Nutritional requirements of the pregnant mother
In such cases 300 calories and 15 gm protein more than usual pre–pregnancy requirement is adequate during pregnancy. The requirement of other nutrients too is higher during this period. Use of a daily food guide may be helpful for selecting proper foods to meet these additional requirements. In case of mothers who have not been well nourished during pre–pregnancy period, special care is required to yellow fruits & vegetables: Source of proteins provide additional nutrients during pregnancy.
Additional nutritional requirements of pregnant mother:
Two servings from the protein group of daily food guide, preferably milk, fish, eggs or poultry, which provide protein of high biological value. In addition, one serving of green leafy vegetables or yellow orange vegetables or fruits and 1 to 2 servings of citrus fruits is recommended in addition to usual balanced diet.
Indications of sufficient food intake during pregnancy
Normally, weight gain during pregnancy indicates food adequacy. About 1 to 1.5 kg weight gain during first trimester and 450 gm/per week thereafter during remaining period of pregnancy is normal. This means a total non–edematous weight gain of 10 to 12 kg during entire period of pregnancy. What needs to be carefully observed is the abnormal weight gain, which could be due to excess water retention.
Dietary considerations during pregnancy
Small and frequent feeds:
- During initial period of pregnancy the mother experiences nausea and loss of appetite and during later part, to avoid discomfort after large meals due to pressure of enlarged uterus on other organs in abdominal cavity.
- Nutrient dense foods help in providing required nutrients in smaller quantity.
- Adequate amount of soluble and insoluble fiber to avoid constipation.
- Plenty of fluid helps eliminating all excretory products.
- Regular and steady level of food intake to help steady weight gain, proper digestion and elimination.
- Avoid fatty, rich food, fried food, excessive seasoning, coffee in large quantity, and strongly flavored food.