The menu of a baby boomer - ABCs of nutrition during pregnancy

Pregnancy is an amazing time not only for the mother-to-be, but also for her body. First of all, it needs more energy and nutrients. About which products to reach for and which to avoid tells our nutritionist Natalia Parulska, M.Sc..

Not for two, but for two

The basic rules of diet during pregnancy are not very different from the rules of rational nutrition. The mother-to-be should choose the least processed products of all groups - lean meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, pulses, whole grain cereal products (groats, unsweetened flakes, rice, whole grain pasta, good quality sourdough bread), vegetables and fruits. Pregnancy is associated with increased energy expenditure. In the first trimester it is practically insignificant, while in the second trimester the energy value of the daily menu should increase by about 350 kcal, and in the third trimester by almost 500 kcal. Roughly speaking, this can be determined in such a way that in the second trimester a woman should eat as much extra per day as for breakfast, while in the third trimester as much as for lunch (assuming a rational diet). Eating for two will certainly not affect better nutrition of the baby. Far more important is the quality of the food consumed during pregnancy.

Important proper weight gain

Weight gain during pregnancy is necessary for its proper development. What does it result from? A new body is being formed, which at the end of pregnancy will weigh about 3.5 kg, the uterus will weigh 1 kg, the placenta will weigh 0.8 kg, amniotic fluid will weigh 1.2 kg, breast weight will increase by about 0.5 kg, plasma volume will increase by 1.5 kg, while 1.5 kg will be water retained in the body. This makes a total of about 10 kg, the remaining kilograms will be adipose tissue. Women who increase their body weight by 30 kg during pregnancy primarily accumulate fat reserves. The number of kilograms by which a woman should increase her body weight depends on how much she weighed before becoming pregnant. Below is the formula for BMI(Body Mass Index ), from which you can estimate the desired weight gain.

BMI (Body Mass Index, body mass index).

Food hygiene and safety during pregnancy

During pregnancy, you should pay special attention to it. I have collected in points what should be absolutely avoided and on which issues you should consult your doctor. 

  • Absolutely avoid: raw meat such as tartare, raw or undercooked fish and seafood such as sushi, undercooked and raw eggs (e.g. homemade mayonnaise, cogel-mogel, tiramisu), unpasteurized milk and processed foods, foods from uncertain sources (fast food, home-cured meats processed at too low temperatures, organic foods e.g. soft cheeses from unpasteurized milk), prepared delicatessen products, unwashed fruits and vegetables, raw sprouts.
  • The temperature in the refrigerator should be set to low (below 4ᵒ C), perishable foods such as cold cuts should not be stored in it for more than 4 days, the refrigerator should be washed regularly, e.g. once a week before putting in larger purchases to avoid the growth of bacteria, fungi and mold. Cutting boards, knives, countertops in contact with raw meat and hands after contact with raw meat or eggs should be washed especially thoroughly.
  • Alcohol in pregnancy is forbidden in any form, and caffeine - coffee, strong teas, coca cola, energy drinks - should also be avoided.
  • Consumption of herbs (e.g., herbal teas) should also be consulted with the pregnancy doctor.
  • Avoid sweetened beverages, flavored waters, smoked foods, liver, fish with the highest levels of contamination (Baltic salmon and herring, shark, swordfish, mackerel, tuna), fast food, powdered soups and sauces, stock cubes, delicatessen products, chips, crackers, cookies, wafers, chocolate-like products, sweeteners.

To satiety does not always mean satiating the body - it is important to remember this, not only while pregnant. If the mother-to-be provides her body with the right amount of nutrients in her diet, she will also provide them to her baby. It is advisable to get knowledge about nutrition of mother and toddler only from reliable sources and use the knowledge of a good nutritionist and enjoy this wonderful time that is motherhood. 

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The information contained in this article is for general information and educational purposes. They are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended that you consult your doctor or other qualified health care professional for advice on your specific symptoms, ailments or condition.