What role do they play in your diet?
You will find below the specific nutrients that are important when you are pregnant.
They enable the construction of the foetus' tissues (skeleton, muscles, cells...) and the renewal of the mother's tissues.
Although the protein requirement increases during pregnancy, it is generally covered by today's eating habits.
Proteins of animal origin (meat, fish, egg, dairy products) provide the eight essential amino-acids.
Proteins of vegetable origin (cereals, oleaginous plants, legumes) do not provide all essential amino-acids except quinoa which is one of the rare grains that contain the eight essential amino-acids.
Therefore, it is interesting to associate different sources of proteins to cover these needs in amino-acids (cereals-legumes, animal and vegetable proteins ...).
A daily carbohydrate supply is essential during pregnancy.
Indeed, glucose which is the basic element of carbohydrates, is the main source of energy for the foetus. Nowadays, the carbohydrate consumption is unbalanced: too much simple sugars and not enough complex sugars.
It is recommended to favour complex sugars (whole cereals, pasta, bread, dry vegetables...) as they are released progressively in the organism which avoids hypoglycaemia crisis.
They are the main structure of biological membranes, which are very developed in the nervous system.
Their consumption should not be neglected during pregnancy. It is important to vary the sources of fats.
• butter which also provides vitamin A (action on sight).
• vegetable oils (olive, rapeseed, sunflower, wheat germ...) and fat fishes for a supply in essential fatty acids (brain development).
Fibres help to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, decrease the blood cholesterol rate and regulate the intestinal transit.
The consumption of fibres is not sufficient in a lot of industrial countries. During pregnancy, digestion is slower and it can create constipation problems.
That is why a regular fibre supply is necessary.. There are two kinds of fibres in food; and they are both interesting:
• soluble fibres contained in vegetables, legumes and fruit.
• Insoluble fibres found mostly in cereals.
It has an action on the calcium's metabolism during ossification. Therefore, it participates in the building of the foetus's skeleton
and helps to preserve the integrity of the mother's skeleton. It can be synthetized in good quantity by the organism
in the skin after an exposure to sun. Pregnant women often lack vitamin D at the end of pregnancy and generally need a supplementation
during the last three months.
Vitamin D is mostly found in fat sea fish (salmon, herring, sardine, trout, anchovy...).
It plays a role in the foetus' general development.
Many women lack vitamin B9 (folic acid) from the beginning of pregnancy, which increases the risk of prematurity and late growth of the foetus.
The richest foods in folic acid are yeast, liver, wheat germ, salads (cress, dandelion, spinach), leafy green vegetables (sorrel, cauliflower, Brussels sprout), nuts (chestnut, walnut, hazelnut, almond), cheeses and egg.
It is essential for the transport of oxygen in blood.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 18% of pregnant women living in industrial countries lack iron.
The best sources of iron are meat, poultry and fish.
You can also find it in cereals (wheat germ, oat flakes, whole wheat...), yeast, fruit (apricot, date), nuts, legumes (lentils, beans), but it is not absorbed as well by the organism.
It plays a fundamental role in the bone construction and teeth solidity.
It also intervenes in several functions such as muscle contraction, blood coagulation or enzymes synthesis.
However, some women lack calcium.
Calcium is mainly found in milk and milk products. The organism absorbs calcium best when it comes from food. Other foods contain calcium, such as drinking water, cereals, legumes, some fish (sardine, anchovy...), vegetables (parsley, cress, spinach...).
It intervenes in a lot of cellular functions.
The main sources of magnesium are cocoa, legumes (beans, lentils...), nuts, cereals (yeast flakes, buckwheat, whole bread,...) and milk.
Water is the only essential drink.
It helps pregnant women to avoid urinary infections and to fight against constipation.
The needs in water increase during pregnancy and breast-feeding. The daily consumption should be superior to 1,5 liter.