The Importance of Optimum Nutrition in Pregnancy
What a woman eats during her pregnancy affects not only her own state of health, but that of her baby as well, and greatly increases the chances of having a healthy, trouble free pregnancy. Exercise and nutrition during pregnancy can be a daunting subject for expectant mothers, especially when it comes to knowing when and what level of intervention should be taken, but eating healthily (and safely) is important no matter what stage or pregnancy she is at.
How a women experiences pregnancy differs greatly between women and even between pregnancies in the same woman. While many of the common side effects felt during pregnancy are due to hormonal shifts, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests the severity and duration of these conditions are greatly affected by nutrition. In 2012, the Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology & Reproductive Biology reported that 30% of pregnant women show nutritional deficiency. In another comprehensive study released in 2006, it was shown that additional energy requirements should not only differ per trimester, but they should also be tailored based on a woman’s pre-pregnancy BMI & life long nutritional & health status, and that these modifications reduce the presence of undesirable side effects.
A mothers body actually becomes more energy efficient during pregnancy, an evolutionary design to help protect the baby and provide energy reserves for later in pregnancy when the demand of the fetus is high, and also for breastfeeding. The mother’s body will also, however, divert essential nutrients to the baby during pregnancy to ensure it’s development, which offers a great protective advantage to the baby, however can result in many of the common side effects of pregnancy, such as morning sickness, high blood pressure, bloating, constipation, exhaustion, and hypoglycemia. Optimizing nutrition during pregnancy can help a woman experience pregnancy as an exciting, natural physiological life event, rather than an illness.
Did you know?
- previous guidelines suggested an overall increase in 400kcal per day throughout pregnancy
- current guidelines have been refined, and recommend increasing calories during the first trimester only if you are underweight prior to falling pregnant; in the second trimester there should be a 350 kcal increase; and in the third trimester there should be a 450 kcal – 500 kcal increase
- changes in should be targeted to adjust dietary intake of key nutrients that are required in higher amounts during pregnancy rather than just focus on total calories consumed
- many of the common side effects of pregnancy can be alleviated with nutritional intervention
Rhian is a Naturopath and Nutritionist with expensive experience in both clinical and corporate settings. She utilizes a personalized approach to her practice in order to assess and treat a wide variety of both acute and chronic conditions. Amongst others, Rhian as special clinical interest in hormone imbalance, women’s health, digestive disorders, Pre & post natal health and dermatology.
• Qualified Naturopath & Nutritionist
• Specialist qualifications in:
o Cosmetic Acupuncture
o Athletic Performance
o Pregnancy & Pediatric Nutrition
o Hormone Health