Living responsibly during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are two very special phases for a woman as life becomes more enriched and day after day we experience a new life growing – a person for whom we are entirely responsible. A responsible lifestyle plays a particularly important role for both mother and child at this stage. A healthy diet both during and after pregnancy with food that is rich in micronutrients can boost your own well-being and the development of your child.
Nine months of anticipation
When you feel your baby moving for the first time, the happiness is breathtaking. As an expectant mother, you can do a lot for the development of your child by maintaining a well-balanced diet. A sufficient supply of micronutrients boosts your health and is important for a trouble-free pregnancy; it also helps your child to develop normally both physically and intellectually. It is therefore important that you consume enough micronutrients because you are your child’s sole source of nutrition at this stage in its life.
Gherkins and cheesecake
Daily energy requirements increase by about 200-300 calories (approx. +13%) as of the fourth month of pregnancy. This roughly corresponds to just one portion of curd cheese (quark) with fruit. But there is a far greater increase in the need for certain micronutrients that are especially important for mother and child. In addition, cravings for certain foods which are experienced during pregnancy, and which can range from gherkins to cheesecake, can frequently lead to an unbalanced diet that is anything but rich in micronutrients.
Eating for your baby
Your diet during pregnancy is the key to your child’s health. The better you eat, the more your child benefits. The nutrients provided by you from your daily diet are your baby’s only source of food.
- For instance, folic acid contributes to normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. It also plays a role in the process of cell division and contributes to normal functioning of the immune system.
- The mother’s uptake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) contributes to the normal development of the brain and eyes in the foetus and breastfed infant. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be aware that a positive effect is noticeable with a daily uptake of 200 mg DHA, in addition to the recommended daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids amounting to 250 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
- Vitamin D boosts the immune system and contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.
- Probiotics are living microorganisms. They include, for example, certain lactic acid bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. In the gut, probiotics are part of the gut flora.
- Iodine and iron contribute to normal cognitive functioning.
Breast milk is the best choice for a child
Pregnancy and giving birth are often extremely hard work for the body. A balanced selection of micronutrients helps you to get fit again quickly. During this phase the body uses a particularly large amount of micronutrients for the development and regeneration of its cells. Breastfeeding women achieve something really quite unbelievable: about 800 ml of milk is produced for the baby every day and the body needs nutrients in order to do this. So it is especially important during this time that women maintain a balanced diet. They are free to eat protein-rich foods such as dairy products, eggs, meat and nuts. And a sufficient intake of liquids, which also increases the quantity of milk produced, should also be ensured.
Increased need for micronutrients during breastfeeding
Women who are breastfeeding have an increased need for micronutrients because they have to meet not only their own requirements, but also those of their child via their breast milk. Breast milk is now the most important source of nutrients for the child, who benefits from the micronutrients via the breast milk. For example, the uptake of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to normal development of the brain and eyes. In addition, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin D and also folic acid, iron, zinc, selenium and copper contribute to normal functioning of the immune system. A sufficient supply of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, probiotics and minerals (incl. trace elements) creates a good foundation that enables the child to develop properly. It is ideal if babies are breastfed on demand. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that women exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months.
Tips for pregnancy and breastfeeding
Several portions of fresh fruit and vegetables and also wholegrain products should be consumed every day. Dairy products incl. cheese should be made from pasteurised and where possible low-fat milk. You should also remember to eat about two portions of meat and fish per week. Raw or semi-cooked foods such as carpaccio, sushi, Mettwurst (smoked sausage spread), mayonnaise or products made with raw milk should be strictly avoided. In addition to a healthy diet, some moderate exercise or gentle endurance sports can do you good and make pregnancy and breastfeeding less of a strain.