, and cerebral palsy are more common in these children. Babies born between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy are referred to as “late preterm.”
- “Early term” refers to babies born in the 37th and 38th weeks of pregnancy, which were formerly considered term. These newborns are more likely to have health issues than those born at 39 weeks or later, which is currently considered full term.
- Babies delivered at 39 or 40 weeks of pregnancy are considered full-term. Full-term infants have better health outcomes.
Nutrition during pregnancy:
The body goes through a lot of physical and chemical changes throughout pregnancy. To keep yourself and your growing child fueled, you’ll need to eat well from a variety of sources. Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet can make you feel good and provide you and your child with all you need. It’s critical that you obtain all of the vitamins and minerals you need because the food you eat is your baby’s primary source of nutrition.
Because you’re feeding a whole new person, your body’s nutritional needs increase throughout pregnancy. Although the old adage “eating for two” isn’t entirely accurate, you and your baby will undoubtedly need more vitamins and macronutrients.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are only required in trace amounts in the diet.
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories, or energy. We’re talking carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You’ll need to eat more of each type of nutrient during pregnancy.
Carbohydrates meals help you feel satisfied without having too many calories and are a vital source of energy, several vitamins, and fiber. Bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, maize, millet, oats, yams, and cornmeal are some of the items on the list. Choose oven chips that are reduced in salt and fat if you’re having chips.
Over a third of your diet should consist of these foods. Choose wholegrain or higher-fiber alternatives like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, or just leaving the skins on potatoes instead of refined starchy (white) foods.
Protein is required for the growth of a baby’s tissues and organs, including the brain. During pregnancy, it also assists in the development of breast and uterine tissue. It even helps to boost your blood supply, allowing you to give your child more blood. Your protein needs increase with each trimester of pregnancy. Protein consumption during pregnancy should be much higher than current recommendations. You’ll need 70 to 100 grams of protein each day, depending on your weight and trimester.
While it is true that some fats have negative health effects, others serve as a vital source of energy and aid in the body’s assimilation of specific nutrients. They can also supply essential fatty acids, which are necessary for the growth of your unborn child during pregnancy but which your body cannot produce.
Unsaturated fat called DHA is crucial for a baby’s brain and eye development. Aim for 200 mg of DHA per day for pregnant women. DHA is found in oily seafood like salmon and tuna.
Nutrient requirements during pregnancy:
Recommended daily amount of intake
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
Dairy products, leafy green vegetables, orange juice, and almonds
Meat, fish, poultry, cereals, whole grain breads, legumes, leafy green vegetables, dried peaches, apricots and raisins.
Folacin (Folic Acid)
Leafy green vegetables, legumes, whole grains, orange juice, asparagus.
Wheat germ, meat, whole grains, cauliflower, bananas, avocados, peanuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, and corn.
The same foods that contain iron, in addition to oysters, wheat germ and brown rice.
- Vitamin (A): Pregnant women need 770 micrograms of vitamin (A) per day.
- Vitamin (C): The recommended daily amount of vitamin C during pregnancy increases to 85 milligrams
- Vitamin (D): All individuals under the age of 70, including pregnant women and breastfeeding women, need 600 IUs per day
Fluid intake during pregnancy:
In addition to the fluids in juices and soups, you can get enough fluids by consuming several glasses of water each day. Discuss limiting your use of artificial sweeteners and caffeine with your healthcare provider.
Foods to eat:
- Proteins: Lean meat (chicken, fish, lentils, etc.) is advised as a daily source of protein.
- Carbohydrates are a type of carbohydrate that may be found in a variety of foods (such as bread, cereals, potatoes, rice, and pasta).
- Obtaining fat from plant sources (such as olive oil) is preferred over saturated fats obtained from animal sources (like butter).
- Dairy products that have been pasteurized: (such as Yogurt, milk, and cheese).
- Vitamins and minerals are essential for good health.
- There’s a lot of fiber in this.
Foods to avoid:
- excessive caffeine
- raw meats and seafood
- high-mercury fish
- uncooked processed meats
- unpasteurized dairy
Good dietary supplements:
- Iron: To prevent iron deficiency anemia in the mother and to aid in the transmission of more blood to the fetus so that it receives the most oxygen possible.
- Folic acid is used to prevent the development of spina bifida in the fetus.
Harmful dietary supplements:
- Vitamin A supplementation, whether in food or tablet form, should be avoided during pregnancy since it can harm the fetus.
- Dietary supplements are insufficient to replace a nutritious diet.
How to overcome cravings and food aversions during pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, you can develop an aversion to certain foods, which means you won’t like the smell or taste of them. Food cravings for one or more foods may also arise.
A hunger for a donut, Chinese food, or an unexpected culinary combo like pickles and ice cream can strike. It’s unclear why pregnant women have dietary aversions or urge. Hormones, on the other hand, are thought to play a part. It’s fine to indulge your cravings now and then, especially if they’re for foods that are part of a healthy diet. However, you should try to limit your intake of junk food and processed foods.
Food aversions, on the other hand, may only be a problem if they involve meals that are necessary for a baby’s development.
Pica is a disorder in which you have a desire for unhealthy meals. Pregnant women with pica may want to eat clay, cigarette ashes, or starch, among other strange foods. Pica during pregnancy could be a sign of a vitamin or mineral shortage.
Dn.Sadia Fatima is Director and Co-Founder of SDNO. She is a great nutrition entrepreneur and leader. Her actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. She can be reached at @nutracare21_.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.