Many pregnant women are especially worried these days because they may think that the coronavirus pandemic may affect them . The diet to follow in a pregnant woman, as long as she does not have a previous pathology, in which case she must always follow the rules of her obstetrician, is exactly the same as before this crisis. And, above all and more important, you have to be very calm and have common sense to avoid unnecessary stress that passes from the mother to the fetus.
There is a phrase that is widely used during pregnancy and is well known to all: ‘When you are pregnant you have to eat for two. Nothing is further from reality. Esther García Ripoll, nutritionist at the Natural Psychofertility Center (attends online), explains it.
‘It usually happens the moment a pregnancy is confirmed, the guidelines given by health professionals are mixed with everything that our mother, our friend and the magazine that your cousin bought last week tell us, what this generates is a mental breakdown for a worried mother-to-be who no longer knows whether it is good to eat a tomato, ‘explains the expert.
Diet in pregnancy is still a healthy diet with some specific peculiarity, but – Ripoll wonders – ‘what is a healthy diet? What do we understand by healthy eating? ‘
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, virgin olive oil , moderate consumption of white meat and fish, low-fat dairy and sporadic consumption of red meat, and very low consumption of sugars, fats and salty foods. This is the simplest definition of healthy eating, although things can always be nuanced and will vary depending on the person. It must be remembered that the diet must always be personalized and in the case of a pregnant woman, too.
As for the typical phrases of eating for two, the percentage of standard micro / macronutrients for pregnancy or ‘how many calories should I consume do not help clarify the ideas of these future mothers, since there is no specific distribution of macro and micronutrients for all pregnant women. The amount of food eaten will depend on the hunger that person has , being sufficient for the increased needs during pregnancy, but not exceeding, since the weight gain must be progressive and controlled. Nor is it necessary to distribute in specific percentages or by calories, simply eat healthy and appetizing foods, “he says.
Although it is true that you do not have to maintain a very specific diet during these months , there are specific periods in which different symptoms and pathologies are suffered that can hinder the state of health, such as heartburn, nausea , constipation or anemia, among others.
There are certain foods that can help or worsen these symptoms :
In the case of heartburn , which occurs when gastric juices rise into the esophagus giving a feeling of heartburn or burning, it usually appears at night in the last phase of pregnancy. Heartburn can decrease if you avoid eating spicy foods, acids, sodas, caffeine, high-fat foods (including fried, fastfood, and highly processed foods). Spreading the food in more feedings can help not to saturate the stomach with a lot of food at once. There are other factors that can affect, such as tobacco, not resting the food well, lying down right after eating or wearing tight clothing in the stomach area.
Regarding nausea , which occurs in the first stage of pregnancy, above all, there are some guidelines that can help, such as, for example, not abusing heavy and copious foods, such as very fatty foods that can lead to complex digestions.
In addition, avoid those foods that produce rejection either by smell, taste or texture. Changing the temperatures, cooking, of these, can help to reintroduce them into the diet.
In the event of a malfunction of the intestine and constipation occurs, there are also some foods and guidelines that can help; like, for example, drinking a lot of water, increasing fiber consumption, consuming more legumes and changing the refined cereals for cereals in their integral form, increasing the consumption of nuts, and increasing the servings of vegetables and fruit per day , among other things.
The anemia is also usually a common condition during pregnancy, in this case should be especially careful with substances and foods that can reduce absorption such as coffee and tea, foods rich in wheat, food overcooked, or consume very high dairy. There are also foods that help better absorption of iron, such as foods rich in Vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables are foodstuffs that contain a lot of this vitamin, which is why, among other things, it is recommended to take a high content of fruits and vegetables. Taking a piece of fruit rich in vitamin C before or after eating legumes or foods rich in iron can help increase its absorption.
These guidelines given for specific cases should be applied even if these conditions do not exist, in this way we will prevent them from occurring, therefore, increasing the consumption of fiber, or essential fatty acids , or increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables will be beneficial during the entire pregnancy.
You have to be especially careful with raw foods and sausages because they can cause toxoplasmosis, and also be careful with toxics (such as plastics and mercury, among others).
During pregnancy a higher consumption of folic acid, iodine and iron is necessary, in most cases it is recommended to supplement it to avoid problems during pregnancy and future pathologies in the baby.
There are special and specific cases such as when following a vegan or vegetarian diet, in these cases, as in the general population that follows this type of diet, Vitamin B12 supplementation is recommended.
In the case of pregnant women with thyroid problems , intolerances, specific allergies or gestational diabetes or type I or II diabetes mellitus, it is advisable for a specialist to recommend specific guidelines.