The importance of nutrition in the nine months of pregnancy

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We hear it repeated over and over: the diet we follow helps to "build" our state of health, making us more or less susceptible to the development of certain diseases or, vice versa, protecting us from their onset. All the more reason, nutrition is very important in pregnancy.

Why take care of nutrition in pregnancy

It is true in general, but it also applies in particular to pregnancy because the type of diet that is followed in this period - and even before, in the months preceding the conception - it can influence the progress of the pregnancy itself, the well-being of the mother and even the health of the baby not only during gestation, but also in future years.

Excessive weight gain in pregnancy: the risks

As the nutritionist Angela of the University of our city recalls, "numerous epidemiological studies have shown that a excessive weight gain during pregnancy, as well as a condition of overweight or obesity at the beginning of gestation, they are risk factors for the onset of

  • gestational diabetes,
  • hypertension,
  • preeclampsia,
  • fetal macrosomia,
  • difficulty in childbirth ".

Furthermore, "an excess of fat mass acquired during pregnancy often represents a point of no return for the mother, who from that moment becomes a subject at risk for

  • metabolic syndrome,
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • and diabetes".

Conversely, now various studies have shown that following a pregnancy Mediterranean-type dietIn addition to helping to maintain the line, it reduces the risk of fetal malformations such as neural tube defects (spina bifida and anencephaly) and the risk of premature birth.

Read also: Pregnancy, how much weight can you gain in nine months

The advantages of nutrition

However, there are also advantages for the child, because adequate nutrition contributes to a good regulation of the baby embryonic and fetal development, through an action on the on and off mechanisms of the genes that preside over the development itself and which, as a whole, go by the name of epigenetics.

More and more data now show how an adequate epigenetic control is fundamental for the future health of the individual, while alterations of these mechanisms - which may have to do with maternal nutrition, but also with exposure to environmental pollutants or smoking cigarettes or other things - can increase the risk of developing obesity, metabolic syndrome and degenerative diseases in adulthood.

Read also: Unicef ​​alarm: too much pollution for one in seven children

Tips for a healthy pregnant woman diet

But how to eat when you are pregnant? Here are 5 basic tips.

  1. Don't eat for two
  2. Hydrate
  3. Eat varied and Mediterranean
  4. Break the meals
  5. Iron and calcium are important in pregnancy

1. Don't eat for two

How much more to eat during pregnancy?

The energy requirement increases but does not double: in theory, they serve just under 300 kcal per day more, the equivalent of a packet of crackers, a fruit and a teaspoon of oil more than when you were not pregnant or half a sandwich and a glass of skim milk.

In practice, however, it must be considered that as the pregnancy progresses there is an inevitable reduction in the level of physical activity and therefore of the total energy expenditure: this means that they can also be enough 150-180 kcal more per day during the entire gestational period to meet the new needs.

2. Eat varied, balanced and possibly med!

There are no single foods capable of satisfying all the body's demands, just as there are no foods that must be absolutely banned from the table (unless there are diseases that require it, such as celiac disease for gluten, or risks details of food poisoning).


Pregnancy, 18 foods to avoid or limit in the nine months of waiting

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Foods that are prohibited or restricted in the nine months of pregnancy. Find out what they are  

The fact is that to ensure a balanced and correct supply of nutrients you need adequate food variety. Getting it is not difficult, let's see the nutritionist's indications:

Yes to the daily consumption of cereals

They ensure a good supply of fiber - also important for the well-being of the intestinal microflora, the so-called microbiome - minerals such as selenium, zinc and magnesium and B vitamins.

It is not a question of putting only wheat, rice and corn on the table: green light also for spelled, oats, millet, barley, rye and pseudocereals such as amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. Better if they are whole, because refining impoverishes the content of fiber, minerals and vitamins.

Fruits and vegetables, at least 2 servings a day each

Preferably fresh, in season and raw. They are essential for the supply of vitamins, mineral salts, fibers and substances with important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Protein every day, even from fish and legumes

Protein is important for the construction of fetal tissues, especially starting in the second trimester. They can be of animal origin (meat, cold cuts, fish, eggs, milk and derivatives) or vegetable (legumes, cereals, nuts and nuts).

It is important to enhance fish, which is also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (the famous omega 3) essential for the nervous development of the child and legumes and nuts. During pregnancy, all types of fish are indicated, from the leanest and easily digestible ones such as plaice, sole, sea bream to the fattest ones such as salmon, tuna and swordfish. A special note goes to the blue fish (sardines, mackerel, herring), excellent source of vitamin D.

You can eat legumes (beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils) four or five times a week and fish - including shellfish and crustaceans - three or four times.

On closer inspection, these indications outline a very specific diet: the Mediterranean diet, rich in carbohydrates, omega 3 fats, fibers, vitamins and minerals and low in "bad" fats. 10 PHOTOS

The Mediterranean diet is GOOD. Here because

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The more Mediterranean you eat, the longer you live. Also, those who eat "med" get sick less. This diet protects against various diseases: cardiovascular ones before ...

3. Break the meals

Another important aspect for the balance of the diet is the distribution of meals throughout the day. No to binges concentrated in a few meals: the ideal would be to distribute them in 5 moments

  1. breakfast,
  2. morning snack,
  3. lunch,
  4. snack,
  5. Dinner 

or even more if necessary.

In this way the energy supply is distributed, keeping satiety under control and without overloading the digestive function: an aspect that is anything but negligible in pregnancy, often burdened by various forms of gastric disorders.

Not surprisingly, one of the first steps to counter the nausea of ​​the first weeks or gastroesophageal reflux that can appear in the second or third trimester is precisely to do meals not abundant and well distributed during the day.

4. Drink a lot

"The human body is made up of 70% water," he explains. "Maintaining a good state of hydration is important for the body at every stage of life and even more so in pregnancy, when the volume of maternal blood increases to ensure, among other things, a good vascularization of the placenta which feeds the fetus ".

How much to drink in pregnancy?

To maintain this maternal-fetal balance it is therefore necessary to ensure a proper hydration, drinking about 2-2,5 liters of water per day and even more in summer.

Drinks to avoid or reduce in pregnancy

No to wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages, while you can drink in moderation sugar-free juices and juices and tea and coffee. Some studies suggest a link between excess caffeine and risk of miscarriage, therefore it is better not to exceed two / three cups of coffee and two / four cups of tea a day. Great moderation for sugary drinks.

5. Minerals in pregnancy

In addition to folic acid - to be taken with supplements even before conception - during pregnancy the requests for

  • iron
  • and football.

A varied diet helps cover them.

The importance of iron in pregnancy

Il iron, for example, abounds in

  • horsemeat,
  • poultry,
  • tuna
  • and trout.

With regard to plant sources, is present in:

  • legumes,
  • cocoa,
  • Sesame seeds,
  • dark green leafy vegetables such as rocket and broccoli

However, it must be said that in plants it is present in a more difficult form to absorb but that some combinations - for example with the Vitamin C some lemon juice oi carotenoids of pumpkin, tomatoes or egg yolk - facilitate absorption.

The importance of calcium in pregnancy

Il football, on the other hand, it is present in particular in

  • milk,
  • yogurt
  • and cheese,
  •  in vegetable (raw carrots, chicory, endive, lettuce, radicchio, rocket),
  • dried fruit
  • and some seafood products (octopus and lattarini).

"Without forgetting - he underlines - the contribution of moderately mineralized waters that have a concentration of at least 150 mg / l on the label ".

In any case, you can discuss with your doctor whether or not you need a supplement for these substances.

Read also: Nutrition during pregnancy, everything you need to know

The mother's diet and the baby's bacteria

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear how important the set of microbes (especially bacteria, but also viruses, yeasts and fungi) that live in our intestines is for our health. As recalled by the volume The diet of the microbiome (Vallardi, 2022), we have now learned that the intestinal microbiome:

  •  helps regulate body weight;
  •  contributes to the proper development of the immune system;
  • produces substances capable of modulating mood and health in general.

An increasingly important line of research concerns the discovery of the factors that influence composition of the microbiome of a newborn. We know for example that it depends on the type of delivery - whether vaginal or cesarean - and by the type of nursing - whether breastfeeding or with formula milk - but a recent English study also showed a role for the type of maternal feeding during pregnancy. One more reason to take care of the pregnancy diet.

By the way, according to the book The diet of the microbiome, among the foods "friends of good bacteria" we find olive oil, fatty fish rich in omega 3 (mackerel, sardine, anchovy), eggs, fruit and vegetables, barley, oats, flax seeds, yogurt. Instead, sugar and processed foods such as sausages and processed meats should be avoided.

To learn more:

  • nausea in pregnancy: 15 tips to fight it
  • the second trimester of pregnancy: that's why they are considered the best months
  • the third trimester of pregnancy
  • sports during pregnancy in the third trimester
  • vitamin b6 in pregnancy
  • birthmarks in pregnancy: what they depend on and how to behave
  • stomach upset during pregnancy, what happens quarter by quarter

  • pregnancy feeding
  • mineral salts
  • Mediterranean diet
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