23 Jun Nutrition – before, during and after pregnancy
Dt. Jenifer Antony is Nutritionist by profession. She has completed her graduation in Food Science and Nutrition and her Post Graduation in Clinical Nutrition. She is a research scholar in Biomedical Science and guides people about health to serve mankind.
It is an important consideration to be given to the body and soul to get pregnant. Being or becoming healthy before pregnancy helps the mother and fetus to develop well without any nutrient deficiency. Proper planning should be started at 3 to 6 months before getting pregnant. Pre-planning helps the body to restore all the nutrients and becoming ready to conceive a baby mentally and physically. Researchers insist that women who didn’t have a well-balanced diet before pregnancy suffers from nutritional demands during pregnancy and it affects the fetus.
Factors such as age should be above 21 is desired to get a healthy pregnancy. Studies say that underweight women are more likely to give birth to underweight babies. Hence, weight for height to be checked before planning for pregnancy. Weight can be increased by a proper balanced diet. In the case of anemia, iron, folic acid vitamin C is highly recommended. On the other hand, obese women have a high chance of getting gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Thus overweight women should reduce excess weight without losing nutrients.
What you eat can play a vital role, avoid excess salt substitute, processed products, sugars, sweet beverages, bakery products and organic meat which can make the women suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy. Consulting a dietitian is better than self-dieting.
During Pregnancy follow a healthy diet. The diet should cover all the food groups such as cereals, pulses, milk, milk products, Fish, poultry, meat, nuts, oilseeds, fruits and, vegetables. Keeping a balanced and nutritious diet is easier to lead a healthy pregnancy.
Generally, a pregnant mother needs extra calorie up to 300-350 grams per day to meet the recommended dietary allowances which help to meet the need of her fetus. During the first trimester, an additional 0.5g of protein per day is recommended, the second trimester need 6.9g of protein per day and at third trimester 22.7g of protein is recommended per day.
Folic acid is an essential dietary supplement to be taken throughout the pregnancy to prevent the malformation of the fetus. Consuming more Iron, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D and,calcium-rich foods is important for the formation of red blood cells for both mother and fetus. With the help of physiotherapists and physician advice making the women engage in physical activity is encouraged.
Some women could suffer from hyperemesis during the first trimester or till the third trimester. In such a case, medical supervision is a must to prevent the fetus and mother from dehydration and abortion due to nutrient loss through hematemesis. Each mother is unique. The symptoms are not the same for everyone, it differs from person to person and hereditary plays a key role. Understanding a woman who undergoes hormonal treatment during pregnancy is quite challenging.
After pregnancy breastfeeding is mandatory, which helps the baby to grow stronger and sharper.
Maintaining a comfortable posture while feeding the baby is crucial for cesarean mothers. The mothers who had cesarean will have tremendous pain and find it difficult to feed the baby. It can be sorted by physician advice.
Drinking plenty of water is must up to 8-10 glasses a day. Eat protein-rich foods. Protein helps to heal faster. Also, have fiber-rich fruits and vegetables in a regular diet to avoid constipation. Avoid certain types of fishes that have high mercury content which affects the baby liver through breastmilk and develops jaundice. Avoid junk foods and carbonated beverages.
Post-partum makes the mother develop a loss of self-confidence due to weight gain. Breastfeeding helps to shrink uterus faster. Be patience for the first 3 to 6 months after delivery. Weight can be reduced slowly and gradually by physical activity. Exercise helps to promote good sleep, tones muscle, strengthens backbone, regains posture, relieves constipation and bloating. Brisk walking for 20-30 minutes helps to relieve stress.
Overall mental and physical support is important. The environment and society should favor the women to blow in her own way of uniqueness.