Good nutrition is essential to ensure the well-being of the mother and optimal growth of the baby during the entire pregnancy. You might be thinking should you be eating for two since you are pregnant now. The truth is your body has increased nutritional needs during pregnancy and you do require extra macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to support the growth of your body. However, you do not need to double up your food portion. Overeating and high simple sugar intake will lead to excessive weight gain during pregnancy and therefore increasing your risk of developing gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension and birth complications which require unplanned C-section.
How much weight should you gain? It depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and BMI. Here are the general guidelines for healthy pregnancy weight gain. The usual weight gain during first trimester is between 0.5-2kg and it increases at a rate of 0.5-0.9kg per week for second and third trimester. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to pregnancy weight gain, talk to your doctor if you are unsure.
According to Singapore Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), a pregnant woman needs additional 370kcal during second trimester and additional 480kcal during third trimester. This also means that there is no increased energy requirement during first trimester.
What about your protein need? You require extra 9g protein during pregnancy. You can add on a glass of milk (8g protein) or 2 tablespoons of Baby Nutmond Butter (6.2g protein) or an egg (6g protein) to give you the additional protein needed. Baby Nutmond Butter has less than 4.9g of sugar per 100g as it does not contain added sugar and salt. The natural sweetness comes from Medjool dates. It is also suitable for pregnant woman who is diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Below nutrients have been proven to be crucial in ensuring good pregnancy outcomes:
- Folic acid/Folate (600mg/day)
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps to prevent neural tube defects (malformation of the brain and spinal cord) in fetus and anemia in pregnant woman. Food sources high in folate include dark leafy vegetables, citrus fruit and juices, lentils, and fortified foods.
- Iron (27mg/day)
Iron aids in the formation of red blood cells and prevention of anemia in pregnant woman. Red meat, chicken, egg, fortified cereals, green vegetables, legumes and nuts are rich sources of iron.
- Calcium (1000mg/day)
Calcium is important for building baby’s strong bones and teeth. Dairy products like milk, cheese yogurt; green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli; nuts, tofu as well as fish with edible bones like ikan bilis and sardine are high in calcium.
- Vitamin D (10mcg/day)
Vitamin D is essential to help build your baby’s bones and teeth as it enhances calcium absorption. Foods that are high in Vitamin D include fatty fish, fish liver oil, Vitamin D fortified milk, cheese, egg yolk and beef liver.
- Omega 3 (650mg/day)
Omega 3 is one of the essential fatty acids that is crucial for brain and eye development. Foods high in Omega 3 are fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring; nuts and seeds like flaxseeds and walnuts. Baby Nutmond Butter is a good source of Omega 3 as it is specially created using a blend of walnuts and almonds together with flaxseeds.
How do you ensure that you are getting all the nutrients needed by your body? When planning what to eat, you are recommended to include the right number of servings from the four food groups to get the nutrients you need as per below table.
During pregnancy, you may encounter constipation. This is a common side effect of iron supplement that your doctor recommends you to consume. Baby Nutmond Butter is also high in fiber which helps with the bowel movement. Do remember to drink plenty of fluids when you go on a high fiber diet to relieve constipation as too much fiber without adequate fluids may exaggerate the problem.