Pregnancy is a very crucial period in a woman's life during which good nutrition is very important to ensure that mother and baby are healthy. The calorie needs of a pregnant woman is said to increase by about 150kcals per day during the first trimester. This figure is said to further increase to about 350 to 450 kcals per day during the second and third trimesters respectively. The increased need is necessitated by the increased metabolism during pregnancy which often leads to hunger pangs and food cravings. Pregnancy increases the need for micro-nutrients such as Iron, Folate, Calcium etc. by up to 50% hence many medical practitioners recommend dietary supplements during pregnancy; where as the need for macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) increases by about 20% during the second and third trimesters. All these needs can be met by choosing a diet full of healthy foods.The "eating for two" concept does not refer to doubling the food and calorie intakes, rather it refers to the increased need for several vitamins and minerals.
Rather than binge on sugary or fat filled snacks, increasing the serving size of foods should be sufficient to satisfy the increased calorie needs . The extra calories needed should come from foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat, yogurt, snails, fish etc. Lucky enough, Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of nutrient-dense foods such as meat, beans, different sea foods, many varieties of vegetables and fruits most of which are easily accessible . Pregnant women should strive to maintain good nutrition during pregnancy and avoid both too little and too much food intake.Sadly, there are many Myths surrounding nutrition in our part of the world, most of which are baseless.
Gradual weight gain during pregnancy is necessary, with most of the weight gained in the last trimester. Pregnancy diet should allow for approximately 0.9kg to 1.8kg(2 to 4 pounds) of weight gain during the first trimester and then subsequent weight gain of 0.3kg to 0.5kg (0.75lbs to 1lbs) weekly during the second and last trimesters.
A healthy goal for total weight gain for women of normal weight ( based on Body Mass Index((BMI) 18.6 to 24.9) averages about 11.5kg to 16kg (25lbs to 35lbs). Women carrying more than one baby gain between 15kg to 23kg (35lb to 50lbs). For women who begin pregnancy with low BMI, the goal increases to 12.5kg to 18kg (28lbs to 40lbs). It decreases to 7kg to 11.5kg for women who begin pregnancy with high BMI .