Antenatal Lesson 1 -- Nutrition

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Learning from experience is a faculty almost never practiced -- Barbara Tuchman

Well, in this case, it is indeed never practiced! Antenatal lessons have started. Seems like the kiasu-ism in Singaporean extends to such classes. I had to be on waiting list for a mth and if I were to procrastinate any further and wait for a wkend class, I'd have to wait till October! The hub feels there's no need to spend such money and that he knows everything there is to know about childbirth (MCP at play once again). Yet, education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Lesson one was about nutrition for mums-to-be. A tad too late given that I'm 9wks more to countdown. Nevertheless, it made me realise that I should be putting on more weight! Perhaps due to the the vomitting spells during the first tri, it wasn't easy to catch up. Apparently, if you are underweight (BMI less than 18) your total ideal weight gain should be 15.1kg. If you are normal weight to begin with, your ideal weight gain should be 12.7kg. And if you are overweight (BMI more than 23), your weight gain should be 10.2kg. I m of normal weight and currently, I've put on 7+kg. 5kg more to go? I think it's quite possible. I hope all my weight gain is sucked by my lil cabbage. It is said that only approximately 3.5kg of hte total weight gaini s due to the developing baby. The remainder comprises of vital tissues and flluids that nourish and protect the foetus before and after birth.

Eating has become a chore as I have to think of what nutritious food to fill my tummy with. It requires effort from the mother if you want to provide the most conducive environment for the development of your baby. Given the crazy amount of things to deal with right now, food is simply what's available there and then. Guilty much. So what are the calorie requirements during pregnancy? There are four essential food groups that contribute towards a healthy diet. These are:

1) Rice and alternatives. These include rice, pasta and noodles. They provide protein, energy, fibre, vitamins and minerals. One should take approximately 5-7servings a day! (i'm wayyyyyy below that!)

2) Fruits and Veg: They provide fibre, energy, minerals and vits, particularly A and C. Approximately 2 servings.

3) Meat and alternatives: This gp which includes poultry, meat, fish and dairy products, provides protein, energy, vitamin and minerals. Eggs, peas, beans and nuts are also included in this gp. Milk and dairy foods provide the much needed calcium for strengthening teeth and bones. Approximately 2 to 3 servings.

4) Fats, Oils, Sugar, Salt: These include butter and margarine. This gp provides energy, essential fatty acids and vitamins, particularly Vitamins A and D. Quantity: Sparingly.

Effectively, pregnant ladies should pay more attention to protein, calcium, iron, folate and water. Particularly Calcium. The baby requires most in its last tri. Dairy foods are the best sources of calcium. You should aim to take 1000mg of calcium daily. These can come from milk (300mg); yoghurt (290g); Sardines (300mg); Water beancurd (300g); Ikan bilis (300mg); broccoli (240mg). For iron, it's essential for the successful manufacturing of blood. It is major part of a protein called haemoglobin which carries oxygen around your body. I'd like to think that I'm good in this department particularly during the first tri when the MIL cooked liver every other day after my first fainting spell! HOwever, contrary to the believe, liver/ kidney should only be taken once in a while and each time should be approximately a matchbox size! Right now, I'm on vitamin supplements which contains iron and folic acid and it's causing my constipation to return and my stools are dark green! It's normal as the body will not fully absorb thus out it comes. Good sources of folic acid include spinach, broccoli, peanuts, salad vegetables and wholegrain products. However, because folic acid is often lost in cooking, the doctor will prescribe a supplement, often in conjunction with iron. It is more crucial during the first tri for the closure of the spinal cord. In the 2nd and 3rd tri, it contributes to red blood cells.

Drinking plenty of water is always a good idea, but when you are pregnant, it becomes especially important. At this pt, i see several mummies picking up their bottles. I think i'm a little behind in this department. M trying to buck up but the stomach has shrunk tremendously due to the bulk and a little more food/ water causes bloatedness. I should probably step up on the intake as it helps to reduce constipation. Since i'm on this topic, other ways of reducing constipation include:
  • Increase your consumption of whole grain bread and cereals
  • eat plenty of vegetables and fruits which are high in fibre
  • Regular exercise (ok, i'm guilty of not doing so....does walking from place to place count?)
Lastly, I've went home learning a new word -- ODEMA which apparently is what is known as water retention or swelling of legs. This happens for several reasons but one main thing is due to extremely salty foods eg salted fish, eggs or salts veg should be avoided. Canned or preserved foods should also be taken in moderation. That does not mean you should go salt-free. Do not restrict salt intake unless you have been excessive in your consumption. Put your legs up at every opportunity and do some exercises to improve the circulation.

Another interesting thing to take home from lesson 1 was the foods to eat during confinement. Apparently the body loses a lot of heat after birth, thus one must eat more Heaty food. I think that's "Yin" state according to the Chinese beliefs. During confinement, drinking of water is not allowed too apparently! Only red dates and dried longan drink. Hmmm i like that, but wonder if i can take that for long. Fruits are the most forbidden during this period as it is too cooling, with the exception of papaya and durians. The basic idea is not to allow your body lost heat, thus wearing socks and not bathing for a mth (NO WAY!) are some ways. Aircon is apparently fine as long as it's not blasting at you and it isnt too cold. Lastly, some believe that one should not take ginger as it causes jaundice. This is just a myth. But if you bb is born with jaundice, then just take in moderation.

Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts -- Henry B. Adams