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Nutrition of pregnant women

Nutrition of pregnant women

Most of the tips that one has to hear about a future mother from others are about nutrition. True, not always these tips are really useful.

Obstetrician-gynecologist, Minsk

Let’s talk about those rumors and conjectures that are associated with nutrition during pregnancy.

Proper nutrition of the expectant mother is a necessary condition for the normal course of pregnancy, growth and development of the fetus. Of the various substances obtained with food, as from bricks, the developing baby develops. And on how good these bricks are, it depends how healthy and strong the child will be.

If the food is not built properly, the fruit, when there is a shortage of any necessary substances, takes them from the mother’s body, which leads to their lack in her body and the development of various diseases.

Probably, precisely because the topic of proper nutrition is so close to all future mothers, it is overgrown with a lot of conjectures, which are diligently imposed on pregnant women around.

This is a fairly common misconception. The needs of a pregnant woman in food substances do not increase suddenly – they change as pregnancy progresses and the baby grows.

Only in the second half of pregnancy in the third trimester (after 28 weeks) the needs for energy and nutrients increase by an average of 17%, but by no means twice, in comparison with the non-pregnant state. To meet these needs, a woman of normal weight should consume an additional 300 calories per day, that is, about 2500 kcal per day.

In the first half of pregnancy there is no need to change the amount of incoming food, because at this stage to ensure the growth of a small little man needs very little. The main thing in the diet of a pregnant woman is its rationality: the baby needs proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and trace elements. But the feeling of hunger, which can be experienced by a future mother, can not be suppressed by double dinners and suppers.

The only thing you will achieve is excessive gain of weight. The increased formation of adipose tissue in a woman can weaken labor, increase the burden on the cardiovascular system of the mother and may lead to an increase in blood pressure. Also, with excessive nutrition, a child can be born large (more than 4 kg), which complicates the normal course of childbirth.

Large children after birth are less adapted to a new environment outside the mother’s body, which is associated with more severe births, they often receive birth trauma.

In the first half of pregnancy it is better to eat 4 to 5 times a day, if possible at the same time. When a person has a constant diet, by the time of ingestion in the digestive system, the production of enzymes and digestive juices starts, which allow digesting food quickly, relieving the woman of feelings of heaviness in the stomach and heartburn.


However, it is to the vegetables and fruits growing in the territory close to the permanent place of residence that our enzyme systems that digest food are adapted. These products are less likely to cause allergy in a future mother and less likely to promote allergic vigilance in a baby than exotic vegetables and fruits, from the use of which during pregnancy should be abandoned.

If you also refuse some foods - the most likely allergens (including peanuts, citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, strawberries), this can reduce the risk of allergies in the baby's future.

Some exotic types of fish (swordfish, shark, kalzon, royal mackerel, white tuna) contain a high level of methylmercury - a metal harmful to the brain and nervous system of a growing child. Chilled raw and smoked fish, raw oysters, shellfish, sushi can contain a causative agent of listeriosis (an infectious disease transmitted through food and possessing a variety of clinical manifestations, up to the inflammation of the meninges and sepsis - infection in the blood and its spread throughout the body), the consequences of which may be miscarriage and impaired development of the fetus.

Therefore, from these gastronomic delights during pregnancy is also worth abstaining.

Many future mothers believe that if they really want something, then their body is in dire need of this particular product. Indeed, the taste during pregnancy can dramatically change, and the main reason for all this is progesterone, a hormone produced by the ovaries and the placenta to support pregnancy.

It is this hormone that triggers the search for a deficit in the mother's body and builds a program to eliminate this deficiency. So, with a lack of calcium, a desire to eat chalk appears, with a lack of folic acid, you want to chew green leaves (including leaves of wild plants), and with a deficiency of B vitamins - to drink beer.

If your preferences are related to products that do not harm the child, then you can indulge your desires: for example, if you really want meat or green vegetables, do not deny yourself these products. If it pulls on harmful, then try to replace it with something: sweets - cereal bars, soda - natural juices and fruit drinks, pickles and marinades - crackers.

In addition, this mechanism breaks down when there is a strong deficit of a substance. In conditions of a significant deficit, a vicious circle arises, when, on the contrary, the body rejects the most valuable products. For example, with a pronounced lack of iron, a metallic taste appears in the mouth, which causes aversion to meat, the most valuable food source of iron.


All carbohydrates are divided into difficult and easily digestible. The only desirable restriction applies only to easily assimilated carbohydrates (sugar, sweets, juices, fruits, buns) after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Their excess leads to an excess weight gain, a violation of carbohydrate metabolism (gestational diabetes mellitus).

The optimum source of digestible (most useful) carbohydrates are cereals. Buckwheat, millet, corn and oatmeal are very useful: they contain iron, carbohydrates, vitamins and fiber, which, although it does not provide energy to the body, must necessarily be contained in food, as it creates a feeling of satiety, contributes to the normal functioning of the intestine.

Fats are the main source of long-lasting energy in the body. Fats of vegetable origin contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can affect the activity of the cardiovascular system, smooth muscles of the intestine, female genital organs, and also contribute to the improvement of labor activity during contractions.

In addition, vegetable oils contain tocopherol (vitamin E), with a lack of which pregnancy can result in spontaneous abortion.

Animal fats can not be ruled out completely, they are the source of cholesterol, from which hormones that keep pregnancy are produced. An excellent source of animal fats is butter, sour cream and fatty cottage cheese.

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