Being pregnant can be a tough time for many women; especially when we speak about finding foods that won't get your gag reflexes going.
Chocolates, eggs, avocados and your regular foods can be foods you now want to stay away from because the smell, sight or the thought of it makes you feel sick.
I've spoken to women across many countries to find out what types of foods they're eating during pregnancy.
To my surprise, more than half of them are not reaching the pregnancy nutritional goals needed to support the healthy growth of their baby. Nearly all of these mothers said they're eating for two and by the time they were 36 weeks pregnant, found they had doubled in weight and size.
I then wanted to know why is this happening? Why are these women not aware of the foods they should be eating and the foods they should be staying away from.
I realised the issue is depending on where you live in the world; certain traditions play a massive part in the foods we choose to consume.
In Italy, they eat a lot of grains, pasta, a lot of salads which contain avocados and tomatoes and the list of vegetables goes on etc.. Whereas in Britain we have a C.R.A.P Diet we eat a lot of empty calories. Crisps, cakes, fizzy drinks, fried foods, etc
Because the education process is missing many women are eating foods which are high on the glycemic index and foods high in saturated fats and sugar. It's not surprising as the nutritional recommendations are not clear.
We hear loudly you need to eat more, you're eating for two now, but realistically you shouldn't start eating more because your energy requirements have not changed from before you were pregnant. You shouldn't start putting on weight until you are in the 3rd trimester when your babies nutritional requirements have become greater and your energy needs have become more significant.
Women tend to put on weight drastically in their first trimester, and they tend to be overweight. By the time the babies needs have grown in the 3rd quarter, they're told they are at risk of health implications and at a greater risk of gestational diabetes.
The facts are that it's difficult to keep track on what to eat and how to eat when you have no clue on what and how to eat.
Ask yourself these simple questions if you haven't already:-
*What should I eat? *How much should I eat? *Am I protecting my baby the way he needs to be protected? (3)
Women tend to be so low in vital vitamins and minerals as today's foods are riddled with processed, Genetically modified, chemicalised ingredients, so the nutrients and minerals we need tend to be missing. This means we are highly deficient in the core essential minerals and nutrients required for optimal development of the baby.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT SHOULD I PUT ON AND WHEN?
The notion that you are eating for two during pregnancy is ridiculous, and I've personally seen people completely stuff their faces with all sorts of rubbish that has no nutritional benefits. They forget or just don't know the size of their stomach, which is roughly the size of a closed fist. They overfill themselves with unhealthy calorific foods because in their minds they are "eating for 2". They end up creating health risks for their baby and themselves and the weight just piles on.
In the 3rd Trimester, a pregnant women's daily Calorie requirements may increase to approximately 300-400kcals, and this is the equivalent of an extra sandwich or a piece of toast a yoghurt or a piece of fruit, so it's very different from peoples belief.
This shows us that contrary to peoples beliefs, it's vital to understand exactly how much extra calories daily pregnant women should intake. Nevertheless, Each woman is different, and the daily calorie requirements could be slightly more or less depending on her age and how active she is.
Between the ages of 19-50 years for a woman who is active, doing at least 30 minutes of intense activity 5x a week, 2 1/2 hours a week, she would need roughly 2000 - 2200 calories a day. This is because she needs more energy because she is highly active. Someone less active would need 1800 calories a day, and any more calories could potentially cause her to become overweight, again depending on her age and activity levels.
If the women were healthy before she became pregnant, meaning there were no health issues, she was not overweight and obese; a healthy weight gain would be approximately just under two stone.
Your probably thinking two stone is a lot, Gosh I cant do two stone, but it's imperative to know where this extra weight comes from so you can understand whats going on:-
Where the extra weight comes from:-
If a woman gives birth at full term and the babies weight is 7.3lbs * Placenta is 1.8lbs * Blood volume 2.6lbs * Muscle that mother develops during pregnancy is 2.6lbs * Amniotic fluid 2.6lbs * Breast changes 0.9lbs * Extra fat stores 8.8lbs
Here we can see how normal it is for women to put on weight during pregnancy and where it comes from.
HEALTH ISSUES IF SHE DOESN'T PUT ON WEIGHT DURING PREGNANCY OR SHE PUTS ON TOO MUCH.
If during pregnancy she hasn't put on any weight the baby is at risk of being born too early causing a premature birth which can cause health risks and complications for both mother and baby.
If the mother puts on too much weight outside of the recommended weight gain, there is a high risk of hypertension, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and the mother is in danger of preeclampsia which can cause swelling in the hands and feet. (2)
New research confirms that what a woman eats during pregnancy can profoundly affect the health of her baby when that baby becomes an adult — for better or for worse. (1)
It's critical women eat foods rich in Folate which is found in dark green leafy vegetables, lentils, seeds and nuts, liver, citric fruits, juices and poultry. Milk and dairy, meat and foods rich in omega 3 and 6. Fats should be limited as these are not very good for mum and baby like foods high in sugar and salt as they have no nutritional benefits....
It's important not to skip meals especially breakfast as this helps to start your metabolism. And eating a variety of colours of vegetables and fruits daily is also something that should be done..
Questions for you to answer below
What are your views on nutrition in pregnancy? Have you experienced any health issues such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes during pregnancy?.... Or do you know someone who has suffered because they were eating the wrong foods during pregnancy?
(1) Statement by states W. Allan Walker MD From the Harvard Health publications
(2) Howard LeWine, M.D., Chief Medical Editor http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pregnancy-related-high-blood-pressure-diabetes-linked-to-later-heart-disease-201202224309
(3) Arkansas department of health - published http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsservices/wic/pages/nutritionfaqs.aspx