Nutritional Changes During Pregnancy
As your pregnancy progresses, the nutritional demands that are made on your body increase. A look at these increasing needs by trimester can provide further insight.
During the early weeks of pregnancy, you may not be aware of the baby within your body. Therefore, you should consume an adequate diet even before you become pregnant. Once you realize that you are pregnant, you may experience morning sickness, which tends to minimize thoughts of food. But even this early in pregnancy, you need to make sure that you eat a good diet. This should not be difficult, since your nutritional requirements at this point are still essentially the same as those for a non-pregnant woman, with the exception of the additional folic acid requirement.
- Eat dry crackers of toast before rising in the morning.
- Avoid greasy, fried, or highly spiced foods.
- Drink teas made from small amounts of herbs such as raspberry leaf, peppermint, or chamomile.
- Eat frequent high-protein snacks during the day and at bedtime.
- Increase your intake of the B vitamins, especially B6, or eat foods rich in vitamin B.
- Wear the wristbands that are designed to prevent motion sickness using acupressure on the wrists. They can be purchased in dive shops and sporting goods stores.
Lack of certain nutrients in the diet, primarily vitamin B6, is thought to contribute to morning sickness. Morning sickness may also occur because of low blood sugar after not eating all night. Some women experience nausea throughout the day, however, especially if they go for long periods without food. Many women find that natural remedies can bring relief from morning sickness. However, if natural remedies do not help you, and nausea and vomiting become a severe problem, your doctor can prescribe medication. Gratefully, morning sickness usually disappears by the fourth month.
During the second trimester, nutritional needs increase, and you should begin consuming additional calories, vitamins, and minerals by following the No-Risk Pregnancy Diet. The baby puts on very little weight during the second trimester. However, the maternal tissues greatly increase. The woman begins to lay down a store of fat for her body to utilize during lactation. Her uterus and breasts enlarge, the volume of amniotic fluid increases, the placenta grows in size, and the blood volume expands. Therefore, increased protein and fluid intakes are essential.
During the last trimester, the baby gains weight rapidly. His brain grows the fastest during the last 2 months, and his liver stores up iron. Continue following the No-Risk Pregnancy Diet during this time—and beyond, if you breastfeed. You must take in sufficient calories and protein to ensure optimum development of the baby’s brain and body. Dieting at this point is not beneficial for either of you, and fasting before doctor’s appointments to minimize weight gain is foolish. Make certain that you eat well, and your weight gain will guarantee the health of both you and your baby.
If you experience increased swelling as your due date approaches, try adding more protein to your diet. In rare cases, swelling puts pressure on the nerves in the wrist, resulting in tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and fingers. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome. Additional vitamin B6 may help relieve this condition or prevent its further development. Occasionally, a hand splint is necessary to provide relief. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome will gradually subside following delivery.