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HealthPhone™: Food for Life: What Pregnant Women Need to Eat

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MAF Medical Aid Films Films for Life - Food for Life: What Pregnant Women Need to Eat

Tammi Walker - In this film we will be learning what pregnant women need to eat to keep themselves and their babies healthy.

If you are able to eat well when you are pregnant then you and your baby have much better chances of survival.

I take extra care to ensure my wife eats well when she’s pregnant.

I have strong babies because I try to eat well when I'm pregnant.

Comfort has been working with pregnant women for thirty years and she’s an expert in nutrition.

Dr. Comfort Momoh MBE - Public Health Expert - It is very important that women eat very well during pregnancy and while breast-feeding because if they don’t they might become very ill, weak and tired. If a woman stays healthy when she’s pregnant she’s more likely to have a healthy baby, be able to work, look after the rest of her family and recover from child birth. Eating well is one of the most important ways to ensure good health.

Our recommended diet can be roughly divided into four groups. The first is the main food group for your area, which could be rice, maize, millet, cassava, taro, potato, breadfruits, pasta, plantain or banana.

This main food usually provides most of the daily body needs, but this main food is not enough to keep a person healthy. You also need the go, grow, and glow foods.

Let’s meet Diane and she can show us how she does this.

Hi – I'm Diane and I'm three months pregnant. What I eat and drink is really important especially now that I'm pregnant because I want to be healthy all the time and look after my unborn child. I make sure that I eat a mixed diet. I'm very fortunate to have access to all this good food, which makes it easy to eat well

So I've come to the market today to get some food and when I'm shopping I look for the three main foods: go, glow and grow foods.

What are go foods?

Go foods are cooking oil, animal fats like ghee, butter, seeds, nuts, honey, molasses or sugar. You need to try and add go foods to your main food as this will give all the energy you need.

What are grow foods?

Grow foods helps your body to grow. They contain something called protein which helps build muscles, bones and strong blood. Grow foods are milk, yoghurts, cheese, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, peas, lentils, insects and all meat.

Nuts and seeds are good as they are grow foods and go foods.

Meat contains iron. Iron is important because it helps us to prevent anaemia, which is also known as weak blood. Iron also helps make up for the blood that women lose each month during their period. Green leafy vegetables also contain iron.

To keep my energy levels up I top up my main foods with my go foods and I eat plenty of iron. Now iron can be found in red meat and green leafy vegetables or beans.

Some grow foods are also rich in something called calcium, which protects your bones and teeth and if you're pregnant also protects your baby.

I drink lots of milk, eat cheese, yoghurt, curds and beans, as they're full of calcium. I'll also do this when breast feeding my baby.

What are glow foods?

Glow foods contain vitamins and minerals, which helps the body remain healthy and recover from illness. Glow foods are all fruits and vegetables like green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, carrots, pepper, pumpkins, mango, sweet potatoes and orange. Glow foods are also important because they contain a vitamin called folic acid which prevent another type of anaemia or weak blood and helps prevent serious problems that we sometimes see in the back bones and brains of new born babies.

If you can, you need to start taking vitamins or food with folic acid in them before you are pregnant.

Being pregnant I'm very careful to eat lots of green, leafy vegetables. These are full of folic acid.

Other foods that have folic acid include eggs, rice, liver and kidneys.

I eat salt fortified with iodine. Now iodine helps prevent against miscarriages and also helps my baby’s brain develop. Iodine can be found in shellfish, seaweed and eggs. I am fortunate to have all these foods available where I live and I recommend that you eat lots of whatever’s available where you live.

So now we know what kinds of foods we should be eating let's find out about how much we should be eating.

If possible you should eat more food in the last three months of your pregnancy, in particular enough main go, grow and glow foods as the baby needs to store up fats and vitamins and minerals to give it the best chance of survival. Not eating enough of the right foods puts you and your baby at risk of becoming ill and even dying.

After you’ve had your baby you need to keep eating the same good food so that you can recover from childbirth. This will also help you protect your health and your nutrition while your breast feeding your baby. After you have your baby if you aren't able to eat enough of the right main go, glow and grow foods then you will be more likely to catch infection and illnesses. Your body will make sure that the nutrients in your foods go first to produce breast milk and you will get whatever is left over. So it is important that you continue to eat well so that you have enough energy and health for your daily life.

This woman hasn't eaten enough main and go foods and so she’s tired and lethargic. There are a lot of serious consequences of not eating properly. Women who aren't able to eat well are at risk of illness and even death. It’s worth thinking about what in your community helps women eat well. What are the barriers to a better diet?

If she’d been able to eat main food like rice, potato and millet with sunflower oil she would have stayed healthy and not felt real tired.

This woman here hasn't been able to eat enough grow foods and so her baby seems quite small and weak. What food would have protected her health?

If she’d been able to eat grow foods like milk and eggs her baby could have been healthier and bigger.

This woman has become constipated which means she has difficulty passing a bowel movement or poo and it feels very uncomfortable. What food would have protected her health?

If she’d been able to eat foods like leafy vegetables, peas, oranges and apples she would not have constipation.

Not eating varieties of food is serious. If you are unable to eat properly you and your baby are at risk of dying. Remember if you look after yourself you will be better able to look after everyone else.

So today’s film has taught us the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet when pregnant or breast-feeding. But remember this advice is good for all people at all stages of life.

A good diet is not just about eating enough food. It’s about eating the right mixture of food.

Main foods – go, grow and glow foods - are important to give yourself and your children the best chance of being healthy and strong.

I eat fish as my grow food.

I eat rice as my main food.

I eat coconut oil as my go food.

I want to see my child have a good start in life so I made sure I ate well when I was pregnant.

With thanks to: Medical Experts Dr. Comfort Momoh MBE, Dr Marko Keroc, Marie McGrath Diahann McEwan, Kirsten and Michael De Lathauwer, Gordon Brothers Europe

Presenter Tammi Walker, Camera (South Africa) Tim Wege Camera (Mozambique) Sarah Wallace, Editor Daniel Haythorn

Series Producer Emma Piquemal, MAF Executive Anna Prost, Producer/Director Nicola Prtichard

MAF Medical Aid Films Films for Life

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 26 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: Medical Aid Films
Views: 489
Posted by: nand on Mar 29, 2012

This animation is aimed at women in the community, front-line health care providers, midwives and nurses.

This film educates on the importance of eating well when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. It also highlights which foods will help a woman avoid certain illnesses and complications associated with poor nutrition.

© Medical Aid Films - 2011

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