Now you’ve taken the plunge, we are going on a journey through your whole pregnancy week by week; looking at what is going on and most importantly what you both need to be thinking about when; in an entertaining and informative pregnancy diary format. Enjoy!
Week One ~ What Your Body Needs
Around fourteen days after your period, your body ovulates and an egg is released from an ovary into the fallopian tube. You can tell when you are in a fertile by looking at how your vaginal mucus changes, at this time, it’s often thought to resemble raw egg white.
Giving your body what it needs in pregnancy is mostly common sense, and how many calories you need depends on your height, weight, build and how active you are at the time of conception. Dieting during pregnancy is not advisable and it’s normal to put on weight. However, if weight is an issue for you, it is possible to grow a healthy baby without much weight gain, provided you are eating healthily. For many women this can be a time when their diet can change for the better.
Fresh, seasonal foods provide more goodness that junk, and eating regular meals, with snacks in between can be a good way to maintain your energy levels. You may find you need more protein than you have previously eaten, protein rich foods include milk, hard cheese, yogurt, lean meat, fish, cooked beans and lentils, tofu, miso, eggs, seaweeds, nuts and seeds. It is possible to maintain a healthy pregnancy as a vegetarian or vegan, providing your body is getting a balance of protein from other sources.
Calcium is important for growing your baby’s bones and teeth, and this will be taken from your own bones if you don’t have enough intake, which can cause issues in later life. Good sources of calcium include, dairy foods, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables, spinach, tofu, tinned fish that includes bones, baked beans, red kidney beans, and tahini.
Vitamin D is important in absorbing calcium and preventing health problems for the baby. Exposure to sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D, with people with darker skins or women who wear the veil needing to spend longer times than those with fair or paler skin.
Magnesium helps to retain calcium and some good sources of it are wholewheat flour, wheatgerm, beetroot leaves, spinach and raw parsley.
Zinc aids enzyme and nerve production and helps to build up the baby’s immune system. It’s common to be slightly deficient in zinc in pregnancy. Foods that contain good sources of zinc include; wheat bran, wheatgerm, dried ginger root, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts, dried legumes, red meats, chicken, fish wholegrains and cheeses.
Folic acid is a group B vitamin, and it is universally acknowledged that it’s a good idea to start taking this for a month before pregnancy and for three months after conception. Folic acid has been proven to reduce neural tube defects. It can be found in green leafy vegetables, and yellow vegetables, and whole grain cereals, but half of it can be lost in cooking or storage.
Iron requirements increase in pregnancy and it can be common for iron levels to dip due to increased blood volume and the need to make haemoglobin. The placenta prioritises the baby’s iron requirements, taking them for your blood, which is why anaemia is common in pregnancy. Iron absorption is helped by vitamin C, but hindered by tea and coffee and some antacid medicines.
Questions for your journal, meditations, or artwork:
- What is your relationship with food?
- What do you think family meals will be like in the future?