In every woman, the pregnancy phase is one of the most intense periods of metabolic changes/adjustments in the body and its outcome will definitely affect the rest of your life. The good news is that how this process goes depend on so many factors which can be modified and are largely within our control. A good place to start with is your nutritional status, maintaining an ideal nutrient intake is very important as it can affect the pregnancy outcome- both for the mother and child.
The multi-effects of an optimal nutritional status during pregnancy are so obvious that it cannot be denied. Among all the other many changes that occur during pregnancy, the hormonal changes are the most significant and its attendant altered nutrient requirement is a prerequisite for adequate maternal health to sufficiently support the baby’s growth and development as well as. This even spills over into long term sequel of the mother & child’s future health.
3 Natural body changes in Pregnancy and how they affect what you Eat!
Today, we’ll discuss 3 unavoidable natural body changes during the different phases of pregnancy which calls for increased nutrient intake and how they affect the diet.
- Anabolic changes: From the time of conception- even before you are tested positive by a laboratory result, your body immediately enters a dynamic state of a ‘building mode’ process as it rapidly forms a brand new organ called the PLACENTA to nourish the growing foetus. This placenta is the baby’s gateway to your body’s supply of nutrients, blood, oxygen etc and it stays on till delivery. It is this new ‘construction’ project that is responsible for the need to “eat-for-two”. As a rule of thumb, you need to eat an additional 300 calories of food per day than you used to have before pregnancy, and now is most certainly not the time to indulge in quick empty calories! Also, learning to take a lot of fluids especially water is a very handy trick to pick up fast. Increasing your water intake is good because while its easy satiety will help to limit your urge for unnecessary foods, it is also very important to be well hydrated for adequate lactation –so you may very well start practising now!
- Blood volume expansion: The pregnant woman’s blood volume increases by about 20% as the plasma volume increase by about 50%. This is the primary basis for taking those routine ante-natal multivitamins drugs to augment for the increased body requirements of nutrients such as iron, folic acid and vitamin B12. These vitamins and minerals are critical for the formation of red blood cells in the blood without which the blood is incapable of distributing nutrients in the body. Knowing full well that drugs DO NOT (and should not) replace your nutrient dense foods; ensure that you stay on top of your needed supply with ample healthy-eating of green leafy vegetables.
- Rapid Foetal growth: In the last stage of pregnancy, the overall foetal growth is usually more rapid than the earlier stages because this is the stage after all the basic organs of the body has been formed and the baby is rapidly accumulating his/her weight and height. Understandably, this period also tallies with when you get to put on most of the additional weight of pregnancy too so this third trimester is also just as critical as the first two. The only special note here being that this is the time to really count the carbs and make up with more fibres if you don’t want to tilt into obesity or risk having a big baby.
This Article is part of our new series on “Healthy Eating for Pregnant African Women!”.
See other related Articles too:
- Healthy Eating for Pregnant African Women…Nutrition status, Weight gain+
- Pregnancy Nutrient Requirement 101
- 5 Common Nutrition Disorder in Pregnancy & How to manage them
- Plus, a FREE Sample Menu Plan Template!