The first trimester is 0-13 weeks gestation
A healthy diet and lifestyle during the months
leading up to conception and throughout pregnancy is recommended to aid the
chances of conception and maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. It has been found
that pre-pregnancy preparation has reduced the incidence of congenital
malformation, pre-term birth, and intra-uterine growth retardation. Although
most of the information given here is applicable to pregnancy it is advisable to
consider this information throughout your treatment, as a good diet will ensure
that should a pregnancy occur, your body would have a good store of nutrients
for a baby to utilize. In addition, it takes over two weeks following treatment
to find out if pregnancy has occurred. Throughout these two weeks, the embryo is
undergoing many developmental changes; hence it is preferable that you do not
expose yourself to any undue risks of infection that could affect that
development. These infections include Toxoplasmosis, Listeriosis and Salmonella.
An unborn baby is most susceptible to nutritional deficiencies and infections
during the first trimester (i.e. the first three months) of pregnancy when the
development is greatest. Therefore this information is designed to give guidance
on maintaining a safe and healthy lifestyle, that you can follow during
treatment and beyond.
During the first three months of pregnancy all
the organs of the body are completely formed. It is during this period - and, of
course, before - that optimum nutrition is most important. Yet many women
experience continual sickness and don’t feel like eating healthily. Misnamed
‘morning’ sickness, this condition has been accepted as normal during the
first three months of pregnancy. Probably due to increases in a hormone called
HCG, women with poor diets are particularly at risk. During pregnancy the need
for vitamin B6,
iron and zinc all increase; extra supplements
of these usually stop even the worst cases of pregnancy sickness.
For the mother, optimum nutrition before and
during pregnancy ensures a healthier pregnancy with fewer complications,
resulting in a healthier and heavier baby. Your supplement programmed should
include 200 mcg of folic acid, 20mcg of
B12, 200mg of Vitamin B6, 15mg
of zinc, 500mg of calcium, 250mg of
30mg of iron.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
The first trimester is 0-13 weeks gestation.
mg) – Vitamin D (5 mg)
Needed for building bones and teeth, for blood
clotting, for regulating nerve and muscle activity and for absorbing iron.
Calcium (500mg) is required to aid
development of babies bones and teeth. It is found mainly in dairy produce.
There is research that has found that bone density diminishes in the first three
months of pregnancy to enable uptake of calcium by the developing baby.
Therefore, it would be advisable to ensure calcium intake is sufficient during
treatment, to build up your calcium reserves in preparation for pregnancy. In
pregnancy calcium intake is increased 60-70%; therefore as long as you are
taking the recommended amount of calcium further increase is not required.
Calcium absorption is improved with the presence of vitamin D in the diet.
Needed for strong bones and teeth and is essential for calcium absorption into
the blood. The
main source of vitamin D is from exposure to sunlight. Some women who for
cultural reasons keep themselves covered up and do not expose themselves to
sunlight may be lacking in vitamin D. Therefore a supplementation, under the
guidance of your GP, may be necessary.
Magnesium deficiency includes hypomagnesaemia, hypomagnesuria and hypokalemia.
Iron (30-60 mg)
is essential for building healthy red blood cells, which are the basic building
blocks in the blood. Red blood cells contains an essential protein known as
hemoglobin which is necessary for carrying oxygen to the different organs in
the body including the uterus or womb. Many women in the reproductive age
group have increased bleeding during menses and inadequate intake of Iron. This
leads to iron deficiency in the body more commonly referred to as ‘Iron
deficiency anemia. Starting
a pregnancy with anemia can deprive the baby of oxygen which gets more marked
during the second trimester. Unless this deficiency is corrected it may leave
the mothers severely anemic and any blood loss during pregnancy and after
delivery may be dangerous to the mother and the baby. Therefore you
should take iron supplements besides eating food that is rich in iron. Makes
up an important part of hemoglobin, the compound in blood that carries oxygen
from the lungs to the body cells. Iron (12mg) is required for the formation
of red blood cells both for yourself, as the blood volume expands dramatically
in pregnancy, and for a developing baby.
Zinc deficiency cause congenital malformations, neural tube defects and
intrauterine growth retardation.
B Vitamins (An
additional 2 mg of niacin a day, and 0.3 and 0.4 mg more of riboflavin and
B vitamins are required for the growth and
development of unborn babies. B vitamins include: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin,
pyridoxine, folic acid, cobalamin and choline. Essential for good digestion,
energy production, certain enzymes involved in amino-acid synthesis and
maintenance of blood. Women who lack vitamin B in their diet are more
likely to have a low birth weight baby. Supplementation
of the niacin form of vitamin B3 taken during the first trimester has been
positively correlated with higher birth weights, longer length, and larger head
circumference (all signs of healthier infants). Vitamin B1, B2, B6
; 20mcg of vitamin B12
and Folic acid is an important B vitamin as it has
been conclusively shown that a lack of folic acid in your diet can cause neural
tube defects in an unborn baby. Hence the government advises that folic acid
supplements should be taken pre-conceptually and you should start 400 micrograms
daily prior to commencing treatment. In addition, it would be recommended to
have a dietary intake of folic acid also. More about B
Vitamin A (800
Vitamin A helps
prevent infections and is needed for healthy tissue development. Vitamin A in large quantities can cause
congenital defects in children. However, it is not wise to eradicate
vitamin A completely from your diet, as some vitamin A is required for a healthy
pregnancy. Do not take more than 10,000iu of vitamin A, and have a hair mineral
analysis to check for excesses of copper, lead or cadmium.
Vitamin C (50-60 mg)
Needed for healthy collagen, helps wounds to
heal, needed for normal blood-clotting and healthy blood vessels, needed for
iron absorption, and is needed for strong, healthy bones.
Vitamin C is occasionally recommended for
pregnant women. It has been reported that vitamin C may be effective for the
treatment of leg cramps during pregnancy. Conservative doses are 500-2,000 mg
daily. However, women who take more than 5,000 mg vitamin C daily throughout
pregnancy must continue to supplement the infants afterward or the children are
at risk of developing rebound scurvy. So, be aware and be safe. The National
Academy of Sciences recommends vitamin C supplements of 50 mg per day for women
carrying multiple fetuses, and for pregnant substance abusers. Women who are
interested in Vitamin C supplementation should speak with their health care
here to view US RDA's to create your personal Nutrition Program
Before & During Pregnancy