Healthy Diet during Pregnancy

Pregnancy in an important stage in the life of any woman. This is a nutritionally demanding phase as it marks with the new bringing and development of life. The body is rapidly changing and to support the growth of fetus in a body a female needs to consume 300 calories in a day. While some have more food cravings and they eat more than usual leading to disproportionate weight.
Here are suggested some ways to follow a healthy diet during pregnancy: –

Proteins


Large amounts of proteins can be found in lean meats, poultry fish. Dried beans, lentils, nuts and cheese are high protein foods. External addition in form of protein beverages and powders can be avoided if consumed by a balanced eating plan. Vegetarians should take counseling of dietitian.

Calcium-

1000 mg/day is advised for an expectant mother. Ample calcium intake is suggested for development of bones for child. Milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, non-fatty and low-fatty dairy products supply required calcium in the body. Green leafy vegetables, tofu, soymilk, calcium-fortified food in breakfast cereal and juices are good source of calcium. 2-3 servings of calcium a day is recommended along with vitamin-D intake.

Iron-

The requirement of iron doubles up in pregnancy. Blood volume increases for mother as well as fetus. Food rich in iron as red meat, fish, poultry, whole grain bread, cereals, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and dried fruits has to be consumed. Risks of developing anemia are more hence supplements with iron dosage in first prenatal visits are given.

Folic Acid-

Significance of folic acid in cell development and fetal structures cannot be ignored. Women planning for motherhood are encouraged to consume 4mg/day of folic acid, 3-4 months prior to pregnancy to avoid birth related defects and NTD. Folates can be in form of green leafy vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits, juices, peanuts, grains etc.

Fluids-

Milk, juices and beverages help in increasing the volume of blood. 8-12 cups of fluids are suggested for intake.

 

Vitamins and minerals-

Supplements are suggested for female with nutritional risk. Vegetarians, chain smokers and drinkers or women carrying multiple babies need supplements in for vitamins and minerals.

Apart from these carbohydrates, fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, B12, C, A, zinc, magnesium, minerals are some other important constituents.

Though the food principles of a balanced diet remains the same but the nutrient needs are high. A pregnant woman needs a careful varied type of food in moderation. One can take the help of pyramid guidelines to follow it. For underweight women, additional servings and small portions of high calorie food are recommended for swift weight gain.

Diabetic women can make use of sweeteners in form of aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame K, sucralose and neotame. These flavor boosters are safe for pregnant and lactating mothers. Simple exercises will improve sleep, increase energy and reduce pregnancy related problems.

Some don’sts-

  • Higher intake of caffeine may delay conception and may lead to low birth weight and miscarriages. Intake in moderation is recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers.
  • Sodium in moderation is encouraged, high intake may cause high blood pressure.
  • Excessive oily and fried, gas forming, spicy food may cause nausea and uneasiness. A snack with low fat can easily gets digested and gives away discomfort.
  • Proper Hygiene should be practiced. Avoid cross contamination, cook properly and follow proper refrigeration methods to shun any chances of illness.
  • Avoid smoking, aerated beverages and alcohol during this period of time.
  • Nicotine and recreational drugs can cause stillbirth, prematurity, low birth weight and other respiratory problems.