Nutrition in Pregnancy

DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS DURING PREGNANCY

Morning sickness can strike at any time of the day, and is common during the first trimester of pregnancy. It may help to eat ‘little and often’ by grazing on six small meals a day. Some naturopaths recommend ginger tea to ease pregnancy-related nausea. Taking a nutritional supplement containing vitamin B6, B12 folic acid and zinc may also help, but a doctor should be consulted about this.

Many women experience constipation in pregnancy. This is because changing hormone levels have a relaxing effect on the intestines, and food takes longer than usual to pass through the gut. Rather than sprinkling bran over meals, which can inhibit the absorption of important nutrients, drink at least six glasses of water a day and eat plenty of whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Dried fruits, such as prunes and figs, make excellent natural laxatives.DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS DURING PREGNANCY

 

FOOD CRAVINGS IN PREGNANCY

It is common for pregnant women to have cravings for and aversions to specific foods. Common food cravings include fruit, cheese, chocolate and ice-cream, and common aversions include fatty foods such as meat and spicy foods. Aversions may also include drinks such as coffee. Specific smells can also become more pleasant or more repulsive during pregnancy.

At one time, it was thought that food cravings were a sign of nutritional deficiency, but there is no evidence to support this.

Occasionally, pregnant women experience cravings for non-food substances such as coal, chalk, wood or earth.

 

DAILY NUTRITIONAL NEEDS OF PREGNANT AND NURSING WOMEN

Although a woman’s body adapts to the increased nutritional demands made by pregnancy and breast-feeding by increasing the absorption (and decreasing the excretion) of nutrients, some dietary changes are necessary.

NUTRIENT

USUAL

PREGNANCY

BREAST-FEEDING

Calories

1600 -2000

+250

+500

Protein

50g

60g

62-65g

Calcium

800mg

1200mg

1200mg

Iron

15mg

30mg

15mg

Folic acid

180mcg

400mcg

280mcg (for first 6 months)

Zinc

12mg

15mg

19mg

Vitamin D

(for uptake and assimilation of calcium)

5mcg

l0mcg

l0mcg

 

 

Breast-milk production places a metabolic burden on the mother, who needs to take in more calories to accommodate extra energy requirements. An extra 500 calories, in the form of nutritious foods, enables the mother to produce plenty of nutrient-rich milk.

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