Pregnancy is not the all-you-can-eat nine-month long buffet as you might think. Sure, you need sufficient nutrients to give baby the best start in life. And yes, you’ll most likely experience cravings too. But eating a balanced diet now is more important now than ever – eating right (not necessarily much more) during pregnancy can mean a healthier child, not to mention a healthy you for many years to come.
SKIN spoke to Dr Claudine Tan, Specialist in O&G from SBCC Women’s Clinic, to help you shape up a eat-right strategy for well-nourished beautiful baby and a yummy mummy.
Hear this: In general, you do not need extra calories for the first two trimesters. You’ll only need to increase your calorie intake by about 200kcal per day (2 glasses of low-fat milk or a tuna sandwich) for the last 12 weeks of your pregnancy.
The old myth of eating for two really applies more to the quality of nutrients rather than quantity of calories. Hormonal upheaval often causes morning sickness and appetite changes during this crucial period of early foetal development. So make each mouthful count by knowing your nutrient needs and opting for “nutrient-dense” foods:
Your baby is growing and your food cravings may escalate too. But this is no time to double your portions! In fact, many women may reduce their activities as their bellies swell and actually expend fewer calories.
The amount of pounds you should pack on depends on your weight and BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy. But studies suggest an average total weight gain of 10 to 16kg to be normal.
Excess kilos can lead to hypertensive disorders, gestational diabetes and large babies (which translate a difficult delivery, and potential long-term impact on your child’s and your own health). It can also result in difficulties in ultrasound assessment of foetal growth and well-being.
Your best bet is to maintain a balanced diet as in the first trimester, limit your intake of fatty and processed foods, and enrich your diet with these essential minerals and vitamins:
Your baby is counting on you to fuel its last spurt of growth, so continue to your good job of eating well. In addition to increasing calorie consumption and maintaining your blood levels with iron- and vitamin-rich foods, it is also important to keep prep your body and mind for the delivery by incorporating breathing and suitable stretching exercises.
FOODS YOU SHOULD AVOID
Most foods are generally safe in pregnancy. However, it is recommended that you avoid the following:
– By Michelle Wenli
*This article has been selected Editor’s Choice for Jul 2012*