Pregnancy planning and preparing for it is recommended to start three months prior to conception in order to give birth to a healthy and strong baby. Adjustment of a diet plays a significant role in preparing process. This concerns both women who cannot boast of perfect health and those who strong enough. It is very important to ensure the balanced diet, containing a necessary amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, micro and macro elements needed for the proper fetal development. Most complications can be easily avoided by eating healthy food. Poor diet, as well as, stressful situations or sedentary lifestyle may cause risk to pregnancy, provoke premature birth, and the development of physical or mental disabilities in fetus. Therefore, it is very important to eat well during pregnancy.
Proteins are the basic building blocks of the embryo and the placenta. They are responsible for the immune defenses and stimulation of the cardiovascular system. Proteins regulate the osmotic pressure of the plasma, thus ensuring the best possible supply of oxygen to the cells of the pregnant woman and fetus. It is common knowledge that meat is the most valuable source of the animal protein. Beef and rabbit are the most recommended proteins out of the variety of meat products. In addition, the diet of the pregnant woman should include dairy products: cheese, sour cream, and yogurt. Proteins of plant origin are also essential. They are found in all kinds of nuts, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Serious lack of protein leads to retardation of the fetus intrauterine development, increased blood pressure, edema, impaired liver and kidney functions, and preeclampsia.
Fat contributes to the production of prostaglandins that stimulate the digestive and cardiovascular systems. These nutrients are needed for normal functioning of organism. The richest sources of fat are the animal and vegetable oils, various types of meat, some species of fish, dairy products, nuts and seeds. However, despite the enormous benefits of fat, pregnant woman should not abuse rich fat food (Roth, 2011).
Carbohydrates are an energy source necessary for the metabolism and for stimulation of a nervous system. Carbohydrates excess causes fluid retention in the body. It is as harmful as the lack of it. Therefore, the diet of pregnant woman should consist of optimum quantity of foods rich in carbohydrates. Keeping diet is considered to be overwhelmingly important during the late pregnancy. Sources of carbohydrates are fruits, some vegetables, and pastry products.
Vitamins are special organic substances which play an important role in supporting vital activity of the organism. Pregnant woman needs larger dose of vitamins than usual. Vitamin A is essential for normal feeding and development of the fetus. Sources of vitamin A are eggs, liver, kidney, cottage cheese, yellow and green vegetables, apricots, peaches, apples. Irritability, depression, memory loss, numbness, insomnia, fatigue indicate on a shortage of B vitamins. These vitamins accelerate the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and help in reducing the appearance of early toxicity. In addition, some B vitamins promote the growth of tissues. Therefore, they are extremely necessary both for pregnant women and for the full development of the fetus. B vitamins are contained in oatmeal, buckwheat, cauliflower, potatoes, eggs, mushrooms, cheese, fish and greens.
Vitamin C stimulates blood formation and the process of blood clotting that is especially important during childbirth since woman loses significant quantity of blood. It also increases the absorption of iron, folic acid, calcium. Sources rich in vitamin C are sweet peppers, cauliflower, lemons, oranges, cantaloupe, peaches, grapes, cucumbers, eggplant.
Vitamin D is responsible for the normal growth and development of bones. It enhances the assimilation of magnesium and phosphate. Sources of vitamin D are contained in fish oil, dairy products and eggs. Also it is impossible to give birth to a healthy baby without vitamin E. It participates in the development of the placenta, normalizes blood clotting and circulation, prevents the formation of blood clots, increases tissue regeneration, and accelerates the healing of wounds and scars from surgical sutures. Sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils, nuts, grains, legumes, vegetables and some fruits.
Micro and macro elements are also vital for the normal gestation course and fetal development. The most important are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and iodine. Sources of micro and macro elements are dairy products, nuts and seeds, some vegetables, fish, meat, cereals, buckwheat, grenades (Roth, 2011).
Toxicosis is divided into two groups: early and late pregnancy toxemia. Despite the long-term investigation of the issue, the cause of toxicity has not yet been clarified. According to the most popular theory, toxicosis develops due to abnormal impulses which are coming from the ovum and sent to the brain of the mother. Early pregnancy toxemia includes salivation, vomiting and uncontrollable vomiting. Salivation most often is associated with vomiting which usually occurs during the 2nd or the 3rd months of pregnancy. It is accompanied by nausea and loss of appetite. Uncontrollable vomiting is dangerous as it leads to dehydration and inanition of the body.
It is recommended to observe the following requirements in case of early pregnancy toxemia. Meals should be frequent (every 3-4 hours), and in small portions. Woman can eat a slice of lemon, a few nuts, dried fruit or crackers in order to cope with nausea attack. A cup of tea or a glass of juice and biscuit or slice of cheese or yogurt is enough for breakfast. Soup diet can be eliminated during this period. Food is better taken with no drinking. Drinks can be used separately. If vomiting occurs more than 20 times a day, the treatment should be carried out in the hospital (Brown, 201l).
Pregnant woman may suffer from dropsy, nephropathy and preeclampsia during toxicosis of late pregnancy. Dropsy begins with the development of pronounced skin swelling. It is very important to keep diet at that stage of pregnancy otherwise the disease may progress to nephropathy.
Preeclampsia is a complication that develops in result of an unbalanced diet. It can occur during the last trimester of pregnancy. Water-salt metabolism is violated. In other words, the body retains water and sodium. As a result, blood circulation, nutrition and oxygen supply are impaired. High concentration of liquid is observed in brain, liver, kidney, uterus and placenta. This may lead to kidneys fail and dystrophic changes (Brown, 201l).
Risk factors for preeclampsia: obesity, underweight, insulin resistance, poor calcium and vitamin D status, renal disease. Impairment of vision, seeing spots, insomnia, vomiting are symptoms of preeclampsia. Muscles contraction begins and it turns into convulsions and loss of consciousness. Sometimes seizure can recur even before the woman regains consciousness. Even the first seizure can lead to coma or death of the mother. The seizures usually result into a deep coma.
There no guaranteed methods of prevention for preeclampsia, although keeping a diet and water-intake regime is considered to be an effective mean of its prevention. All future mothers must refuse of chocolate, smoked meats, too salty, starchy, fried and canned food regardless of how they felt in the early pregnancy. Total amount of liquid should not exceed 0.26 - 0.39 gallons per day. Woman must eat cooked meat and fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, salads with vegetable oil and a variety of cereals. Balanced diet in combination with appropriate drug therapy often helps to prevent preeclampsia. Drug therapy includes fish oil supplementation, calcium supplementation, low-dose aspirin, antioxidant vitamins (E, C), and antihypertensive medications. Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure since it acts as a calcium-channel blocker. Preeclampsia is rare without high blood pressure (Brown, 201l).
Waiting for a baby is one of the most important, complex and responsible periods in a woman's life. Balanced nutrition is a paramount requirement that must be observed for the purpose of a normal gestation course and the development of healthy fetus. Keystone of the diet is a variety of high-quality, fresh products that do not contain conservatives, colorant, and GMOs.