Nutritional Demands During Pregnancy

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Nausea; nutritional needs

Tips to Help with Pregnancy Nausea
  • Lemon candies, scents, gum, or lemonade
  • Fresh ginger, ginger tea, candy, or gingerale
  • Peppermint tea, scents, and candy
  • A very cold drink or Popsicle
  • Essential oils that relieve nausea, including citrus, ginger, and lavender scents
  • Eat several small meals throughout the day
  • Have a carbohydrate snack every two hours between meals
  • Keep cookies, crackers, energy bars, or some cereal by your bed to snack on at night
  • Have a few bites of these foods when your alarm goes off; stay in bed another 15 minutes
  • Keep an icy cold drink at bedside to sip at night
  • Avoid strong-smelling food, caffeine, smoke, and garlicky, spicy, or fishy smells
  • Avoid fatty or spicy foods
  • Avoid large amounts of fluid on an empty stomach
  • Try a "Sea-Band" wristband, which works through acupressure points (available at pharmacies)
  • If you have a poor appetite, try shakes, smoothies, mashed potatoes, soups, cereal, and frozen yogurt
After the first three months, you must eat at least 300 calories more than when you were pregnant; if you are maintaining athletic activity, this increases to 500 calories. It is recommended that you increase the amount of protein you eat; consider doing this by adding an extra portion of lean red meat, which is an excellent source of iron. Dairy products are also an excellent choice to meet your increased calorie demands, as they contain not only protein but also calcium. Balance out your diet with nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.

For exercisers in particular, taking your daily prenatal vitamin is extremely important, as you especially need additional B vitamins, calcium, and iron to support your active lifestyle. Folate is the B vitamin essential to pregnancy. Do not take any other vitamins or supplements not recommended by your doctor, as these can be harmful to the baby. You must be especially careful of vitamins A and K, which at high doses can contribute to birth defects.

Daily Nutritional Needs of Active Pregnant Women

Iron 50 mg
Calcium 1,500 mg
Thiamine (B1) 1.5 mg
Niacin 18 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 1.6 mg
Pyridoxine (B6) 2.3 mg (3)
Cyanocobalamin (B12) 6 mcg (6)
Pantothenic acid 6 mg
Folate 600 mcg
Vitamin C 70 mg
Magnesium 360 mg
Vitamin D 400 Iu
Vitamin A 2800 Iu
Vitamin E 30 Iu
Zinc 20 mg
Fluid needs are extremely important, particularly with athletic activity. Losing and not replacing just 1 percent of your bodyweight through heavy breathing and minimally sweating—an amount of fluid lost before you even sense thirst—can disturb temperature control of the fetus. (If you weight 140 pounds, 1 percent is just 1.4 pounds!) Losing three to five times this amount in body water decreases oxygen supply to your baby. Therefore, you must not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Also, weigh yourself before and after exercise without clothes on to make sure you have consumed enough fluid during exercise. Dehydration during the last few months of pregnancy is also very risky, as this can lead to early labor. In general, two cups of fluid is required to replace each pound lost.

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More on: Postpartum

excerpted from:

From The Active Woman's Health and Fitness Handbook by Nadya Swedan. Copyright © 2003 by Nadya Swedan. Used by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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