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Question
Posted by: Bongi | 2010/10/27

Pregnant, struggling to eat and baby not growing well

I''m 33 weeks pregnant, I''ve got severe heartburn and am still throwing up. I recently went for a check up and was told that my baby is not growing well. What should I be eating?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Bongi
This is indeed a problem because the fact that you are still suffering from pregnancy heartburn, nausea and vomiting at 33 weeks, is preventing you from eating a balanced diet to ensure that your baby can grow and develop normally. The following tips may help for these symptoms: ask your chemist to provide you with an antacid like Ulsanic or Gaviscon to combat the heartburn and take it exactly as prescribed. Such antacid preparations only act on the lining of your stomach and oesophagus and should not harm the baby. They will however, improve the heartburn and your appetite. To combat nausea it helps not to get up when you wake in the morning, but to lie in bed and first have a dry biscuit and a cup of tea (rooibos or standard tea - drink it black with a squeeze of lemon if this is less nauseating for you). Then it also helps to suck a slice of lemon or an ice cube when you feel the nausea coming on. Eat very small meals often - try for 6 small meals a day. The foods your baby needs now are: milk, yogurt, cottage cheese or maas (buy low-fat varieties and serve ice cold if full-cream milk, etc, makes the nausea worse); fresh fruit and vegetables (eat at least 5 portions a day); very lean meat (grill it or oven roast it so that it is not fatty), fish or boiled or scrambled eggs; maize meal porridge or a fortified breakfast cereal (any one that you can stomach, such as oats or cornflakes or rice crispies, etc) plus a form of bread that you can also face (for example you may find eating ProVitas easier than eating standard bread). Eat the cereal or bread/crackers at every meal; some margarine or oil that you prefer (for example you may find that cold Lite tub margarine on the ProVitas is acceptable- have at least 6 teaspoons a day). You can also eat foods like ice cream, jellies, canned fruit or make smoothies with fresh fruit and cold milk (add 3 tablespoons of full-cream milk powder to the smoothie to increase the protein, calcium and energy content). Very cold foods are often less nauseating than foods at room temperature. If you just cannot eat any normal foods than you MUST see if you can swallow a liquid meal supplement like Ensure or Nutren which you can buy at the chemist. Discuss these options with the pharmacist because you need to use a high-energy and high-protein liquid meal supplement to provide you and baby with enough energy, protein and other nutrients so that baby can grow properly and you don't get ill. If you do buy a liquid meal supplement also drink it very cold.
As a last resort, you may need to ask the doctor to prescribe an antinausea medication if he/she regards your situation as an emergency.
Holding thumbs for you and your baby
DietDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2010/10/27

Dear Bongi
This is indeed a problem because the fact that you are still suffering from pregnancy heartburn, nausea and vomiting at 33 weeks, is preventing you from eating a balanced diet to ensure that your baby can grow and develop normally. The following tips may help for these symptoms: ask your chemist to provide you with an antacid like Ulsanic or Gaviscon to combat the heartburn and take it exactly as prescribed. Such antacid preparations only act on the lining of your stomach and oesophagus and should not harm the baby. They will however, improve the heartburn and your appetite. To combat nausea it helps not to get up when you wake in the morning, but to lie in bed and first have a dry biscuit and a cup of tea (rooibos or standard tea - drink it black with a squeeze of lemon if this is less nauseating for you). Then it also helps to suck a slice of lemon or an ice cube when you feel the nausea coming on. Eat very small meals often - try for 6 small meals a day. The foods your baby needs now are: milk, yogurt, cottage cheese or maas (buy low-fat varieties and serve ice cold if full-cream milk, etc, makes the nausea worse); fresh fruit and vegetables (eat at least 5 portions a day); very lean meat (grill it or oven roast it so that it is not fatty), fish or boiled or scrambled eggs; maize meal porridge or a fortified breakfast cereal (any one that you can stomach, such as oats or cornflakes or rice crispies, etc) plus a form of bread that you can also face (for example you may find eating ProVitas easier than eating standard bread). Eat the cereal or bread/crackers at every meal; some margarine or oil that you prefer (for example you may find that cold Lite tub margarine on the ProVitas is acceptable- have at least 6 teaspoons a day). You can also eat foods like ice cream, jellies, canned fruit or make smoothies with fresh fruit and cold milk (add 3 tablespoons of full-cream milk powder to the smoothie to increase the protein, calcium and energy content). Very cold foods are often less nauseating than foods at room temperature. If you just cannot eat any normal foods than you MUST see if you can swallow a liquid meal supplement like Ensure or Nutren which you can buy at the chemist. Discuss these options with the pharmacist because you need to use a high-energy and high-protein liquid meal supplement to provide you and baby with enough energy, protein and other nutrients so that baby can grow properly and you don't get ill. If you do buy a liquid meal supplement also drink it very cold.
As a last resort, you may need to ask the doctor to prescribe an antinausea medication if he/she regards your situation as an emergency.
Holding thumbs for you and your baby
DietDoc

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