Nutrition during pregnancy

An essential prerequisite for unproblematic pregnancy course in mother and child is the adapted diet. Not only the adequate supply of calories is important, but also the right composition of nutrients. They allow a normal development of the growing child and at the same time reduce the likelihood of malformations. Likewise, the pregnant women can prevent nutritional deficiencies through proper nutrition. The following recommendations contribute, according to the latest findings from research, to minimizing the risk of incorrect nutrition.

Energy needs during pregnancy

Not only the growth of the child but also the increase in size and the supply of the necessary for the pregnancy and lactation organs such as placenta (uterus), uterus (uterus) or mammary gland tissue increase the energy demand. However, one should not overestimate the additional energy consumption. The motto for two to eat should not be followed. As a guideline, one should assume an additional energy requirement of about 300 kcal / day from the fourth month of pregnancy.

Avoid sweets as much as possible

Basically, the same recommendations apply to the proportionate composition of the food as outside of pregnancy. Certainly expectant mothers should pay more attention. The coverage of calorie needs should be mainly (55 percent) made by carbohydrates. Make sure that you eat them in the form of vitamin-rich foods (wholemeal bread, whole grain rice, potatoes, vegetables and fruits). The intake of "empty", sugar-rich calories (sweets) should be reduced to a maximum of 10 percent of total carbohydrate intake.

Eggs, meat, fish, poultry and dairy products are important

Proteins are indispensable building materials for the child's organism and for the adaptation of maternal organs to pregnancy. However, the different protein sources also contain different compositions of the amino acids (protein building blocks). The level of valence of proteins depends on their usability by the human organism. Particularly valuable are proteins that optimally meet the needs in their composition. Eggs, meat, fish, poultry and dairy products are therefore high-quality protein suppliers, which should not be left out during pregnancy.

Vegetable protein sources can be improved in their value by combination (eg legumes with cereals). Taking into account that a larger amount is necessary to meet the protein requirement, herbal products (especially in combination with animal products) are suitable foods, as they also contain other valuable substances.

Avoid too many fats

Especially during pregnancy, it is important to ensure the supply of high-quality, essential fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids are found in vegetable oils (thistle oil, corn oil, sunflower oil) and fish and shellfish. In general, however, the fat content in the diet should be kept low, as this is mainly responsible for unwanted weight gain during pregnancy.

Increased need for minerals

There is an increased need for calcium, iodine, iron and zinc in minerals. An increased intake of fluorine and magnesium is not necessary, but recommended. Fluor provides caries prophylaxis. Magnesium reduces the occurrence of premature labor and calf cramps. The calcium requirement increases during pregnancy from 1 mg to 1.2 mg daily. If not enough milk and dairy products are consumed, deficiency symptoms can occur. Therefore, the additional intake of calcium supplements makes sense.

The iron requirement increases twice during pregnancy (from normal 15 mg to 30 mg daily). Since the optimal intake of iron is especially through the consumption of abundant muscle meat, a substitution with iron preparations is also recommended here. This especially if animal products are taken only in limited quantities.

Minerals: iodine in tablet form is recommended

In the past, iodine deficiency was responsible for sometimes serious developmental disorders (cretinism) in newborns. Even today, iodine deficiency symptoms are not uncommon in pregnancy for mother and child. Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) can cause complications later in life (thyroid dysfunction, developmental disorders and metabolic problems). Although the postnatal examinations reveal striking iodine deficiency, the additional intake of iodine in tablet form is recommended for every pregnant woman. The intake of iodized salt and fish often can not fully meet the demand.

mineralsPercentage additional demandRecommended total intake
iron100%30 mg
magnesium33%400 mg
zinc25%15 mg
calcium20%1200 mg
iodine15%230 μg
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