A pregnant woman's balanced diet should include:
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables and remember to have varieties of them in order to get various vitamins which are needed by the body. Do not make it a chore to have fruits as you can divide the portions and consume it five times a day. The vitamins and fiber in them are extremely beneficial.
- Plenty of starchy carbohydrates in forms of bread, cereals, rice and potatoes must be consumed. Remember to choose whole wheat options rather than refined processed food as they have the fiber and vitamins intact.
- Plenty of milk and other dairy products will provide you with the necessary calcium which you and your baby’s body needs for development. Prefer low-fat or toned milk products.
- Plenty of iron is needed for preparing your body for carrying the pregnancy and also for the baby’s growth. Anemia is very common in women and some may develop it during pregnancy therefore have food rich in iron such as green leafy vegetables, cereals, pulses and meat.
- Enough protein is essential for the mother and the baby’s everyday nutrition; get it from beans, pulses, meat, fish and poultry. Ensure the meat or poultry is cooked properly to avoid any complications from raw meat.
- Have reasonable amount of healthy fats like omega-3 from nuts, flax seeds and fish. Some amount of fat is important for proper functioning of the body.
- Keep yourself well hydrated by having enough fluids such as water and fresh juices. Ensure the source of water is pure as waterborne diseases are quite common and can harm your baby. Prefer fresh juices as they are packed with more nutrients than packaged juices which have preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
Vitamins and Supplements
A balanced diet is good enough to provide you with the daily nutritional requirements of the body but intake of supplements are necessary too. Some vitamins and minerals may not always be in the appropriate amount in natural food sources and hence has to be substituted in form of supplements. It is best to consult your doctor to prescribe you any ante-natal supplements.
Folic acid or folate
Folic acid or folate is one such supplement which should be taken before conception as well as during one’s pregnancy. It is a B vitamin which when is deficient in a pregnant woman’s body can increase the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Iron and calcium supplements
Many women need iron and calcium supplements during the later half of their pregnancy. It is best to check with the doctor regarding the dosage to be taken as an overdose can cause harm.
Vitamin A supplements
Vitamin A supplements should be avoided as it can cause serious fetal malformations. Please consult with your doctor regarding supplements as overdose or self medication can do lot of harm to you and the unborn.