25 June, 2009

Pregnancy: Healthy Diet

* It is crucial that your body has the necessary chemical elements, strength and stamina to make it through pregnancy with good health. Poor diet during pregnancy can have lifelong consequences on the physical and mental health of your child.

* The ideal diet is a balanced whole foods one which gives the crucial inputs required during pregnancy.

* Growing a baby requires a lot more energy especially in the earlier months when cell division is most intense. Vegetarians can source these from pulses and legumes (peas, lentils, beans, nuts, soy products) eaten in combination with whole grains such as rice, wheat ,oats, barley, rye, corn, buckwheat etc.

* Try to eat high protein foods for lunch when you will be able to process them more efficiently than at night.

* In the last months, calcium is released from the maternal bones to provide for the baby, so increased dairy, soy, greens and seaweed are useful. Raspberry leaf tea is especially useful in the last months as it softens up the cervix in preparation for birth as well as stimulates milk production.

Healthy Weight Gain

Many women are concerned about weight gain during pregnancy. Some women fear gaining too much weight, wondering if they will ever get back to their pre-pregnancy size. Others feel they may not be gaining enough weight.

A woman gains more weight than just the weight of the baby. In order to produce a healthy baby, your body requires extra fluids-extra water, blood, and amniotic fluid. During pregnancy you gain about 15 to 20 pounds in water alone. You can discuss with your doctor, the appropriate amount of weight for you to gain during your pregnancy.

The chart below provides some general recommendations.

Recommended Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Your Body's Nutritional Needs

During pregnancy your body has increased nutritional needs. you do require more macronutrients (for example, calories, protein, and fluids) and micronutrients (for example, calcium, folate, and iron).

In general, most women can meet these increased nutritional needs by choosing a diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods, including 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, and by taking a prenatal vitamin prescribed by their health care provider. A simple way to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients that you and your baby need is by eating a variety of foods from each of the food groups every day.

Each food group has something to offer your body. Grains like cereal and pasta, for example, are good sources of energy. Fruits and vegetables are packed with water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as antioxidants and fiber. The food group that includes meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, and beans offers your body protein, B vitamins, folate, and iron. Dairy products are the best source of calcium and vitamin D.

Nowadays, nutrition experts recommend “chemically prepared” dietary supplements taking for granted an assumed deficiency in the diet to meet the special pregnancy requirements. However, a balanced whole foods diet can more than make up for these “deficiencies”.Moreover, we believe, supplements can have undesired or harmful effects.

Let us Examine these Special Requirements.

* Iron

Iron is best sourced from nature’s own balance. Unless you require Syntocinon for expedient delivery of the placenta, being ‘tanked up” on iron supplements is just not necessary. In fact iron is a highly toxic material which can damage the liver if over consumed. You can source iron from leafy greens, seaweed, dried fruits, pulses, wheat germ, bran, yeast, nuts, seeds, parsley, molasses, Jaggery.

* Calcium
Evidence of low calcium is muscular cramping especially in the lower legs and most commonly experienced in the last trimester when the baby’s bones are becoming rapidly denser.

Natural food sources of calcium are dairy products, soy products, nuts, seaweed and kelp products, wheat germ and wheat bran.

Include these in your daily diet and you will be on your way to a more natural and chemical free childbirth.

* Folic acid (Foliate)
Folic acid aids cell division in early pregnancy and damage to the fetus from low folic acid can occur even before pregnancy is confirmed. Folic acid is well sourced from yeast, wholegrains, pulses, nuts, dairy products, Jaggery – again no need for supplements- just a whole foods balanced diet.

* Vitamin B

Vitamin B Can be sourced from yeast, seeds, beans, nuts, dairy foods, wheat germ, whole grains. All good staples for the whole foods vegetarian. Vitamin B supplements cause urine to turn dark yellow. This can cause urine tests to show high protein which can lead to pre-eclampsia! Taking supplements removes this vital sign whether we are taking enough fluids!!

Related Topics:

Pregnancy: Healthy Diet

Pregnancy: Safe Exercise

Pregnancy: Helpful Tips

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