Pregnancy Nutrition

A woman’s nutrition status pre and during pregnancy can have a significant impact on both the mother and the baby s health and general pregnancy outcome. Certain nutrients such as iron, folic acid, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D become even more vital during pregnancy for the growth and development of the baby.

Written for Dischem.

Pregnancy always comes with excessive weight gain and I always see may women looking for measure to reduce weight during pregnancy. I want to assure all pregnant women not to worry about picking up weight during pregnancy because it is actually necessary for the growth and development of the baby, and generally positive pregnancy outcome. restrictive diets are totally not recommended as they may impair the growth and development of the baby. Appropriate pregnancy weight gain is essential for both the mother and baby health, it prevents prematurity , neural tube defects, low birth weight and malnutrition. If one was underweight during conception they are expected to gain 12-18kg by the end of the pregnancy, Normal weight 11,5-16kg, overweight 7-11.5k, while obese people are expected to have gained only 5-9kg by the end of the pregnancy. Tis does not necessarily mean one has to eat unhealthy fatty meals and become inactive  as excessive weight gain and obesity may have adverse pregnancy outcomes including; elevated blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and giving birth to big macrosomic babies that become at risk of chronic diseases of lifestyle later in life. Only 2-4kg of the weight gained during pregnancy goes to the maternal reserves while the rest goes to

  1. Baby; 2.7-4kg
  2. Placenta; 0.68kg
  3. Amniotic fluid; about 1 kg
  4. Womb; about 1kg
  5. Breast;1-2kg
  6. Body fluids; 1.4kg

Therefore losing this weight post pregnancy should be easy, and more quicker when one is breastfeeding and eating healthy.

pregnant women are encouraged to consume a diet high in whole grain unrefined starches, fruits, vegetable, nuts , legumes, low fat dairy products and lean meats. Fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, trout and sardines must be consumed at least twice a week to support the baby’s neural development. Caffeine can be consumed in moderation i.e less than 200g/day which is equivalent to 2 cups of coffee daily, alcohol not allowed. Raw and smoked fish should be avoided

Food safety is also vital during this period, avoid eating uncooked meat at all cost, unpasteurised dairy products, raw sea foods such as sushi and oysters as they may habour bacteria and result in food poisoning. fruits and vegetables should be washed throughly

Multivitamin supplements prescribed by a healthcare professional are mandatory to prevent nutrient deficiencies that may come with increased nutrition requirements.

Recipe:Sweet chilli pilchards stew:

1 small onion diced

1 clove garlic chopped

! table spoon canola/olive oil

2 small tomatoes

400g sweet chilli pilchards

 1 tspn mixed herb

Salt and pepper

Fresh parsley

Sautee onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes, add the diced tomatoes until well cooked, stir in the tinned pilchards and all the seasoning then use the fresh parsley to ganish. Serve with a starch of your choice; pasta/rice/ pap  And add a low calorie vegetable like spinach cabbage  to balance the meal.

This is a low fat quality protein that has almost all the nutrients necessary in pregnancy

Smoothie to kickstart the day:

5 small  strawberries

1small frozen banana

A handful of oats

125ml low fat milk

Blend and enjoy a healthy meal packed with antioxidants in a glass

Overnight oats

Half a cup (125ml oats)

Half a cup plain yogurt

A handful of berries

Mix and refrigerate  overnight

Splash with low fat milk and cinnamon in the morning

Enjoy an easy to prepare, high fiber, high nutrient breakfast