Nutrition Tips During Pregnancy

Damla Arslan
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In last month’s article, at the request of you, dear mothers and expectant mothers, I wrote the answers to the questions: “Can I diet during pregnancy?” and “How should weight gain in pregnancy be?”. As a follow-up to this topic, this month I have prepared a new content for you about nutrition recommendations in pregnancy. It is possible to maximize the development of your child by eating a healthy diet during pregnancy and to have a comfortable period without gaining excess weight… Let’s have a look together 🙂

How Much Energy Should Be Taken in Pregnancy?

When a pregnant woman is compared to a healthy normal woman, the pregnant woman needs more energy and nutrients because the rate of basal metabolism increases during pregnancy by 20% on average. This increase is essential for the mother’s own health as well as for the normal development of the baby. Do you know the answer to the question, “How much calories are needed daily in pregnancy?“.

Each individual needs different energy and nutrients. When calculating calories, there are many factors such as gender, age, physical activity. However, to explain in a general table, the studies emphasize that after the 20th week of pregnancy you need to take 300 kcal per day in addition to the normal energy. This means that if the total energy you receive as a healthy individual is 2000 kcal per day, after 20 weeks your daily energy intake should be 2300 kcal.

How Much should Nutrient Requirement be During Pregnancy?

Carbohydrates, oils and proteins are macro nutrients that give energy to our bodies. The need for these nutrients during pregnancy increases in direct proportion to your baby’s development. During pregnancy, 15% of daily energy intake should be from proteins, 25-30% from oils and 60-65% from carbohydrates.

How should carbohydrate consumption be in pregnancy?

Carbohydrate intake during pregnancy should not be provided from tea sugar and similar foods, which we call glucide, and their excessive consumption should be avoided. This empty energy source will cause you to gain excess weight. Instead, you need your energy to be taken from vegetables, fruits, grains and dried legumes, which we call complex carbohydrates. Doing so will increase your fiber intake and help your bowel system to function properly. Unfortunately, some expectant mothers are trying to cut or limit carbohydrates for fear of gaining weight.

It has been proved in studies that limiting carbohydrate intake during pregnancy has negative effects on brain development, glycogen (storage carbohydrate) levels and nervous conduction system in fetus.

How should protein consumption be during pregnancy?

Protein, which is the building block of the body, is the nutrient that provides the formation of organ and tissue cells. 60% of our daily protein should be provided from foods with high biological value. This means that if you take 100g of protein, you have to consume 60g of it as animal origin protein. Protein is very important for the growth and development of the baby. Since the fetus grows faster in the last 6 months of pregnancy, the need for protein increases. During this period, 5 grams of protein is taken from the mother daily. In order to achieve this balance, it is recommended that pregnant women receive 60g of protein per day.

Animal origin proteins are red and white meats, milk and dairy products, eggs. If you consume these foods, minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2) vitamin and minerals will be taken to your body as well as protein.

How should oil consumption be during pregnancy?

One of the most important nutritional elements that determine the effectiveness of breast milk as well as the growth and development of your baby is the distribution of fatty acids in the body and the oil store. 50-60% of the brain consists of oil. Oil intake during pregnancy should be rich in PUFA, which we call polyunsaturated fatty acids. The increase on the intake of PUFA, which is rich in omega-3 content, and of DHA supports the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. DHA intake also contributes to the development of retina in the eye as well as the brain. You can take Omega-3 from oily fish such as salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds.

Daily Nutrition Program for Pregnancy Sample Menu

Breakfast:

  • 1 glass of milk
  • 1 egg or 1 slice (30g) of white cheese
  • Cold cuts (seasonal vegetables)
  • 1 tablespoon of molasses2
  • slices of brown bread (50)
  • Linden or fennel (without sugar)

Snacks:

  • 1 fruit + 2-3 whole walnuts or 8-10 pieces of raw almonds or raw nuts

Lunch:

  • 1 dish of vegetable dish or legume dish with meat or minced meat (60g meat in 1 dish)
  • 4 tablespoons rice or pasta
  • 1 bowl of yogurt or tzatziki
  • 1 slice of brown bread (25g)

Snacks:

  • 1 glass of milk or kefir or yoghurt, with 1 serving of fruit

Dinner

  • 1 bowl of soup
  • 60g meat or meatballs or 1 dish of vegetables with meat
  • Seasonal Salad
  • 1 slice of brown bread (25g)

Snacks:

  • 1 glass of milk or kefir or yoghurt, with 1 serving of fruit

Note: The quantities in this menu can be increased or decreased according to the individual. 1 coffee spoon of olive oil can be put in the salad.

This sample menu is written to help you a bit. There are privileges according to one’s weight, energy requirement and diet. You can think of this menu as a map where you will see the foods you need to consume.

In my next article, I will be informing you mothers about the vitamins and minerals that are necessary in pregnancy. Until then, I hope you will get the best nutrition for your baby and yourself…

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