Since I’m pregnant with my fourth child, thank G-d, I thought it would be a good subject to talk about health in pregnancy. Also because it’s the middle of summer (here in the Middle East anyway), I’d like to focus first on the importance of drinking water.
Did you know that in normal conditions, we should be drinking about a liter of water a day? In the summer while pregnant, you can easily double that amount. There are many advantages for the body to drinking water but I won’t get into this. For more details you can register to one of our Nutritherapy courses, very well explained. But for pregnant women, we should think of ourselves as constantly thirsty. Also, because the kidneys are working double-time (excreting both her own and her baby’s weight), they need the back-up of some serious hydration. If you don’t drink enough, you might go into labor prematurely… oh oh!
Of course, our diet should be top notch. I’m not talking about dieting – you don’t diet when you’re pregnant – but our choice of foods on a daily basis. We have to think in terms of vitamins and nutrients: what do we need right now?
So in terms of proteins, we need enough to provide the baby (and oneself’)with cellular growth and tissue repair. Also for the baby’s brain and nervous system. How much protein? 74 gr instead of the regular 44 g for women. We don’t have to and should not choose meat as our only source of protein. Meat brings along high cholesterol and toxins. There are alternative to meat when it comes to complete proteins: peanut butter, split peas, brown rice and whole wheat. Beans with rice will make a complete protein, too. Tofu has also good amino acids, such as lysine.
When it comes to iron, this is a must. First of all, you need to feel strong, not tired all the time. So take those folic acid supplements recommended by the doctor at the beginning of pregnancy. You’ll need a total of 78 mg of iron per day. You can find it in liver, red meat, eggs, beans, leafy green vegetables, peas, cornmeal, watermelon, dried fruit, and whole wheat. 6 slices of whole meat = 50% of iron for the day. Eat those sandwiches!
Calcium-wise, that’s another winner. During pregnancy, a good 1.2g per day is recommended. We’re talking about baby’s teeth, skeleton, and the mother’s body. We don’t want to suffer later from osteoporosis because all our calcium went to baby and we missed some for ourselves. Apart from dairy products, you’ll find calcium in leafy green vegetables, nuts, citrus fruits and sesame seeds. We wrote an article about osteoporosis, calcium and its alternatives.
Vitamins: that was a surprise for me. We don’t need vitamins supplement during pregnancy, unless specified by a doctor. We do need vitamins, but with a balanced diet, it should be provided naturally. Also, a lot of vitamins, if taken in excess, can be dangerous for our health.
One last mention: don’t eat junk food! It’s so easy when one is pregnant and always hungry, to go for the fast and tasty. But really we’re talking about empty calories, and you’re trying to build a baby’s body, and keep yours strong, too. So for glucose you want to focus on whole wheat bread, potatoes, fruits, vegetables and grains. Whole-wheat flour is nutritionally richer than processed white flour. We also wrote an article about that, which also talks about sourdough.
So if you’re like me when you’re pregnant, always thinking about your next meal, think creatively! Add colors, richness, super healthy ingredients… Just don’t overeat if you know what’s good for you. The Rambam writes that “overeating is the drug of death”. When you’re trying to give life, not such a good choice!