Healthy diet during pregnancy and lactation

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Childhood and breastfeeding is a time-consuming time for a woman’s health, as the body requires a little more than usual and needs to be skillfully engraved to stay healthy and get all the necessary vitamins and other useful substances.

Although older relatives may tend to guide pregnant people to eat for two, and are able to refill and re-fill the food plate quickly, there is actually no reason to overeat. However, it is true that during pregnancy and breastfeeding, energy is needed a little more than usual, and therefore the usual amounts of food can be reviewed. The main source of energy is still carbohydrates, but it is important to emphasize their quality, with the preference for long-term absorbed carbohydrates, which we get from processed food and sweets.

“The need for pregnant food increases during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester of pregnancy, and there is a greater need for protein and fatty acids. It is especially important to get the omega-3 fatty acids throughout the pregnancy. You do not have to eat two, but more carefully, ”explained Külli Holsting, a nutritionist and member of the Estonian Nutrition Advisers Association.

“If exercise is interrupted, caloric intake may remain the same at the beginning of pregnancy, it is important to maintain balance and monitor weight gain so that it does not become too large. Normal weight pregnant could be limited to 16–17 kilos, not all of which goes to grow a child, but for placental growth, hematopoiesis, breast development, etc., ”he added.

It is important to keep in mind during pregnancy that the food would not remain one-sided, but the menu would be as diverse as possible. Good fatty acids must be consumed. Examples of excellent protein sources include pulses, nuts and seeds, and of course animal proteins.

The fetus developing in the woman’s stomach gets everything through the placenta needed for its development, so the mother needs to take care of her own needs as well as those of her child’s body. It is also important to remember that a pregnant woman should not be eaten for more than 12 hours in a row.

How much to eat?
According to Estonian nutrition advice, a woman should eat about 2000 kcal a day and during pregnancy and breastfeeding it could increase by 300-650 kcal. It should be borne in mind that if physical activity drops during pregnancy, the amount of energy from the diet should not be increased, otherwise it will lead to weight gain. Since the body needs more energy than usual for breast milk synthesis, the amount of food energy may increase slightly during breastfeeding.

Water should be drunk during pregnancy according to thirst. On average, a person needs about 1 to 1.2 liters of water a day, but weight gain during pregnancy also results in higher fluid requirements. It is worth noting that the salty and spicy foods eaten in the second half of pregnancy can cause excessive accumulation of fluid in the tissues and thus the formation of edema.

Breastfeeding should, however, be supplemented by the addition of 600 to 700 ml of fluid per day required to compensate for water leaving the breast milk. Of course, the amount depends on the weight of the nursing woman, the frequency of breastfeeding, the number of children and the like.

Vitamins during pregnancy and lactation
Like most people living in our climate, you should definitely take vitamin D during pregnancy and breastfeeding . It comes from salmon, herring, mackerel, milk, egg yolk and fish fat. “Often our food also lacks iodine, selenium and normal vitamin C. People who avoid or eat cereals are often deficient in B vitamins, ”says Külli Holsting.

Vitamin C is obtained from citrus fruits such as orange, mandarin and lemon, but also from, for example, rosehip, pepper and other fruit and vegetables. In addition, vitamin C is also found in sea buckthorn, blackcurrant, kiwi, broccoli, white cabbage, cauliflower and swede.

If the food is versatile, it contains a lot of fruits and vegetables, but vitamin preparations are usually not needed. Unfortunately, women cannot always get everything they need with food. “I say honestly – in my practice at the maternity center, I still see a very poor diet: low consumption of vegetables, minimal eating of fresh food, etc.,” said Holsting about the habits of pregnant women in Estonia.

Often, she says, there are obstacles to pregnancy, such as nausea, fatigue, heartburn, and often changes in taste and appetite, which do not allow balanced nutrition. However, he puts the heart of women, because mother shares everything with her child, and in the absence of a mother, the fetus will be missing.

In addition, the use of folic acid or folate should be started before Holest’s recommendation, since the stocks of this vitamin last for a relatively short period of time – only 1-3 months. A folate of folic acid is now also available in the form of folate, which is significantly better absorbed. According to Liina Normet, leader of the midwifery line, folic acid is necessary for cell division. “When the egg is fertilized and nestled in the uterus, one major cell division begins, and that’s why folic acid is needed. This is especially true until the end of the 12th week of pregnancy, when the nervous system develops and everything else is necessary for life, ”explained Normet.

Folic acid reduces the risk of developmental development of the child, especially the brain and spinal cord. Folate (folic acid is a synthetic form and less absorbable) can be obtained from green foliage, herbs, legumes, liver, wheat germ, yeast and whole grain products.

Mineral rich diet during pregnancy and lactation
If the body suffers from a deficiency of minerals, it can cause many diseases. Particular care must be taken to monitor the amount of minerals needed during pregnancy, as the need increases at that time. Iron, calcium, and magnesium, for example, are important during childhood. Since the growth and development of a toddler depends on the intake of iodine, the need for iodine is higher in women, both during breastfeeding and during pregnancy.

Iron is needed more during pregnancy because of increased blood volume, new blood cells need to be produced and iron is also needed for placenta and fetal growth. According to a midwife counseling line, iron deficiency, iron absorption or bleeding is often the cause of iron deficiency or anemia. Anemia is the most common pregnancy condition that occurs in half of pregnant women during a period of pregnancy and is a serious risk to the child. The drop in iron content is the highest in the 30–33. week of pregnancy.

The best way to get the body iron is meat and blood, about 20% of the iron in it is absorbed, only 5 to 10% of iron in vegetable foods. This does not mean that there will definitely be so-called teeth baptized to eat meat. If meat dishes really do not fit, then other iron sources should be considered. At first you need to review the food table and then turn to food supplements.

Iron sources include red meat, liver, blood products, eggs, beans, spinach and other green vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, dried fruits, pomegranates, tomatoes, strawberries, red beet, carrot, mushrooms, garlic. Only 50 grams of beef, 2-3 times a week, is enough to store iron.

As a source of iron, Külli Holsting also recommends seafood, high altar, iron cane, tofu, cinemas, oats and red lentils and beans. “If the analysis shows a significant decrease in hemoglobin, more attention should be paid to the iron and, if necessary, a nutritionist should be contacted,” he put on the heart of pregnant women. The absorption of iron is disturbed by coffee, tea and dairy products, but the consumption of rich foods in vitamin C improves.

Calcium and magnesium help the child grow
Calcium is needed in the body of a pregnant woman to form the skeleton, and it also protects the mother from the loss of bones and tooth decay. “In addition to milk, calcium can be obtained from almonds, seeds, dried herbs, molasses, small fish that we eat with bones, self-boiled bones, etc.,” the nutritionist listed. Also good sources of calcium include pea, apricot, fig, plums, dattel, rice, parsley, raisins, egg yolk, meat products, spinach, Brussels sprouts, soy beans, beans, swede and cereal products.

Magnesium contributes to metabolic processes, promotes tissue growth and development, and helps muscle function. According to the midwives, the following symptoms are characteristic of magnesium deficiency: nervousness, sleep and concentration disorders, mood swings, depression, loss of ability to work, muscle tension, muscle cramps (in the legs), so-called death of hands and feet, muscle weakness, eyelid twitching, heart rhythm disturbances, pregnancy in the lower abdomen, premature contractions of the uterus, premature contractions of the uterus.

Good sources of magnesium are beans, peas, leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, red beet, potatoes, pumpkin seeds, meat, Baltic herring, salmon, mackerel, whole grain products, milk, cheese and eggs.

Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates – How Much and Where to Get Them?
The body of a pregnant woman is capable of producing the necessary tissue building materials for the fetus itself. Essentially, they have a protein composition. Protein requirements increase mainly during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and during the lactation period. At the same time, it should be remembered that energy from proteins should not exceed 20% of daily energy.

Good animal proteins are provided by poultry and beef, fish, eggs, milk, low-fat cheese and tofu. Of course, it should be noted that animal proteins are often very fat. Vegetable proteins can be obtained from legumes, nuts and seeds and cereals.

Prefer vegetable fatty acids
Fat should not be afraid of pregnant women because it is an indispensable substance for the body to give energy and to build cell membranes. A woman needs 75-80 g of fats per day. As always, the balance of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids should be monitored during pregnancy, or rather, to consume less animal and more vegetable fats. Of course, good vegetable fats do not include margarines, trans fats and other processed fats.

Essential fatty acids are found in vegetable oils , fatty sea fish, nuts and seeds, avocados. During lactation, the mammary glands synthesize the fatty acids necessary for the infant, and the mother’s diet is also important. It is definitely necessary to find good saturated fats, prefer lightly absorbing butter, coconut oil and cream.

Carbohydrates and fiber

Since pregnant women and nursing women need more energy than usual, the primary need is to cover the carbohydrates . According to Estonian nutritional advice, pregnant women should mainly get carbohydrates from starch and thus consume whole grain products, vegetables and potatoes. During breastfeeding, it is important to consume more fiber to compensate for loose stomach muscles and to ensure the removal of residues from the mother’s body.

The required amount of carbohydrate per day during pregnancy is 300-350 grams, slightly more during the second half of pregnancy. While breastfeeding, it is important to pay attention to the different carbohydrates in the menu to cover the body’s increased energy needs and to maintain blood glucose levels. Mammary glands synthesize lactose from the glucose in the mother’s circulation, which is the second largest ingredient in breast milk after water.

Carbohydrates could be obtained from whole grains such as bread and smith, fruit and vegetables, potatoes, buckwheat, oat flakes and rice. Slightly less carbohydrates can be obtained from green leafy vegetables, tomato, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, celery, cucumber and mushrooms.

Less is more
In order to maintain good health during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is worthwhile to remove some of the foods temporarily from your diet. Be sure to avoid over-processed and refined foods. “It is not recommended for raw meat, milk and fish, contaminated food, food cooked at a high temperature or even burnt down,” said Külli Holsting, nutrition adviser, who should be restricted during pregnancy and lactation.

For example, eating raw fish in sushi has been strictly prohibited in the past, but it has now been concluded that the benefits of fishing outweigh the potential damage. There is therefore no scientific basis for the ban. “Certainly, it is worth looking at where you buy meat and fish products, especially when traveling,” Holsting said.

“Last year listeriosis occurred in Denmark. It is important to maintain heart peace and to provide you with the right solution. Who doesn’t trust fish can choose fish oil and vitamin D supplements, ”he added. Where possible, predators could be avoided and fish caught in the Baltic Sea should not be consumed more than twice a week. Smaller and younger fish should be preferred.

Be sure to avoid excess sugar, salt or partially hydrogenated fats. Because of the high energy demand, you should make sure that candy and other sweets do not get too often on the table. The same applies to the healthier choice of fruits, as too large quantities, such as mandarins, grapes, raisins, files, etc., do not do well either.

A large amount of caffeine during pregnancy can become dangerous and caffeine is also absorbed into breast milk during breastfeeding, which can make the baby uneasy and excited. Caffeine overuse can also affect breast milk. According to Estonian nutritional advice, 1.5 teaspoons of coffee powder is the optimal amount to make daily coffee during pregnancy and lactation.

Lack of nutrients and supplements during pregnancy
According to Külli Holsting, the most frequently observed deficiency of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids in pregnant women is definitely worth paying attention to in their menu. “Often, intestinal microflora is also imbalanced and needs to be supported by probiotics or acidified foods,” Holsting stressed, and also recommended the use of both omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics for the risk of allergy .

“I generally recommend taking a multipreparation containing vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, if the table is one-sided, if the pregnant woman is stressed, has digestive problems, or if her diet consists of ready meals, and herbal intake is inadequate,” Holsting said. “Certainly, the quality of our food has declined over the years and nutrient uptake has often decreased. If you already have symptoms of vitamin or mineral deficiency, you should definitely take supplements during pregnancy and lactation. It is important to ensure good health for mother and child. ”

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