Nutritionist Müge Özyurt Şafak
IMPORTANCE OF NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” says the legendary thinker Lao Tzu and this little piece of wisdom is here to comfort you. Because you’re about to make your first step in your pregnancy journey a rewarding one. Adequate and balanced nutrition is the crucial first task in your pregnancy just like it is in all periods of life. Never forget, nutrition is the ultimate key. It has utmost importance to ensure that you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy; and at the end the world welcomes your little baby in a beautiful, healthy way.
To begin this journey that will enrich your life forever, we’ll start enriching your diet. Let us explain how a balanced diet should be by dividing pregnancy to periods. Pregnancy is typically divided into three periods. Each one is called trimester. The first trimester is the first 13 periods of pregnancy. The second trimester is the period that spans from week 14 to week 26. The third trimester is the period from week 27 to week 40.
First trimester nutrition
You’ve made many plans, set many schedules up until now for your daily routines, your work, your social life, haven’t you? Now, it’s time to make the ultimate plan for you and your baby and we will do this great plan together. The best way to ensure you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby is to set for yourself an ideal ‘pregnancy program’. Keep in mind: You are never, ever late to start a healthy diet.
In the first trimester, you should brace yourself to pregnancy and this miraculous time of your life. First go through your diet. Simply because how you eat determines the basic nutritional health that your child is born with. The nutrients the baby needs are supplied by placenta. You should consult your doctor and start or continue taking folic acid based on your doctor's recommendation. This period is essential for your baby's growth and development so you should try to break your bad habits like eating snacks, smoking and drinking alcohol. Remember; what you eat is what feeds your baby.
For sure, this period may have its own little challenges, along with the joy and excitement it brings. In fact, while you are still struggling to acknowledge your pregnancy, the most critical building blocks of your baby's development are beginning to form. The first 3 months are the most crucial ones. Therefore, as soon as you find out that you are pregnant, start planning your healthy and adequate diet. Here are the food groups that are essential for this period;
• Carbohydrates are your body’s main sources of energy. Especially complex carbohydrates should be preferred (whole wheat bread, vegetables-fruits, legumes, whole grains etc.) Do not cut back on carbs with the fear of gaining weight. What you should simply do is to consume healthy carbs in adequate amounts. In the first few months, 6-8 portions is enough. 1 portion = 1 slice of whole wheat bread = 1 cup of soup = 3 table spoon bulgur wheat/pasta.
• Include high quality proteins in your diet. That means, you should have already started eating 1 egg a day; at least 1 meal of red meat, chicken, fish or legume, 3 glasses of milk, yoghurt or drink made of yoghurt and water.
• Calcium, iron, folic acid, iodine, vitamins like Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 and minerals t are extremely important for your and your baby's health. They must be taken in adequate amounts and if any deficiency is detected, supplements should be taken under a physician's supervision.
• Bone mineralization of the baby depends on maternal calcium and phosphor. So it is important that you have calcium rich foods in your diet. Milk, yoghurt, cheese, molasses, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes are good sources of calcium. (1 glass of milk: 240mg, 1 slice of (30g) feta cheese: 70mg, 1 slice (30g) of kashar cheese: 230mg, 1 cup of yoghurt: 180 mg calcium)
• Consuming extreme caffeine is associated with low bone density and low calcium levels of the fetus and it also prevents mineral absorption, increasing the risk of anemia. It may be hard for you to start off the day without a Grande Latte but still, do yourself and your baby a favor and please avoid caffeine-containing foods. When we think of caffeine, the first thing that comes to our mind is coffee; but keep also in mind that cacao, chocolate, carbonated drinks, black and green tea also contains caffeine. Therefore you should limit your caffeine intake. Following the harsh realities of life, now for it’s time the good news (as your inspiring journey will always be filled with good and joyful news, always!) If you are loyal tea or coffee drinker, you may relax with maximum 3-4 glasses of weak tea per day. And another lovely treat coming ahead: You may drink 1 cup of coffee with milk once or twice a week.
• Now, close your eyes, leave all the hustle and bustle behind and imagine the magical world of your baby. Yes, the one just right in there, in your womb. Imagine your baby lying peacefully in this safe and sound place filled with water, enjoying the pool, with soft, delicate touches... You should preserve the magic of this aqua world. Therefore you should pay attention to drinking 2 liters of water every day. If you feel that would be too much, again, some little good news for you: You may satisfy your fluid need with drinks like ayran (drink made of yoghurt and water), sugar free compote and soup.
How much energy do you need and how much should you eat to meet this energy need? Please click on the next page to learn.
Nutritionist Müge Özyurt Şafak