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A healthy, balanced diet of a pregnant woman not only affects her health, but is an essential part of the proper development of the baby. What products should make their way onto a pregnant woman’s plate, and what should be avoided? 

Proper nutrition is not limited to what we eat, it is also important how we eat. There is a harmful belief that a pregnant woman eats for two – this statement should transform into thinking that she eats for two. Excessive eating is associated with the risk of obesity, diabetes or premature birth. 

The pillar of proper nutrition is to eat properly spaced meals throughout the day, eating more often, but in smaller quantities, at regular times. It is recommended to eat five meals a day: a hearty breakfast, lunch, a light, smaller dinner, and two snacks between the main meals.

During pregnancy, you should provide your body with sufficient fluids, with water at the forefront. Water not only ensures adequate hydration of the body of the mother-to-be, but also affects the proper development of the fetus and the production of amniotic fluid. Fluids that are beneficial for a pregnant woman are fruit teas and some herbs, freshly squeezed juices from fruits and vegetables. 

The diet of a pregnant woman

During pregnancy, an easily digestible diet is advisable, as a woman’s digestive system is heavily burdened, and pregnant women are more likely to face gastric problems. The products consumed should be fresh, good quality and unprocessed. Key to the proper functioning of the body is the presence in the diet of fruits and vegetables, nuts, protein sources, legumes, healthy vegetable fats. It should be noted that the need for specific products changes at different stages of pregnancy. 

First trimester of pregnancy

The first trimester does not require an increase in caloric requirements, so you should not expand your diet with more food than usual. Many women struggle with nausea at this stage, so avoid foods that irritate the stomach, drink plenty of water and eat high-protein foods. Ginger, lemon, chamomile are helpful for nausea.

A key vitamin during this period is folic acid, which is responsible for the normal development of the fetal nervous system. Folic acid is contained in green leafy vegetables: spinach, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, legumes and fruits.

Another important ingredient is iron, which is found in meat, dry pulses, green leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grain cereal products. Iron is absorbed better with vitamin C. During pregnancy there is an increased need for calcium, which you will get by eating dairy products, and iodine.  Sources of iodine are good quality sea fish, hazelnuts, eggs. 

Second trimester of pregnancy

The second trimester is associated with an increase in caloric requirements by an additional 360 kcal per day. During this period, the development of the baby’s skeletal system takes place, so you should take plenty of products containing vitamin D and calcium.

Third trimester of pregnancy 

Caloric requirements in the third trimester increase by 475 kcal. During this period, the diet must be especially rich in protein, calcium, iron, vitamins and mineral salts. Women in the third trimester of pregnancy have to face recurrent heartburn and bowel problems, so it is necessary to rely on easily digestible foods, rich in fiber. It is worth minimizing the consumption of salt, as salt retains water and causes edema. 

What not to eat during pregnancy

There are some products that should be avoided during pregnancy: raw products such as meat, eggs, fish and moldy cheese. Also, be sure to absolutely prohibit alcohol consumption. 

main photo: unsplash.com/freestocks

Lilliana Ross

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