In the 40 weeks of pregnancy, your body has some big jobs to do. Your baby is fully fed via the umbilical cord and must be continuously supplied with nutrients. In short: your body is in an exceptional state and working at maximum capacity. Now, more than ever, healthy nutrition is just as important as going to medical check-ups and getting plenty of exercise in the fresh air.
Eating for two?
During pregnancy, the body has a great deal to cope with
Enough nutrients are important
All the nourishment a baby needs is taken from the mother’s blood and, if necessary, the baby will even draw upon his or her mother’s reserves. Folic acid, iodine and iron are essential to the baby’s mental and physical development. If the supply is good, mother and baby will thrive. So both mother and baby benefit from a good nutrition.
Please note that breastfeeding demands a great deal of the mother too, so during that time you should make sure you have a balanced diet and an adequate nutrient intake.
The old rule, to “eat for two”, is an old wives’ tale
It is an old wives’ tale that you have to “eat for two”. During the first three months, expectant mothers will have no need for additional calories. Only later on, from the fourth month, should you eat around 250 kcal more per day. That is about the equivalent of just an extra portion of muesli or a sandwich.
So, how can you achieve “healthy nutrition”? Well, it all depends on the ingredients of the food. This means that your diet should be as varied as possible and deliver vitamins and minerals, but not excess calories. It is not the quantity that matters, but the quality.
In this context, experts talk about a high density of nutrients. In plain terms, an ideal diet in pregnancy contains a daily intake of fruit, vegetables, salads, potatoes, whole-grain products, low-fat dairy products, regular sea fish for the supply of Omega-3 fatty acids and occasionally some low-fat meat. It is also important to drink enough.
Even if you do manage to maintain a health-conscious diet, the requirements of certain nutrients may not be covered sufficiently. Deficits are frequent, and particularly in folic acid, iodine and the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
This is why nutritional experts recommend a dietary supplement tailored to the specific needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women during these stages. Please consult your gynaecologist in this matter.
Better less, but more often
Do not eat more than usual. Eat better. You are allowed to eat everything you want, but the meals have to be properly spread over the day:
- a full breakfast
- a main meal at lunch
- in the evening something small and light
- one or two small snacks in between
Recommendation for various groups of food