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With pregnancy, your whole world turns upside down. Your body changes, your hormones ride a rollercoaster, and you are often unsure of what awaits you. This also has an impact on your relationship. With our help guide, we accompany you through pregnancy and give you valuable tips about nutrition and anything else that you may be concerned about while preparing for childbirth.
There is an easy rule of thumb when it comes to nutrition during pregnancy: varied and wholesome. You don't have to put everything on the gold scales, only buy from whole foods shops, or completely change your diet.
Your baby needs a whole lot of protein for the development of a broad variety of body and organ tissues. It is the most important building block of our cells.
A mixture of animal and vegetable protein is ideal. Animal protein sources include milk, yoghurt, curd, cheese, eggs, fish and lean meat. Sources of vegetable protein include potatoes, nuts, whole grains or soy products. You should not give up eating meat during pregnancy because it contributes to the supply of essential nutrients. For this, a total weekly intake of 300-600g of meat and cold cuts (but no raw products!) is sufficient during pregnancy. Be sure that your meat is always cooked thoroughly or well-done.
Carbohydrates, which regulate your blood sugar levels with the help of the hormones insulin and glucagon, are an important source of energy — your baby depends on them.
If you aren't getting enough fuel, you will feel weak pretty quickly. It is important to consider quality when choosing an energy source. Whole-grain products, vegetables, potatoes and fruit slowly release energy to the body. Sugary foods are quick to trigger hunger and the desire for more. Our tip: eat well, feel well.
Fats are important for your growing baby because they stimulate growth.
The daily intake of fat (up to 80g) supports the baby's own supply and also the function of certain vitamins that can only be absorbed into the body by binding to fat molecules. High-quality vegetable fats (e.g. rapeseed, olive, or sunflower oils) and milk fats are ideal. So it is okay to eat butter, but be more cautious when it comes to foods with a very high fat content such as some cold cuts, hot chips, mayonnaise, sauces and cakes, etc.
All of the important processes within the body are driven by vitamins.
With a balanced diet you will usually have no deficiencies, even during pregnancy.
The most important sources of vitamins are fruit, vegetables and dairy products. For full vitamin strength you should buy fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, mostly eat them raw or steam them in a little water. Green leafy vegetables contain (among other vitamins) the all-important folic acid.
You only need micronutrients in very small quantities. With a few exceptions, you will get enough through your daily meals if you eat a balanced diet. The following substances play an important role:
Important minerals for the development and maintenance of teeth and bones, both for you and your baby. Good sources of these are milk and dairy products.
This mineral regulates the balance of water, or more specifically, the excretion of water from tissues. Bananas and apricots (fresh or dried) are ideal suppliers of potassium. If you have noticeable swelling in your arms and legs it is vital that you talk to your doctor.
Without iron our blood would have a serious shortcoming. Iron is responsible for making haemoglobin (Hb), the red pigment in our blood cells. Its job is to transport oxygen from the lungs through the arteries to all the cells in the body. But we can only get iron through our food. The best sources are meat, nuts, whole-grain bread, kale, oats and millet. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron, whereas magnesium prevents it. Therefore, it is best to wait 2 hours after eating before taking magnesium tablets for cramps.
During pregnancy, even the kidneys work at full throttle and need more fluids to function properly. You need at least 2 litres per day. There is a lot of debate around coffee these days, but this is about larger quantities. It's fine to have two to three cups a day. The same goes for black tea. Be careful with sugary drinks: soft drinks, coke and some fruit juices have an enormous amount of calories.
The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends eating fish once or twice a week while pregnant with regard to getting enough polyunsaturated fatty acids and as a rich source of iodine and selenium. The all-important omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and sardine. With respect to the possible contaminants found in big salt-water fish such as tuna, red bass, wolffish, bonitos and shark, they should not be consumed regularly, and only in small quantities. When these preventative health-measures are followed, fish counts as an important food group for pregnant women. If you decide you will not consume any fish during pregnancy, you should speak to your doctor about supplementing your essential fatty acids. Some vegetable oils, for example rapeseed, linseed and walnut oils, are a valuable addition. There are also omega-3 products and dietary supplements with omega-3 fatty acids to make sure you get enough. Consult your doctor if you would like to use supplementary products.
In the first three to four months, most women gain weight because of their growing appetite. Until childbirth, a total of 10 to 12 additional kilos are to be expected. That is the average. It could be less for you, for example, but as long as you are eating enough it is perfectly okay. If you gain a lot more, the doctor will keep an eye on it to make sure it's still within healthy bounds.
Pre-eclampsia (formerly EPH-gestosis) is an illness involving high blood pressure that can be associated with oedemas and protein excretion in the urine. A warning sign is often swelling of the fingers and feet. In more severe cases, dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting may occur. The worse the case, the higher the risk of premature childbirth and life-threatening hypertension for the mother. In order to recognise and treat the illness early on, regular prenatal examinations are particularly important. Occasionally, outdated nutritional advice about how to treat pre-eclampsia is still given. Rice days and diuretics will not help, and forgoing table salt is not advisable. For healthy pregnant woman, as well as those diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a normal intake of table salt along with a balanced, protein-rich diet with plenty of fluid is advisable.
Women who suffer from phenylketonuria or hyperphenylalaninemia, and are pregnant, have a maternal phenylketonuria. In such cases, a strict low-phenylalanine diet is recommended throughout pregnancy. The phenylalanine values in the blood have to be checked very often at regular intervals by a doctor and a low-phenylalanine diet must be adjusted accordingly. The phenylalanine levels of the unborn child is about twice as high as that of the mother. High levels of phenylalanine in the mother can damage the foetus (including their brain or heart) or can lead to miscarriage. Under these circumstances, a pregnancy should be well planned and a gynaecologist should be sought very early on in order to avoid damage to the foetus in the early stages of pregnancy. It is therefore recommended to start a strict low-phenylalanine diet under the supervision of a doctor before conception.
It's not long now until the birth. No doubt you are already thinking about what follows. We will be happy to help so that you are as prepared as possible.
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