During pregnancy, it is very crucial for you to have a healthy, balanced diet. An adequate diet is essential to provide enough nutrition for your baby’s growth and development. You need to consume 300 more calories than usual to maintain you’re as well as your baby health.
For a healthy pregnancy, the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and consuming a wide variety of vegetables, and fruits are important.
Fruits and vegetables
- Good source of essential vitamins, nutrients, and fiber
- At least 2-4 servings of fruits and 4 or more servings of vegetables are recommended daily
- a pregnant woman requires at least 70 mg of vitamin C daily
- Fruits like oranges, grapefruits, berries, apples and vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C
- 0.4 mg of folic acid is essential in the diet daily
- Dark green leafy vegetables and legumes like black beans, black-eyed peas are rich in folic acid.
- Oranges, pears, pomegranates are rich in folate
- Folate can help prevent neural tube defects, which can cause brain and spinal cord abnormalities in a baby. Neural tube defects can cause conditions such as spina bifida, where the spinal cord does not develop properly, and anencephaly, in which a large part of the brain and skull is missing.
- Vitamin K, essential for maintaining healthy bones can be acquired from fruits like grapes, pomegranates
- Potassium in avocados and pears can provide relief from leg cramps, another symptom that is common during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. It also helps in cell regeneration.
- The high fiber content in bananas aids in pregnancy-related constipation, along with vitamin B-6 which helps in relieving nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.
Bread and grains
- Provide essential carbohydrates, which are the main source of energy.
- Whole grains provide iron, fiber, vitamin B
- In fact, enriched bread and cereal contain the right amount of folic acid
- 6-11 servings of bread or grains are recommended daily
- Nonvegetarians can derive proteins from fish, lean meat, and chicken, as well as eggs.
- Vegetarian women can rely on Quinoa, Tofu, soy products, beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, and nut butter.
- At least 3 servings of proteins are recommended.
- Protein is essential especially during second and third trimesters.
- Less than 30 percent of fats are required in a pregnant woman’s daily diet.
- Olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, canola oil, avocados, many nuts, and seeds are the source of monounsaturated fats.
- Required intake of daily calcium accounts to at least 1000mg.
- Dairy foods, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are rich in calcium.
- For vegan mothers, calcium-fortified soymilk and other plant milk and juices, calcium-set tofu, soybeans, bok choy, broccoli, collards, Chinese cabbage, okra, mustard greens, beans, kale, and soynuts are recommended.
- Required for cell growth and cell division
- Important for the development of the fetus.
- The best sources of zinc are chicken, turkey, ham, shrimp, crab, oysters, meat, fish, dairy products, beans, peanut butter, nuts, sunflower seeds, ginger, onions, bran, wheat germ, rice, pasta, cereals, eggs, lentils, and tofu.
- Prenatal zinc supplements are recommended.
- During pregnancy, the amount of blood in the mother’s body increases by almost 50 percent.
- More iron intake is required to make more hemoglobin for all that extra blood.
- If iron stores are inadequate, the mother may become anemic, and there is a higher risk of:
- Preterm delivery.
- Low-weight baby.
- Newborn death.
- Tiredness, irritability, depression (in the mother) during the pregnancy.
- If the mother is anemic later in the pregnancy, there is a higher risk of losing a lot of blood when she gives birth.
- At least three servings of iron-rich foods accounting to 27mg daily are recommended.
- Foods rich in iron are:
- Dried beans
- Dried fruits, such as apricots
- Egg yolk
- Fortified whole grain cereals
- Lean meat, oysters, poultry, salmon, tuna lamb, pork, and shellfish
- Legumes – lima beans, soybeans, kidney beans, dried beans, and peas
- Seeds – Brazil nuts and almonds
- Vegetables- broccoli, spinach, dandelion leaves, asparagus, collards, and kale
- Whole grains – brown rice, oats, millet, and wheat
What foods to avoid during pregnancy?
The following foods are best to avoid during pregnancy:
- Avoid alcohol during pregnancy- to avoid premature deliveries, stillbirth, etc.
- Limit caffeine intake to 300 mg per day.
- Avoid saccharin
- Shark, swordfish, and marlin- to avoid mercury
- Uncooked or partially cooked meat
- Raw eggs- to avoid salmonella infection.
- Limit cholesterol intake to 300 mg or less per day.
- Uncooked or undercooked ready-prepared meals – the risk of listeriosis.
- Soft mold-ripened cheese- to avoid listeria infection
- Empty calorie foods – cakes, biscuits, cookies, chips, and candy should be kept to a minimum.
Visit CMC, Mohali to consult the best gynecologist in the city for a proper diet regime to be followed during pregnancy.