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Special Diet During Pregnancy


Pregnancy is a time of importance in a woman's life as we understand that a woman is carrying an offspring and is in the process of bringing a new life into this world. What a woman eats during the time of conception and during the time of pregnancy determines the health of the child that is to be born. The pregnant mother has to look after her health and nutrition needs as well as the growing child in her womb; for the proper growth and development of the child. A pregnant woman inevitably gains weight during pregnancy for several reasons. The baby's average weight at birth should be 7.5 pounds;and an additional 7 pounds is gained by the pregnant mother for the fat protein and other nutrients that are stored in the body,4 pounds are gained for additional blood,another 4 pounds for extra body fluids, 2 bounds for breast enlargement, 2 pounds for the enlargement of the uterus, 2 pounds for amniotic fluids that that surround the baby for protection and an additional 1.5 pounds for the placenta. The overall weight gain for an expectant mother is 25 to 35 pounds on an average.

The weight patterns vary from woman to woman, what a woman eats provides nourishment to the baby. The expectant mother goes through three phases during the nine months of pregnancy, divided as the first trimester, second trimester and third trimester consecutively. To begin with an expectant mother must not fail to skip meals, and a required amount of 300 extra calories must be added to the diet of the expectant mother, this can be done by eating balanced meals. During the first trimester the expectant mother experiences nausea, every now and then , while some women experience morning sickness, eating small but frequent meals at regular intervals is a must,the intake of adequate iron is a must, the extra calories that are required by a pregnant mother can be obtained by drinking milk , fruit juices, healthy snacks.Digestive problems may occur with milk so one must have other dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt, butter milk etc. During the second trimester pregnant women should continue eating a balanced diet. During the last trimester the pregnant woman may feel full a lot faster then she does in the second trimester however she must continue eating the frequent meals at regular intervals.

Protein requirement during pregnancy:
Protein requirement for an expectant mother increases as we know that proteins are a building blocks of all the cells in our body and the intake of 60 grams of protein is a must in day as it also builds the amniotic fluids and forms anti bodies, it promotes cellular development and provides matter for the placenta . at the same time a pregnant woman"s blood requirement increases by 50 % so it also helps to provide in the body. There are two different kinds of proteins a complete protein an incomplete protein. Complete protein is usually supplied from animal sources containing the eight amino acids; whereas the incomplete protein comes from vegetable sources. Some good example of protein sources are fish, poultry, eggs , meat cheese, dried beans, peas, peanut butter, nuts, whole grain bread and cereal.

Carbohydrates requirement during pregnancy:
There are two kinds of carbohydrates......... simple carbohydrates in the form of sugars found in fruit and milk whereas the complex carbohydrates in the form of starch are found in vegetables and cereals. Complex carbohydrates are essential to a woman for a pregnancy as the lack of it will burn the protein and and fats in the body for fuel which causes the risk of not leaving enough protein for the development of the brain and nervous system of the fetus and the burning of fat releases a acid of fat metabolism called ketomes which is harmful for the developing brain of the fetus. Therefore the intake of carbohydrates in the body saves the protein in the body for the growth of the fetus as some carbohydrates also provide fiber that minimizes constipation a prevalent problem during pregnancy. Carbohydrates are high in B vitamins and contributes to cell division of the fetus and is also high in zinc, selenium, chromium, magnesium it prevents anaemia and is fuel for the expectant mother as well. The food items that are good sources of carbohydrates are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, pastas and cereals.

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