What should you eat during pregnancy? - 1st trimester

The diet of pregnant women is of particular importance for foetal development, and for good mood of the woman. It should be correctly balanced, diversified and, in particular, rich in vitamins, nutrients and minerals. The correctly arranged diet will provide the expecting mother with plenty of energy and help to reduce pregnancy ailments.

Calorie content in the first pregnancy trimester

The diet during the pregnancy varies a little, depending on the trimester. Changes in the diet mainly concern the calorie content of meals. When planning pregnancy and in the first pregnancy trimester, women should not increase the calorie content of their meals. Their diet should stay the same. Of course, this applies to women of an average weight. Some future mums sometimes need to increase or reduce their calorie intake, to be able to start a family. If you are not certain whether your weight is right, consult a specialist.

Demand for nutrients of pregnant women

Pregnancy, and the first trimester in particular, is not an easy time for pregnant women. At the beginning of pregnancy, the majority of women suffers from morning sickness and vomiting, so it is difficult for them to absorb large quantities of nutrients contributing to normal development of their baby.
Of course, in every woman pregnancy may look different, however, the majority of women complain of a lack of appetite and aversion to certain products, especially in the first trimester.

Folic acid during pregnancy

In the first pregnancy trimester, and throughout your entire pregnancy, pay particular attention to products rich in folic acid. Folic acid is taken to reduce a risk of neural tube defects in the baby. Apart from preventing development of congenital defects, folic acid is of great importance for normal cell division, and “feeds” the developing foetal nervous system. Its deficiency may have serious consequences for the foetal development.
Folic acid can be found in many products, which should be eaten in greater quantities in the first trimester. They include green vegetables, oranges, nuts, broad beans and sunflower. It can be found in broad beans, nuts, sunflower, and wheat germs. Unfortunately, even the best diet will not cover the full demand for this ingredient, so the doctor in charge of your pregnancy will prescribe you a relevant formulation.

What you cannot eat when you are pregnant

You may wonder what you should eat in the first pregnancy trimester, and what to avoid to support your baby’s development. In the first trimester, and throughout the pregnancy you should avoid red meat that may be a cause of infection with Toxoplasmosis. Raw meat also includes fish and seafood. Raw eggs are also forbidden during pregnancy, because they may contain Salmonella bacteria, which consumption exposes the expectant mum to a risk of serious food poisoning. Listeriosis is a disease caused by Listeria bacteria, and may affect pregnant women who eat blue and brie-type cheeses.
Cheeses forbidden during pregnancy include soft cheeses with white rind, like brie, Camembert, maturing goat cheeses like chèvre, and soft blue cheeses, e.g., Danish blue cheese, Roquefort, gorgonzola (they are only allowed if they were subjected to thermal processing first).

What can you eat during pregnancy

Now that you know what you definitely cannot eat when you are pregnant, it is worth noting what you should eat during this time. As it has already been mentioned, during pregnancy your demand for nutrients increases additionally. Your demand for vitamins also increases. The most important vitamins that should be supplied by pregnant women include group B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamins А, E and K.

Vitamins recommended during pregnancy

Group B vitamins are important in metabolic processes and ensure efficient functioning of the nervous and the cardiovascular system. Vitamin D ensures normal calcium absorption, thus strengthening bones and teeth of the baby developing in the uterus. A daily demand for vitamin D in pregnant women is 10 µg, this vitamin requires additional supplementation throughout pregnancy.
Retinol, i.e., vitamin А, participates in processes of seeing, germ cells development, and through biosynthesis of melanin and collagen fibres, it maintains the skin in a normal condition. Small quantities of retinol are very important, however, its excessive amounts may be toxic for the body. Vitamin A can be found in products of animal origin, like oil, liver, butter, milk and its products, and egg yolk.

Ascorbic acid during pregnancy

Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruit like oranges or lemons, kiwi fruit, black currants, papaya, and strawberries. This vitamin is also found in vegetables such as cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and bell pepper. Vitamin C participates in over 300 processes in the body, including control over hormones and iron absorption.

Minerals - iron in a diet of a pregnant woman

Iron deficiencies during pregnancy result in decreased haemoglobin levels and lower red blood cells numbers. This, in turn, reduces capacity for efficient transport of oxygen. A baby is at risk of developmental defects. Additionally, the pregnancy may be at risk, and a pregnant woman may be at risk of premature birth and disrupted thyroid functions.

Healthy fats in pregnancy.

Vitamins D, A, E, and K are fat soluble, so eating of fats of good quality is particularly important during pregnancy. Unsaturated fatty acids, contributing to normal development of baby’s brain, can be found in avocado, fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, and olive, linseed, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, and soy oil. Oily sea fish recommended during pregnancy include salmon, halibut, mackerel, herring, cod, and tuna.
Omega-3 acids are particularly important for foetal development. They shape development of the brain and sight, and significantly influence bone tissues by increasing calcium absorption, as well as stimulate normal synthesis of surfactant (a substance required for maturing of foetal lungs). Seafood also includes unsaturated fatty acids, as well as many vitamins, like PP, B12, B1, and B2. Additionally, seafood is a valuable source of fast absorbing proteins.

Protein demand of pregnant women

Proteins play an important role during pregnancy. During the first trimester of pregnancy, women should eat about 1 g of protein per one kilogram of body weight. Both in the second and in the third trimester, their demand for proteins increases to about 1.2 g of protein per one kilogram of body weight.

Sources of protein in pregnant woman’s diet

An ideal source of protein in the diet of pregnant women should be meat, fish, eggs, milk products, and pulses. In the case of products of animal origin, you should choose lean meat like turkey, chicken, rabbit, or veal.
Plant proteins can be found in seeds of pulses, cereal products, fresh vegetables and fruit. If fresh fruit and vegetables are not available, choose frozen products. Freezing is an excellent way to maintain all product properties.

Take care of yourself!

A period of pregnancy and breastfeeding is a special time in the life of every woman. At this time, you should take a good care of yourself, your mood, physical activity, and appropriate diet. Remember, everything you do and choices you make has an enormous influence on your baby.
It should be correctly balanced, diversified and, in particular, rich in vitamins, nutrients and minerals.