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Pregnancy Diet

Is it OK to stay at home and take rest in 9th month of pregnancy? What should be the diet for pregnancy
(April 17, 2012)

The ninth month of pregnancy can be a very challenging period, but on the plus side, the wait is almost over! You’re probably brimming with excitement and anticipation, but your exuberance is tempered with anxiety and worry about the health of your baby, and what kind of a mother you’ll be. These may be the last few days of your pregnancy though, so try and relax and enjoy them. Your diet is one of the most important factors in the health of the mother and the unborn child, so while you indulge your taste buds, do exercise some caution.

In the ninth month, the baby has almost completed its development, with the lungs and the brain continuing to mature. The weight of the baby continues to increase at an even more rapid pace, with weight gains of up to a third of a pound per week being commonplace.

This rapid weight gain tends to exert a great deal of stress on the mother’s digestive system and unless care is taken, it can lead to potential digestive complications.

As your baby is growing rapidly during this period, it is essential that your diet during the last month of pregnancy provide you with the extra calories required. Doctors recommend an additional 300 calories every day as compared to your pre-pregnancy diet. Your diet should contain all the components of your earlier healthy diet, but in slightly larger quantities. How much to eat is as important as what to eat during this period.

A balanced healthy diet during this period should consist of the following portions every day:

  • 6 – 11 servings of whole-grain bread and grains
  • 2 – 4 servings of fruits
  • 4 or more servings of vegetables
  • 4 servings of dairy products
  • 3 servings of protein rich foods
  • Drink adequate amounts of fluids and keep your body well hydrated. Read more on diet chart for pregnant women.

Some of the foods to eat during the ninth month of pregnancy include:

  • Foods that have high fiber content like whole-grain breads, cereals, fruits, dates and vegetables.
  • Foods that are rich in iron such as egg yolk, chicken, fish, broccoli, spinach, peas, lentils, soybeans, berries, dried fruits including prunes, grapes, oranges and apples. Eat at least 3 servings of iron rich foods every day.
  • Foods that are rich in calcium like dairy products, collard greens, almonds, oatmeal and sesame seeds. Eat at least 4 servings of calcium rich foods every day. This is extremely important, as calcium retention is at its peak during the ninth month of pregnancy.
  • Foods that have a high vitamin C content like citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, cauliflower and broccoli.
  • Foods that have a high folic acid content like green leafy vegetables, legumes (chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lima beans). Folic acid is a vital nutrient that is needed to avoid birth defects like spina bifida.
  • Foods that have a high vitamin A content like carrots, sweet potato, spinach and cantaloupe.
  • Although spicy foods have not been proven to be harmful during pregnancy, try to limit your intake as it may cause you digestive problems like heartburn. Limit your intake of coffee as it interferes with the absorption of iron and causes an increase in blood pressure.

What are some of the precautions for ‘9th month’ pregnant women?

The size of the baby in the last month of pregnancy limits the space available in the abdominal cavity for your stomach. This causes the stomach to press against the diaphragm and can result in acid reflux and heartburn. For this reason you will need to adjust your eating schedule so as not to over-fill your stomach. Eating smaller portions at regular intervals can help you minimize the incidence of acid reflux.

  • Try eating four to five smaller meals every day instead of three.
  • As your belly expands, its digestive function will decline and this can result in constipation. For this reason it is important to eat foods that have a high fiber content. Prunes and dates are two foods with high fiber content that can help provide relief from constipation.
  • Avoid any form of strenuous exercise and avoid any kind of sexual activity.
  • Prior arrangement for admission to a maternity home should be made. If you are anticipating a normal delivery, it will help to keep a bag packed for your trip to the maternity home.

What supplements are best during the 9th month of pregnancy?

Most of your nutritional requirements will be met with a well-balanced diet. Your doctor will advise you on the need for any supplements, if necessary. Some of the supplements that your doctor may prescribe include:

  • A multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement: this will ensure that all your body’s vitamin and mineral requirements are met.
  • A calcium supplement: this may be prescribed if you are not getting enough calcium in your daily meal plan. This usually happens in cases of lactose intolerance.
  • An iron supplement: The National Academy of Sciences recommends that all pregnant women should take an iron supplement containing 27mg. of iron during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
  • Folic acid supplements: These are necessary for the formation of healthy red blood cells as well as to prevent birth defects.

Are there any foods to avoid in the ninth month of pregnancy?

Some of the foods to avoid during the last month of pregnancy include:

  • Alcohol: It has been linked to premature delivery, mental retardation and other birth defects. It should be avoided during the entire term of pregnancy.
  • Caffeine: This should be limited to 300mg per day or two 8 ounce cups of coffee. Chocolate too contains caffeine, so ease up on it.
  • Saccharin: This sweetener should be avoided completely. Instead use FDA approved sweeteners like aspartame (Equal) and sucralose (Splenda).
  • Soft cheeses: These are often not pasteurized and may result in an infection.
  • Limit your daily cholesterol and fat intake to 300mg and 65gm respectively.
  • Raw fish

What are the symptoms during the 9th month of pregnancy?

Some of the symptoms during the ninth month of pregnancy include:

  • Indigestion and acidity,
  • Breathlessness,
  • Frequent urination,
  • Constipation,
  • Morning sickness and nausea though rare, can still occur.
  • Insomnia and fatigue,
  • Brown or pinkish discharge from the vagina,
  • Dry and itchy skin especially around the belly,
  • Pain in the pelvic region,
  • Swelling in the legs and extremities. In case of severe swelling, consult your physician immediately, as this may be a sign of preeclampsia.
  • Increase in breast size. Some leakage of fluid may occur.
  • Braxton Hicks or false labor contractions.
Submitted by N on April 17, 2012 at 11:32


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