Eating well during pregnancy
Once the meeting starts, welcome everyone and ask the participants: • Who can help us remember what we talked about in our last meeting? • Who was able to do the activity at home that we asked you to do at the end of the meeting? How did it go? • Does anyone have questions or concerns after doing the activity?
What are we going to learn?
Foods that pregnant women can eat to remain healthy and ensure their baby grows big and strong. Let’s talk about it! We are going to look at some pictures, so we can talk about what we all know about this topic. How well did you or your mother eat during her pregnancy? What do you think are the best thing for a pregnant woman to eat?
What do you think are the foods and drinks that a pregnant woman should avoid?
section 1 / pre-natal • meeting 3
“The happy meal” We are going to pick a variety of nutritious foods for mothers to eat during their pregnancies.
What we’ll need: • Bags or baskets full of common
WHAT WE’LL DO: market food Bring a bag or basket with a variety of foods (both • A clean table healthy and unhealthy) common to the region and • A big sheet of paper with a happy put them on a table. • Ask the participants (mothers and fathers) to face at the top put the foods that they think are healthy on • A big sheet of paper with a sad one side and the foods they think are unhealthy face at the top on the other. You can put a happy face next to the ‘Healthy’ food and a sad face next to the ‘Unhealthy’ food. • When they have finished, ask them why they put the foods in each place. • Finish up by giving some basic information about the importance of a balanced diet for the mother and the child. Other suggestions: A variation on this activity is to divide the participants into two groups and have one group draw pictures of nutritious food on a paper with a happy face and the other group draw unhealthy foods on a paper with a sad face. Then ask each group to talk about why the foods are healthy or unhealthy. • If you have enough time, go to a market or grocery store with a group to pick out the healthiest food for pregnant women and then prepare a nutritious meal together with the foods you bought. • The mothers can find and share new recipes for preparing more nutritious foods from what is produced in the community, and try them out with the group. • Keep in mind that many families have little money for buying food. If it’s possible to have a small garden, organize a workshop for learning to grow vegetables and fruits in their home and their community.
What did we learn today? Now, we’ll review what we discussed today. • How do you feel after this meeting? Why? • What are the two most important things you’ve learned today? • What will you do differently based on what you learned during the meeting? • What did you like the most? Are there things you didn’t like? • Do you have any remaining concerns or questions about what we talked about? To finish, what would you recommend to improve today’s meeting when we do it again with another group. (Explain that answering this question will help the meeting be even better in the future for parents with small children.)
To do at home:
• The mothers plan ahead and eat nutritious foods every day. • The mothers should try making at least one new meal every week.
Basic information for the facilitator: Learning more about eating well during pregnancy: 1- Eat more during pregnancy
A pregnant women needs to eat more food than normal since she is eating to feed herself, her growing baby, and helping her body store vitamins and minerals for when it is time to breastfeed. It is very important that a pregnant woman gain enough weight during pregnancy. A pregnant woman should go for her pre-natal checkups at the local health center to find out if she is gaining the right amount of weight. Some women worry about gaining weight because they think it will make pregnancy more difficult with a larger baby; however if a mother does not eat enough she will be weaker for the pregnancy and she and her baby could have a risky pregnancy and delivery. Low birth weight is also one of the biggest indications of risks of disease and health problems for the baby. It is important that the mother eats more than normal to gain the amount of weight a strong mother and healthy baby need.
section 1 / pre-natal • meeting 3
2- Eat a colorful diet
A pregnant woman needs to get more vitamins and minerals during her pregnancy. This means she needs to eat a colorful diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish, milk, beans, lentils or other animal sources available. Dark leafy greens and orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are important for Vitamin A and Vitamin C in the pregnant woman’s diet. Pregnant women should avoid soft drinks and high sugar foods that don’t offer any benefit to the mother or baby.
3- Iron supplements and iron rich food for pregnant women
During a pregnancy a woman’s diet must provide enough iron to create new blood for her growing body and for the growing baby. Red meat and liver are very good sources of iron to help the pregnant woman and her baby have strong blood. There is some iron in other foods such as leafy greens, legumes and fortified cereals, however, animal meats are the best sources. Since it is very hard to get enough iron in the diet, a woman should take iron supplements during pregnancy. A woman who does not have enough iron in her body can get anemia which is a condition that makes her very weak and tired and puts her and her baby at risk. A woman can often get supplements at her local health center.
Clean kitchen It is important for a pregnant woman to stay healthy and avoid any infections that might give her parasites or diarrhea. By keeping a clean kitchen, she can reduce the chance of diarrhea and infections that would harm her pregnancy. • Wash fruits and vegetables before cooking or eating. • Keep animals out of the kitchen. • Boil water for drinking and cooking and cover it to store. • Wash and air dry dishes. • Hands should be washed before cooking, before eating and after going to the washroom. A healthy kitchen can help a pregnant woman stay safe from infections so she can feed herself and her baby and not parasites.