A mother needs more of everything during pregnancy because she is making a new being. Further, the body has provided the baby with the mechanisms to get what it needs from the mother whether she has extra or not. The baby can pull minerals, vitamins, and protein from the mother's bones, organs, tissues, and other storage areas. This can leave the mother depleted, which can take a long time, even years, to correct.
Besides making a new baby, these nutrients are needed to form the placenta, to increase the size of the uterus and breast tissue, and to create amniotic fluid. Mother's blood volume increases by 25-50 percent, and more fluids, iron, B12, folic acid, zinc and copper, calcium, magnesium, and proteins are needed to support this new blood. Storage levels of most nutrients must be obtained from the diet as well.
Adequate nutrition is one of the greatest challenges when you have hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Pregnant women obviously benefit from a variety of nutrients both for their own health and for the development of their unborn child. However, the cravings and aversions that accompany HG will prohibit a well-balanced diet. It may be the smell, texture, appearance or taste that provokes your nausea and vomiting. Even just seeing the food on a TV commercial is enough to trigger vomiting for many.
You may crave salty and crunchy, sweet and soft or some other very specific combination. Entering a grocery store, opening the refrigerator, or even contemplating food preparation are usually intolerable for at least the first trimester. This has significant impact on you and your family. It's important that your family know that these food preferences are not within your control, and they need to be accepted to ensure you eat and drink as much as possible. Be as specific as possible when you tell them what you feel like eating or drinking. It's impossible to understand the bizarre cravings of HG unless you have experienced it!
Postpartum, you will need to replenish your nutrient stores by eating a very healthy diet with plenty of whole grains, low-fat proteins, fruits, and vegetables. This is especially true if you are breast feeding, and/or you had severe/prolonged hyperemesis. See the resources on the right for more information and healthy lifestyles.
Updated on: Apr. 18, 2013