What your Diet should contain during Your Pregnancy

Having a healthy diet during pregnancy and getting all the nutrients you and your baby need is very important. Fine-tuning your diet will ensure the health of both you and your baby.

In the pregnancy period your body becomes more efficient and makes better use of the energy you receive from your food so you only need to consume around 300 extra calories per day.

Your diet should consist of enriched foods, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta and rice, as well as fruits and vegetables. You should also include good protein sources at every meal to support the baby’s growth, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, milk and nuts.

Whole-grain breads contain the much needed essential carbohydrates while they also provide fiber, iron and B-vitamins.

Dairy products should also be consumed (3-4 servings per day) as they provide the much needed dose of Calcium (at least 1000 mg of calcium is needed daily), that are essential in your baby building strong teeth and bones, normal blood clotting, and muscle and nerve function .

The fruits and vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and are rich in vitamins and fibers so these will be very important during your pregnancy. You can get from here your needed daily dose of at least 0.4 mg of folic acid (from dark green leafy vegetables, lack or lima beans, black-eyed peas, veal) or the needed daily dose of at least 70 mg of Vitamin C (from oranges, grapefruits and honeydew, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts).

Vitamin supplements can only complement a healthy diet during pregnancy but we advise you consult your Doctor and establish which work best for you.

Top folate foods during pregnancy

Folic acid – or folate, when absorbed from food – is very important during pregnancy and infancy. Also called Vitamin B9, folic acid aids the rapid cell division and cell growth, especially during the preconception period and during the first trimester of pregnancy. Thus, if you’re planning to get pregnant, you should have a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid (or folate absorbed from foods) during your prenatal diet. This will help reduce the risk for birth defects in the brain and the spine. Continue to maintain this level of folate right after conceiving and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

If you’re not at ease with taking folic acid as a dietary supplement, include these folate-rich foods in your diet.

Lentils

Lentils are very rich in folate. Only 100g of boiled lentils (or 40g of raw lentils) contain almost half of your daily dose of 400µg of folate. Lentils are also a good source of iron, dietary fibre and zinc.

Spinach

100g of raw spinach in your salad will take care of half of the folate amount needed for the day. Other leafy greens are good sources of folate, but spinach is particularly rich in folate and iron, which makes it a top choice for your salads.

Turnip Tops

100g of boiled turnip tops contain 118µg of folate, which covers about 30% of your folate intake need for the day. To reduce the bitter taste of the leaves, change the water from the initial boiling with fresh water. Turnip tops are also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Calcium. Here are the most important 7 vitamins and minerals during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Fortified cereals

Breads and cereals enriched with folic acid typically contain more than double the amount of folate found in grain products. Ideally, you should combine fortified cereals or breads with foods that are naturally rich in folate. For instance, you can try adding banana and orange slices in your cereal bowl, or eat fortified bread with a spinach salad.

Kidney beans

Red kidney beans are an excellent natural source of folate. 100g of uncooked red kidney beans, which amount to a couple of servings, will cover your entire daily recommended dose of folate. They do, however, require pre-soaking and then boiling for at least 10 minutes in order to reduce their toxicity.

Chicken liver is also a very rich source of folate, but it is not recommended during pregnancy due to its high levels of retinol – a form of Vitamin A. High levels of retinol in your body are not healthy during pregnancy, which is why you need avoid consuming liver, liver products and dietary supplements that contain retinol.

12th Week of Pregnancy

In this last week of your first trimester of pregnancy, your baby will start moving around more, flexing muscles and kicking. It’s now time to switch to comfy maternity wear and discuss with your midwife about changes for the next trimester.

Your baby’s development

Most babies are about the size of a kiwi by at week 12, and a bump may become visible by the end of the first trimester. Your baby’s legs and arms are fully formed, and reflexes have appeared. You might not feel these moves, but your baby will feel when you press your tummy. She can already move her fingers and wiggle her toes. If you’ll have an ultrasound this week, you’ll see that the face looks much more like a human face, with the eyes close together and the ears in the right position.

How your days are changing

You may experience dizziness or the feeling of fainting during the 12th week, especially when standing up briskly. This is caused by the rise of progesterone levels in your body. The role of progesterone is to increase the blood flow to the baby, which means that the blood flow in your body may slightly decrease. Don’t skip your meals and make sure that your sugar levels are sufficient.

As you enter the second trimester of pregnancy, you may notice that several symptoms have waned, such as frequent urination or having excess saliva. Certain smells may become easier to detect. If you’re having problems with strong smells that make you feel nauseous, keep a citrus scent at hand, maybe on your scarf. Your appetite should increase over the next weeks, and you will need plenty of Vitamin C, Zinc, Calcium, Beta-carotene and omega oils for a healthy development. Find out the basic nutritional needs for your second trimester and the recommended food sources.

Ultrasounds in week 12

The Nuchal Translucency scan is ideally carried during the 12th week. This is the first ultrasound to check the baby’s measurements and it also assesses the risk of Down syndrome. Many pregnant women have the first ultrasound during this week, to check how the development is going and to confirm the due date calculations.

Vitamin D and Pregnancy during Winter

Your Vitamin D levels during pregnancy are important for your baby’s health and help prevent certain diseases. Differences between babies born during summer and babies born after October are believed to be partly due to differences in sun exposure. Because the amount of sun exposure is higher during late spring, summer and beginning of autumn than the rest of the year, women who are pregnant in this period benefit from more Vitamin D intake on average.

Effects of Vitamin D intake during pregnancy

What does this mean? Your baby needs Vitamin D for growth, especially in the second half of pregnancy, when ossification processes and bone growth are developing. Babies born during the summer are more likely to have bigger bones than babies born during the winter season. On average, “summer babies” are 5 mm taller than “winter babies”. This difference is correlated with the difference of Vitamin D levels measured in the blood of the mothers while pregnant.

Vitamin D has many other benefits for maternal and fetal health. It has important effects for the immune system and it may play a role in preventing food allergies, asthma and preeclampsia. Try to spend as much time as possible in daylight, especially during the winter season, when days are shorter.

Food sources of Vitamin D and dietary supplements

Products fortified with Vitamin D are a good choice, since very few foods have sufficient Vitamin D. Cereal, milk and orange juice that are fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium are usually easy to find. Other foods rich in Vitamin D are: egg yolk, tuna, sardines and pink salmon. However, when you are pregnant, your body needs much more Vitamin D than any of these foods can supply. So if the rainy days keep you inside, vitamin supplements are a must. Always consult with your doctor beforehand.

Most pregnant women need to take dietary supplements that include Vitamin D, as intake from food is often not sufficient. The level of Vitamin D in your body can actually be measured if deficiency is suspected, so check with your doctor at the next appointment for advice on taking supplements. Talk to your midwife for nutrition and lifestyle advice that will help you increase your daily intake of Vitamin D. A tip: hold back on using sunscreen with SPF higher than 30, it reduces your Vitamin D intake.

11th Week of Pregnancy

As you’re heading towards the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, your headaches and nausea should start disappearing. In the 11th week already you may feel more active and symptoms of tiredness should fade. You may also notice an increase in appetite, so you will put on more weight in the following months. Your baby is developing complex features and you already have a pretty face for the ultrasound pic on the fridge.

How your baby is developing

At just over one inch and a half in length, your baby can now kick and he or she can even stretch fingers and toes. The kicks will become more frequent over the next 6 months, as your baby grows stronger. By the 11th week, your baby has distinct features, with tooth buds, nail beds, hair follicles and ear flaps already present. Her sense of smell also began to develop and will become more complex until week 30. By then, everything you eat and inhale will be smelled by your baby as well.

In-between the 11th and 13th week of pregnancy, the Nuchal Translucency baby scan can be carried out. This is an ultrasound scan that checks for certain issues, including Down syndrome, and reports initial measurements of your baby. Talk to your OB/GYN doctor about a recommended time for you to have this scan.

How your days are changing

As your morning sickness starts to wane, you may feel hungrier than usually. Stick to a healthy plan with nutritious food and pick fruits and crackers as snacks instead of junk food. Food cravings will also diminish in the next month, so it will be easier to have a balanced diet, with small and various meals. Include plenty of carbs in you plan and get as much protein as possible from nuts and dried fruits. Despite having the need to pee frequently (you have the hCG hormone to blame for that), you need to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid caffeine, as caffeinated drinks increase the frequency of urination. Constipation is also a common symptom due to pregnancy hormones, so it’s perfectly normal, but you can try diets that help alleviate this symptom.

You will have more energy in the following weeks, so this is the perfect time to plan a romantic trip with your partner. Most pregnant women feel at the peak of their energetic levels in the first part of the second trimester. Just make sure you’ll have everything you need for a safe travel.

10 Healthy Pregnancy Snacks That Are Actually Quick and Tasty

Ideally, you should eat small meals and plenty of snacks throughout the day during pregnancy. Eating snacks that are healthy for you is important, but not always at hand. If you’re running out of ideas, here is a list of 10 quick snacks recommended for moms to be.

Oranges

  • They contain Vitamin C and folate, so they are especially healthy during the first trimester.
  • Eat them as fruits or juiced early in the morning.

 

Fortified cereals and milk

  • Cereals are rich in fibre and are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals.
  • For those who don’t like drinking plain milk, adding cereals can be the perfect fix.
  • Add berries for extra Vitamin C and yumminess.

 

Baby carrots

  • Easy to carry around, baby carrots are rich in Vitamin A and are the perfect on-the-go snack.
  • Keep them close during your second trimester: the beta-Carotene is important for the development of your baby’s visual system.

 

Leafy greens and nuts salads

  • Fix yourself a healthy snack with spinach (or other dark green leaves), Brazil nuts, fresh cherry tomatoes and some lemon juice.
  • Leafy greens and tomatoes are rich in iron and contain essential vitamins, while Brazil nuts contain calcium and are probably the tastiest source of magnesium.
  • Eat them raw and make sure the spinach is fresh.

 

Granola bars

  • Buy granola bars with nuts or prepare them yourself (non-bake recipes are ideal)
  • Opt for the ones with honey and almond butter (rich in Magnesium), they’re delicious and healthy.
  • The perfect time for a granola bar snack is at brunch.

 

Smoothies

  • Start your morning with a fresh smoothie out of your favourite fruits for yet another awesome day of pregnancy.
  • Mix in raw or roasted almonds for Magnesium intake and a nutty flavour (roasted almonds taste better and preserve their nutritional values pretty well).
  • Check out these healthy smoothie recipes.

 

Dried fruits and nuts mix

  • Create your own trail mix of raw nuts and your favourite dried fruits.
  • The healthy picks for the trail mix are: almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and apricots.

 

Fresh fruit salad

  • Mix apples, pears, bananas, kiwi and other favourite fruits with low-fat yoghurt.
  • The benefits you’ll get are vitamins, calcium, water and energy throughout the day.
  • It is recommended to eat fruits especially in the first half of the day, after at least half an hour from the previous meal.

 

Avocado dip

  • Mush one avocado together with a small yoghurt, lemon juice, tahini paste, one scallion and a pinch of salt.
  • Avocados contain more folic acid than any other fruits, and tahini is a powerful combo of iron, calcium and magnesium.
  • Serve it with red bell peppers and eat it within a few hours at most, before the avocado will oxidise.

 

Low-fat cottage cheese

  • Cottage cheese is rich in proteins and it’s a delicious source of calcium.
  • Spread it on whole wheat bread or crackers.

The 10th Week of Pregnancy

Your baby is now just over an inch long and continues to grow fast. The foetal period begins, during which vital organs and systems will mature and develop complex functions. Fingernails and toenails begin to appear during the 10th or 11th week, and elbows and knees will soon start to form, although you won’t feel any kicking for another month or two. At the next scan you might be able to see your baby bending hands and kicking his or her legs. Look out for your little one’s hands on the monitor and maybe you’ll even spot the no longer webbed fingers.

Your baby’s spine, bones and cartilage are forming continuously, shaping a more and more human-like aspect. Teeth begin to form under your baby’s gums at this stage already, though they won’t come out until he or she will be six months old.

How your body changes

Your uterus has grown to about the size of a grapefruit during the 10th week, and your bump should also be visible by now. It’s time to shop for more comfortable, stretchy clothes or maternity wear. Save up money by adding elastic waist bands to your pants and skirts, an efficient method preferred by most expecting mums. You might be experiencing fatigue, dizziness and headaches. Make sure that you get plenty of rest while sticking to an exercise routine. Swimming, walking, and light stretching exercises are suitable for most pregnant women. Fresh air is a daily must. To reduce symptoms of dizziness, carry water and fruits or light snacks around you to keep hydrated and boost your blood-sugar when needed.

Pay special attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens in your meals. During the 10th week you should be eating with about 300 calories more per day than before pregnancy. If your symptoms include constipation, fix it with fibre and fluids. Get your fibre from whole grain products and fresh and dried fruits. Choose raw vegetables over heavily cooked meals.

Pregnancy symptoms can be strong and influence your daily mood, while causing diverse symptoms. Focus on what you can do to relieve some of the symptoms, but you might have to just wait for others to go away. You’ll find many of these symptoms will reduce or disappear during the second trimester, which is getting closer.

The Most Successful Ways to Reduce Pregnancy Stretch Marks

In the third trimester of pregnancy, most women get stretch marks as a result of the drastic gain in weight. While there are many methods to prevent their appearance, the most influential factor in the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy is genetics. And once the stretch marks have made their appearance it is almost impossible to make them completely disappear. Yet there are ways to make them fade. Here are the most recommended ones. Remember, the earlier you begin to apply them, the more effective they are!

IPL Treatment

Sessions with Intense Pulsed Light are a highly effective post-pregnancy treatment for your stretch marks if they are still red. Although there is no evidence yet that IPL treatment affects pregnant women in any way, most clinics and salons avoid treating pregnant women for extra precautions.

Pulsed dye laser

Only choose this option if your stretch marks are still red. Treatment with a pulsed dye laser device will not completely eliminate stretch marks, but it will make them appear more faded.

Prescription creams

Body creams based on retinoids (derived from Vitamin A) and glycolic acid increase the elasticity of your skin and can have visible effects if applied in the early stages of stretch marks. However, you cannot use retinoids while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor for a custom recommendation.

Exfoliation

Choose a natural exfoliator that is gentle with your skin and use it once or twice a week. Through exfoliation, dead cells are removed and your skin cells renew faster. You’ll also have a softer and more radiant skin.

Moisturize

Treat your skin with body lotion, almond oil, Shea butter, cocoa butter, or other body moisturizers. They won’t make the stretch marks disappear, but if applied early on, they will have an effect in the later stages of the stretch marks’ evolution.

Eat what’s right for your skin

Foods containing Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Zinc are your skin’s best friends.

Exercise

Physical activity keeps your skin healthy and nourished by increasing blood flow in your body. Another great thing about exercise is that it helps reduce stress, which has an impact on how your skin behaves. More than that, if you keep an exercise routine during pregnancy, you will most likely gain weight gradually and not abruptly.

Keep hydrated

Drink plenty of water to keep your skin elastic. The more elastic your skin is, the slower your stretch marks will expand.

Top 6 Celebrity Diets during Pregnancy

What are pregnant celebrities eating these days? Between struggling to stay in shape and resisting to cravings, sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine can be difficult. Find below how some celebrities managed to eat for two in a healthy way. A current trend in exercising seems to be yoga training, combined with eating fruits, nuts and fish. As for dealing with cravings and morning sickness, each one has their own unique tricks.

Kate Middleton had a healthy lifestyle before being pregnant as well, so not many sacrifices were needed. Her diet includes healthy snacks of nuts and fruits and nutritious meals with codfish, chicken, turkey and some (craved) vegetarian curry. She gave up drinking coffee and using tanning spray in order to minimize possible negative effects. Kate also reduced her intense workout and changed to lighter exercise activities, such as morning walks and pregnancy yoga. To prevent the appearance of stretch marks, Kate uses cocoa butter, which is rich in Vitamin E.

Curry dishes were also among Lily Allen’s cravings when she was pregnant with her second child, Marnie Rose. Lily also liked to spend lazy afternoons watching DVDs while drinking tea and eating sweet treats like caramel biscuits and sweetened yoghurt.

Victoria Beckham included omega-3 rich foods in her pregnancy diets, with a preference for smoked salmon. Her cravings for marmalade toast with tea are not too bad either. Many pregnant women crave for junk food, high in salt or sugar. To stay in shape, Victoria continued her yoga exercises, combined with pilates and cardio workouts.

Coleen Rooney declared she felt much more comfortable with her curves during the second pregnancy and did not hesitate to sunbathe at the beach. While exercising to stay fit, Coleen is not concerned with the gained weight, but rather with eating healthy. She used scented candles for dealing with her pregnancy cravings and was spoiled by her husband with bath oils massages for reducing backaches.

Sophie Dahl craved for pineapple during her first pregnancy, which is quite healthy and can also help with morning sickness. Sophie likes to eat organic and sustainable food, cooked from scratched and with passion.

Mel B kept a pretty strict pregnancy diet while expecting her third child, in 2011. Breakfast was the most consistent meal, including eggs, turkey and avocado. Lunch consisted of light salads with chicken or fish. She had plenty of fruits for snacks and replaced coffee with herbal tea.

Nutrition Advice for Your Third Trimester

Your baby’s growth rate will be at its highest during your third trimester. At this stage, your baby’s eyes start opening and later on detect light, breathing begins and many vital minerals are absorbed from the intestinal tract. Nutrition in these last months is as important as ever, so make sure to include these essential vitamins and minerals in your diet.

1. Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays an important role in blood coagulation and it helps prevent loosing too much blood during labour. Foods rich in Vitamin K are bananas, prunes, potato skins, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is recommended for overall maternal health and for your baby’s development. You will find it in nuts such as almonds and pine nuts and in spinach and green olives. Eating the nuts in their raw form is the healthiest option. Another excellent benefit of Vitamin E is that it helps minimise and heal stretch marks.

3. Vitamin D & Calcium

Calcium complemented by Vitamin D support the calcification of your baby’s bones and prevents forgetfulness in expecting mothers. Spending time in the sunlight is the easiest way for Vitamin D intake, as the human body can synthesize Vitamin D from sun exposure. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, tofu, sesame seeds, almonds and Brazil nuts. During rainy weather, try including mushrooms and fatty fish like Mackerel and Salmon in your diet for a sufficient intake of Vitamin D.

4. Iron

Iron keeps you energy levels up and minimizes the effects of blood loss during childbirth. There are two types of iron you can absorb from food: heme iron, which is found in meat, and non heme iron, found in vegetables. Heme iron is more easily absorbed that the iron found in vegetables. Rich sources are red meat and poultry. Dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, apricots and tomatoes are not only iron-rich, but contain other essential vitamins and minerals as well.

Try to keep your diet varied, yet keep in mind that it is recommended to not mix heme iron sources with non-heme iron sources in one meal, as the amount of each type of iron absorbed is reduced and thus total absorption is not maximized.

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