Pregnancy & Childbirth

Nutrition during pregnancy – Encyclopedia for Medicine & Health

Nutrition during pregnancy

Contrary to what it may seem from the many guides on the market, pregnancy is not an illness. Basically, the following applies to nutrition during pregnancy : Anything that tastes good is allowed. Normally, during pregnancy, a woman knows very well what is right and important for her. But of course there are also some things that pregnant women should consider when it comes to their diet.

How many calories do pregnant women need?

Being pregnant does not mean that the pregnant woman has to eat for two. Calorie requirements hardly change during the first two thirds of pregnancy. Pregnant women do not have to eat more in the first six months of pregnancy. Depending on age, size, weight and activity, the requirement is around 2000 kilocalories per day.

In the last trimester of pregnancy, however, calorie intake should be increased by approximately 200 kilocalories per day. Caloric intake should also be adjusted when expecting twins or multiples . Even if the BMI before pregnancy was below 19, an increased calorie intake is required. Overweight and obese pregnant women, on the other hand, should be careful not to consume too many calories.

The body needs more vitamins

Although the body does not need calories for two, a good supply of vitamins is essential for the development of the child. Vitamins play a key role in the formation of red blood cells. They promote the development of the unborn child and contribute to a healthy and complete development.

This is what they need now: folic acid, iodine, iron

Of particular importance during pregnancy is the vitamin folic acid . Iodine and iron also play an important role. Even before pregnancy, women who wish to have children should double their folic acid intake if possible. If you cannot get enough folic acid from your diet, you should consider taking a dietary supplement.

Folic acid can prevent the dreaded neural tube defects ( open spine ) in children. The recommended daily dose is at least 600 µg (=0.6 mg). Iron deficiency is common during pregnancy. However, a lack of iron increases the likelihood that the child will be born with a low birth weight.

Lower iron levels also increase the risk of infection for mother and child. During pregnancy, the unborn child is dependent on the mother’s iodine supply. Expectant mothers therefore need more iodine than before pregnancy. This increased need can only be met with difficulty through normal food, so pregnant women are recommended to take iodine in tablet form.

What vegetarians should watch out for

With a balanced vegetarian diet, the nutrient supply can also be ensured during pregnancy. However, in order to ensure an adequate iron supply, vegetarian pregnant women should have their iron levels checked regularly.

If this is below the required values, you should supplement iron if necessary. If you don’t eat sea fish, you should also get omega-3 fatty acids from food supplements. These are important for the development of the child.

What vegans should watch out for

A vegan diet during pregnancy is only recommended for women who have been vegan for a long time before pregnancy and are familiar with the vegan diet and lifestyle. Vegan pregnant women should also supplement folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron in consultation with their doctor.

What are pregnant women not allowed to eat and drink?

There are a number of products that should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy. In particular, raw or undercooked meat is taboo. Raw Mettwurst, Teewurst, raw ham, tartare or pies can contain toxoplasmosis pathogens that can cause severe disabilities in babies.

Cold-smoked ham and cold-smoked fish are also not recommended. Ready-made salads and packaged delicatessen products do not belong on the menu as they can contain various bacteria. The same applies to raw milk and products made from raw milk. Cheeses such as brie, ricotta, feta and gorgonzola should also be avoided. These products occasionally contain Listeria .

These pathogens can cause brain damage in babies. Raw fish should not be eaten for the same reason. Of course, alcohol should be completely avoided during pregnancy. Alcohol during pregnancy affects the development of the child in each trimester and causes serious harm to the unborn child.

Be careful with medicinal herbs!

Fennel , cumin and anise can have a very beneficial effect, especially for flatulence. However, medicinal herbs should be used with caution during pregnancy. Anise and fennel stimulate the uterus in larger amounts. In smaller doses, however, they are usually harmless.

Shepherd’s purse , lady’s mantle , tormentil , and mugwort also stimulate the uterus and can sometimes cause birth defects. They should only be used under expert guidance. Clove oil , celandine and black cohosh can also trigger preterm labor and endanger the child’s well-being.

How diet can affect your child’s allergy development

More and more children suffer from allergies . Some studies have suggested that avoiding allergenic foods during pregnancy could have a positive impact on children’s susceptibility to allergies. In fact, nutritionists no longer recommend avoiding certain foods to prevent allergies.

In order to give the child a healthy and vital start in life, a healthy and balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables is recommended. The occasional consumption of fish and white meat can also have a positive effect on the child’s health.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.