What Should I Eat to Prepare for Labour and Childbirth?
Is your EDD approaching? Don’t panic! You’ve got this, and everything is under control, especially now that you’ve arrived at this article. In this blog, we’ll talk about one of the most crucial aspects of lifestyle at any stage – whether you’re pregnant or have just given birth – which is your diet!
When talking about diet, preparing for childbirth is like preparing for a race. It is a challenge for both your stamina and strength. You may have to exert a lot of energy throughout the labour which could last for long hours. Therefore, you will need to supply yourself with enough energy and proper nutrients before that time comes.
Of course, this does not mean you should leave everything to the very last minute and gobble down all nutrient-packed foods you could find only days before getting into labour. If possible, maintain a good diet from the moment you found out you were pregnant (bonus point if you could do it continuously afterwards)!
When you are preparing yourself, you are actually at the same time preparing for your baby before they come to this world as well. Have you heard of the phrase “eating for two”? There is definite truth to it, so remember this whenever you are planning your prenatal diet. The key element for preparing yourself in pregnancy and for childbirth is a balanced and nutritious diet.
During pregnancy, you will need to consume extra protein for the growth of your baby in the tummy. Protein is used to create skin, muscle and hair. Before childbirth, protein is essential to strengthen muscles. If you are pregnant, we would advise you to eat dairy and lean meat which has a high quality of protein. If necessary, you can choose supplements with natural and unsweetened protein powder.
Many women have low iron stores due to menstruation every month which might lead to anaemia. As you are pregnant, your blood volume increases by 30% to 50% and you need to top up your iron levels.
Right before childbirth, your baby will store up the iron which will be needed for the first few months of life. Some foods you can consume before childbirth is dark and leafy vegetables, dried fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Regularly consuming suitable confinement fruits for after birth is also important to improve your gut health and prevent constipation, which is the last thing you would want to deal with when recovering from birth.
Everyone needs vitamin D which aids in absorbing calcium. It is especially important for pregnant mothers as well as breastfeeding mothers as it helps the baby in developing bones and teeth. Without enough vitamin D, your baby might have soft bones. Vitamin D can be found in natural sunlight and some foods such as eggs and salmon. Before childbirth, pregnant mothers needs to consume more vitamin D so that the baby can obtain enough vitamin D.
Compared to an average adult, you will need more calcium when you are pregnant to provide the calcium for the baby. Calcium is necessary for the bones development of a baby. If you don’t consume enough calcium, your baby may draw the calcium from your bone. This can lead to porous bones later in the life of a mother.
Calcium is usually difficult to obtain from diet and it is easier to take a supplement which helps to boost iron levels for pregnant mother. Some natural foods you can consider to increase iron level are dark leafy vegetables, legumes, tofu and milk. Make sure to choose the best confinement vegetables as well to replenish your lost nutrients and blood properly.
During pregnancy, you will need to adapt to your body changes and role changes. These changes might cause anxiety and stress as each of them may feel extremely unfamiliar and new to you. With enough consumption of Omega-3, your risk of depression can be reduced.
You can increase your intake of Omega-3 throughout the pregnancy especially in your third trimester as Omega-3 can help to reduce the risk of premature birth, according to research. Omega-3 can be found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, walnut, chia seeds and seaweed.
Zinc is a mineral that is essential for growth, development, immune functions and cell division and tissue growth of a baby. Low zinc concentrations will cause birth defects and premature birth.
According to research, zinc can help to reduce the risk of premature birth by 14% compared to those mothers who do not receive zinc. To avoid such a situation, this food for pregnant women keep the zinc level high: nuts, whole grains, and legumes.
After giving birth, you will need to have a balanced and nutritious diet, as well as enough rest for recovery. Many Asian mothers would choose to practise confinement, which is the tradition of confining yourself to the house (or staying indoors as much as possible) while following various ‘rules’ such as keeping yourself warm under layered clothing.
If you are planning to practise confinement, it is important to know the right food to eat during confinement. Most confinement meals are not only nutritious, but would also have heaty properties to keep your warm. But not to worry! You can still enjoy a great variety of food on a daily basis, like what our menu will tell you.