Though every pregnancy is vastly different and while one woman will have certain cravings and aversions that others simply do not, nutrition during pregnancy is something that should be paid close attention to.
Nutrition during pregnancy is important not only because it provides valuable nutrients to the baby and mother; it is also important because the right kind of nutrition during pregnancy will help to alleviate some of the discomforts of pregnancy.
While weight gain is inevitable and actually required during pregnancy it should be within the prescribed parameters of weight gain. Excessive weight gain will again cause problems.
If a woman is of normal weight prior to getting pregnant, she should gain anywhere between 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. This is normal.
So while a woman does need to eat more than she would otherwise, she only needs to add about 300 calories to her normal intake.
What is even more important about nutrition during pregnancy is the source of the extra calories consumed. 300 extra calories does not mean an extra fried snack.
Rather the extra calories should come from good quality protein such as lean cuts of meat, fish, eggs, low fat milk products, nuts, legumes etc.
These provide not only proteins which are known as the building blocks of life, but also provide several vital nutrients that are required for the proper growth and development of the unborn child’s body and brain.
One question that women often ask is, if the baby is going to be about 7 pounds upon birth, why is it necessary to gain as much as 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy?
Proper nutrition during pregnancy contributes not only to the baby’s development, it also takes care of several other things: the body lays down some stores of fat that will come in handy for the rigors of childbirth and will then go on to sustain successful breast feeding.
The breasts themselves gain as much as two pounds and a woman may find herself going up several cup sizes in preparation for giving the newborn sustenance of mother’s milk.
The placenta that nourishes a baby through the pregnancy weighs about a pound and a half. The uterus puts on weight and then there is the extra weight of the amniotic fluid to factor into the weight gain.
Even the circulatory system of the body has been stepped up, there is more blood circulating in the mother’s system than before.
Nutrition during pregnancy is not just about weight gain and nourishment. Certain foods may also cause an aversion for which substitutes may have to be found.
For instance many women may be revolted at the smell of milk when pregnant. However, milk protein and the calcium contained in it is important for the mother to ingest so substitutes such as yoghurt, cheese, cottage cheese etc could be tried.
Further, some foods should be avoided because they may cause heartburn and acidity and even nausea which could be common complaints during the final stages of pregnancy.