A correct and balanced diet in the pre-conception period represents an ideal starting point for facing a peaceful pregnancy; during pregnancy, more than in other situations, the control of the diet, not only quantitative but also qualitative, turns out to be particularly important .
The feeding of the pregnant woman, in fact, directly influences both the health of the future mother and the progress of the pregnancy and the state of nutrition and health of the child she carries in her womb. An adequate increase in body weight and a good nutritional status are the necessary tools to meet the maternal energy requirements and provide the fetus with the nutrients useful for its development.
In general, in the first trimester, the caloric needs of the pregnant woman do not need to be increased since the weight gain must be minimal. Starting from the second trimester, however, the increase in maternal tissues and fetal growth determine a progressive increase in energy requirements.
During pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, the need for proteins increases significantly , in particular those with a high biological value (contained in foods of animal origin such as milk, meat, fish …)
Even during pregnancy, as in the balanced diet of an adult woman, carbohydrates represent the main source of energy and must be introduced into the body through cereals and their derivatives, especially wholegrain ones, to also guarantee an adequate intake of fibers.
The consumption of foods rich in simple sugars contained, for example, in sweet foods and sugary drinks, must be very limited.
The energy share deriving from fats must be equal to 25-30% of the total daily caloric requirement, and an adequate supply of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids must be guaranteed.
Useful tips for a safe and healthy diet when pregnant
- Divide the meals of the day , dividing them into 3 main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) possibly integrated with 1 or 2 light snacks to be consumed in the middle of the morning and / or in the afternoon. In this way the caloric and nutrient load will be better distributed and overloads for the digestive system will be avoided;
- maintain good hydration by drinking at least 2 liters of water during the day ;
- consume 2 portions of fish, lean meats, eggs every day to provide good quality proteins, B vitamins, iron ;
- regularly consume legumes (sources of iron, proteins and fibers) also in combination with cereals, to constitute a “single dish”;
- introduce foods containing calcium on a daily basis such as, for example, milk, yogurt, aged cheeses, broccoli, radicchio, rocket, oranges …
- consume 2 portions of vegetables and 3 well-washed fresh seasonal fruit daily, alternating their colors as much as possible , to ensure the introduction of important antioxidants and fiber;
- moderate the use of seasoning fats, preferring oils of vegetable origin (extra virgin olive oil, corn, sunflower, grape seed oil …) , to be used especially raw on food;
- limit the use of salt, both at the table and in the kitchen, in order to reduce sodium intake ; alternatively, to flavor foods, you can use aromatic herbs and spices to taste
- avoid the consumption of cured meats, raw or undercooked meats and eggs , to prevent toxoplasmosis and salmonellosis;
- do not consume large fish , which may contain a high concentration of methyl-mercury;
- avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially spirits, as alcohol interferes with the absorption of folic acid and vitamin B12 and can cause fetal alcohol syndrome;
- limit the consumption of drinks containing nerve substances (eg coffee, tea, cola-based drinks);
- avoiding supplements, supplements and drugs without medical supervision and “do-it-yourself” diets;
- do not overdo the portions of food and practice regular physical activity, in order to keep your body weight within the normal range.
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