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Eating for two does not end with pregnancy

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st July 2009 03:00 AM

DURING pregnancy, many mothers eat much more than usual. Daisy Ssenyonga, a senior midwife, with Mengo Hospital explains: “That way their bodies store up the nutrition they need, so that their baby can develop well.”

DURING pregnancy, many mothers eat much more than usual. Daisy Ssenyonga, a senior midwife, with Mengo Hospital explains: “That way their bodies store up the nutrition they need, so that their baby can develop well.”

By Agnes Kyotalengerire

DURING pregnancy, many mothers eat much more than usual. Daisy Ssenyonga, a senior midwife, with Mengo Hospital explains: “That way their bodies store up the nutrition they need, so that their baby can develop well.”

Ssenyonga adds that after birth, what a mother eats is important for a baby’s growth and health because good nutrition equals to good quality breast milk. “The quality and quantity of a woman’s breast milk can be affected by the mother’s diet.”

So what should a mother eat?
Flora Kisembo, a senior midwife, advises a breastfeeding mother to eat a well-balanced diet with vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates to manufacture sufficient milk.

She adds that fruits and vegetables are the best source of vitamins. Fruits like pineapples, oranges, mangoes and pawpaws provide vitamin C, which boosts the immunity system, Vegetables like nakatti, bugga and eggplants provide iron and zinc. Broccoli is a good source of both vitamin C and A.

In addition, Kisembo recommends that breastfeeding mothers should take proteins, which can be got from beef, poultry, fish, beans and groundnuts.

Oils and fats added to vegetables and other foods improve the absorption of some vitamins and provide extra energy. A daily intake of any of these: oil, oil seeds, margarine, ghee and butter is advisable.

Besides, Babra Tembo a nutritionist with IBFAN Uganda (International Baby Food Action Network, an NGO that advocates exclusive breastfeeding) notes that increasing the quantity of water you drink will provide your body with enough water to produce enough breast milk and address your body’s needs for hydration.

She recommends taking eight glasses or 1.5 litres a day. Besides water, you can take any drink of preference, for example milk tea, porridge or fruit juice.

Energy and body building foods like matooke, maize, sweet and Irish potatoes are equally important because milk production requires energy.

Tembo advises that within eight weeks after birth, a mother should take Vitamin A supplements to boost the baby’s immune system. Folic and iron supplements are also needed to prevent anaemia. Take iron tablets with meals to increase absorption and to avoid potential side effects like nausea.

Tembo notes, minerals such as calcium and zinc are essential. Calcium is important for the development of healthy bones; lack of it can lead to osteoporosis; a disease that makes bones prone to fracture in old age. Milk and other dairy products are a great source of calcium.

In addition, milk is also a good source of vitamins B2 and B12. If you cannot take milk or you are a vegetarian, you can get calcium from other sources like calcium enriched soya milk.

Eating for two does not end with pregnancy

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