Pregnancy is a process of fetal growth and development. Nutrition obtained by pregnant women through food is very important, because that’s where the fetus gets the nutrients he needs through the placenta.
In pregnancy, each trimester needs different nutrients. Therefore, knowing the nutrition that is suitable for the pregnancy trimester plays a major role for the health of the mother, as well as the stages of fetal development and growth.
The journey of pregnancy itself is quite long, which is 40 weeks, or about 9-10 months. The first trimester of pregnancy occurs since fertilization of the egg by sperm until the 23rd week. The second trimester starts from the 13th week until the 27th week. The third trimester starts from the 28th week until the 40th week.
In the first trimester, a very important process occurs, namely organogenesis or fetal organ formation. This is the reason why pregnant women should really care about their nutritional intake.
Nutrition needs in the first trimester
For those of you who are pregnant in the first trimester, meet these nutritional needs.
- Folic acid intake of at least 400 micrograms
This amount is important for the formation of fetal nerves. Lack of folic acid can cause birth defects, namely spina bifida. Sources of folic acid include chicken liver, egg yolks, spinach, beans, broccoli, and many more.
- If you are at high risk of having a baby with spina bifida, you need a higher dose of folic acid. The doctor will add folic acid supplements to meet these nutritional needs.
- Vitamin B6 to reduce nausea in mothers who experience nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting usually occur due to hormonal changes that occur during early pregnancy. In severe cases, pregnant women cannot eat at all, and if untreated this is very dangerous for the fetus.
- Foods that are known to be rich in vitamin B6 are bananas, brown rice, salmon, and nuts. If needed, pregnant women can take vitamin B6 supplements so that nutritional intake is maintained.
- Meet the needs of iron to avoid anemia
Anemia or lack of blood increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and maternal depression after giving birth. Examples of foods rich in iron are red meat, beans, and green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages
Alcohol consumption can interfere with fetal brain development. Alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.
- Drinking alcohol in the first trimester can cause low birth weight babies, premature births, preeclampsia, and also a birth defect called fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Nutritional requirements in the second trimester
In the second trimester, nausea and vomiting are usually gone or not as severe as the first trimester. At this stage, the fetal organs are more mature, the bones are stronger. So, usually pregnant women can feel fetal movements from the age of the 18th week and 20th week.
Here are nutrition tips for the second trimester:
- Meet the intake of calcium and vitamin D
Calcium is needed to support the growth of fetal bones and teeth, while vitamin D is needed to help absorb calcium into the body.
- Calcium needs of pregnant women are 1,000 mg, while vitamin D is 4,000 IU. These needs can be met with supplements or foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables.
- The importance of omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 is important for fetal brain, nerve, and vision development. Apart from supplements, omega-3 fatty acids can also be obtained from foods such as salmon, tuna, shrimp, crabs, eggs, soybean oil, canola oil, and walnuts.
- Nutritional needs in the third trimester
In this final trimester, fetal maturation occurs. Fulfillment of nutrition at this time is not only important for the fetus, but also for the mother to be able to go through labor.
The nutrients needed in this trimester are:
- Foods high in carbohydrates
At this time, pregnant women need high energy, where the need for carbohydrates is 2,200 calories. Recommended carbohydrate sources are rice, potatoes, whole-grain bread, and oatmeal.
- Protein should not be missed
Protein can also be a source of energy and forming the immune system. Good sources of protein are red meat, chicken, eggs, milk, tofu, and tempeh.
- Vitamin K
This vitamin can help the blood clotting process after delivery. Foods that are known to be high in vitamin K are melons, whole wheat bread, green beans, and pasta.
To meet the nutritional needs in accordance with the trimester of pregnancy, also add formula milk with complete content to prepare for a healthy pregnancy, as well as to prepare for breastfeeding. Choose pregnant milk that is low in fat, contains iron, high in folic acid, calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamin E. In addition, do also exercise regularly to maximize the health of the mother and fetus. Finally, routine checks should also not be absent, yes, so that the pregnancy continues to be monitored properly and avoid complications.