What should you eat when you are pregnant?
Fruits and vegetables are, of course, essential – they are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. For the pregnant woman who does not have much appetite or is prone to nausea, they are often better tolerated than anything because of their freshness.
It’s a good idea to incorporate legumes into your menus. Rich in protein, they are satiating and provide energy for the day. The fibers they contain also help prevent intestinal problems and constipation.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, should be part of the mother’s diet because of their concentration of omega-3, a nutrient essential for the formation of the brain, eyes and skin of the baby.
So there is no risk in consuming fish, despite the mercury it can contain?
Some fish are to be avoided, but most of those found in grocery stores are safe. It is recommended, however, to limit the consumption of some of them which may contain heavy metals such as mercury. [Note: Mercury can affect the baby’s nervous system and cause many health problems.] This is the case of bluefin tuna and canned white tuna (maximum 150 g per month). And we’re doing away with some species of sport fishing, such as bass, eel and pike.
Read also: Letter to a woman about to give birth
What are the essential nutrients to add to the diet?
First, one essential: folic acid (also called folate or vitamin B9). From the beginning of pregnancy, it contributes to the formation of the neural tube of the fetus, which will become the brain and the spine. Since dietary intake does not always provide enough folic acid, it is suggested to take a supplement (between 0.4 and 1 mg per day) even before getting pregnant.
The need for iron also increases a lot. It is found in red meats, legumes (lentils, white beans), egg yolks and some vegetables (spinach, potatoes …).
Calcium is essential for making baby’s bones and teeth, and plays a key role in muscle contractions, including those of the heart. Dairy products contain some, but also some vegetables (kale, artichoke) and some legumes, such as white beans.
Vitamin D is an important ally of calcium because it promotes its absorption and use. But sometimes it is difficult to get it just in food. We must then turn to dairy products or soy beverages, which are enriched, and some fatty fish (salmon, trout, herring). If the pregnant woman is unable to consume enough, she can opt for a supplement (4000 IU per day) or a multivitamin that contains it.
What should we avoid?
Alcohol, as well as foods that can cause intoxication: cheese, meat and raw fish, as well as food prepared in grocery stores and placed in counters such as salads or chicken cut pieces. While keeping in mind these prohibitions, the future mother should not focus on that. There are so many things she can still eat!
See also: Why this dictatorship of breastfeeding?
Should we eat more during pregnancy?
We must eat a little more, but not in duplicate! During the first trimester, we are talking about 100 more calories a day, the equivalent of a fruit. During the second and third trimesters, it can go up to 400 extra calories – a muffin or a slightly larger portion of meat at meal, for example. However, one must not neglect its energy needs. Many pregnant women restrict themselves for fear of fattening, but this can affect their energy and harm the development of the fetus.
What are the consequences of a poor diet on the baby’s health?
If he does not get all the necessary nutrients, the fetus will go to the maternal reserves. For example, her calcium needs may affect the mother’s bone density if she does not consume enough. The child may also be born with too little weight or, on the contrary, overweight that could promote obesity later in life.
Are vegetarians and vegans more likely to suffer from deficiencies?
The smaller the number of foods, the less likely you are to get all the nutrients you need. But it is possible to have a vegetarian pregnancy that goes very well if your plate contains everything you need. The challenge is a little bigger for vegans, but with the help of a nutritionist, they will get there without a problem.
Where does all the weight come from the future mother?
There are of course additional calories, but especially the baby who will weigh on average between 3 and 3.5 kilos (7 and 8 pounds) at birth. Also, the enlarged uterus, the placenta (a few hundred grams), the amniotic fluid, the surplus of blood that is created, the fat that is formed to serve as a reserve of energy and in anticipation of breastfeeding. Weight gain varies from one person to another, but is usually 9 to 13 kilograms (20 to 30 pounds).
To read also: No to the diktat of the post-pregnancy thinness!
Does the diet have to stay the same during breastfeeding?
Most foods prohibited during pregnancy are allowed. The diet is less restrictive, but quality and variety are just as important. The new mother who is breastfeeding may even start drinking alcohol once in a while.
Can certain foods consumed during pregnancy promote the development of an allergy in children?
There is no evidence that a pregnant mother’s diet can cause or help prevent allergies in the unborn.
In your book, you propose many recipes to meet the needs of pregnant women. What should be the typical menu of a day?
A breakfast that appeals to mom: a fruit, whole grain bread with nut butter. In the morning, a fruit for the snack. For lunch, it can be a legume salad with a homemade muffin for dessert. In the afternoon, a handful of nuts and a small soy pudding. For dinner, a piece of fish with a salad and rice.
That’s what I would recommend to everyone. The menus and recipes in my book focus on foods that contain key nutrients for pregnancy, but it’s a healthy, balanced, and varied diet that’s right for everyone in the family.