A pregnant woman needs special care when it comes to most things including their diet. She needs more protein, iron, folate, and iodine, and folic acid supplements which are the most important before and after conception. While we are aware of the fact that a pregnant woman requires good nutritious food, we do not really know what it exactly and to what extent. Here we have brought to you a combination of diet that could be very good for a woman’s pregnancy, and will finally lead to a successful delivery. Having a healthy offspring is extremely important so eat well.
Essential nutrients for pregnant women
Nutrition is extremely important for a pregnant woman as she is carrying a life inside that gets nutrition from the mother. There are certain nutrients that are a must for pregnant women including some vitamins and minerals. Some can be great through food whereas some can be taken through supplements to meet the nutritional needs. Scroll down to know about these vital nutrients.
Pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron a day, which is twice the need of women who are not pregnant. Extra amounts of this mineral are needed to make more blood to supply oxygen to the baby. Getting too little iron during pregnancy can lead to anaemia, which can result in fatigue and an increased risk of infection. Also, to increase the absorption of iron, include foods rich in Vitamin C in the diet. Apart from this, you can also include other foods rich in iron in the diet.
Folic acid, also known as folate, is a type of B vitamin. This nutrient, found in a variety of foods, helps prevent birth defects in the baby's brain and spinal cord. Folic acid cannot be found through diet alone. In such a situation, the doctor may suggest you to take supplements rich in folic acid. Apart from this, you should include some such things in your diet, which fulfill the amount of folic acid in your body up to 600 micrograms. You can also include foods like leafy green vegetables, whole grains, citrus fruits, broccoli, papaya, etc. to your diet.
This mineral is used to build the baby's bones and teeth. If a pregnant woman doesn't consume enough calcium, the baby takes this mineral from the mother's calcium, which can lead to calcium deficiency for both mother and baby over a period of time. Many dairy products are also fortified with vitamin D, which works with calcium to develop a baby's bones and teeth. Pregnant women require 1,000 milligrams of calcium. Therefore, include foods like milk, curd, cottage cheese, leafy greens, ghee, calcium-fortified drinks, etc. in your diet to get ample amount of calcium.
More protein is needed during pregnancy, but most women do not get enough protein-rich foods in their diet. It helps build vital organs for the baby, such as the brain and heart. To include protein in the diet, include these foods in food. The richest sources of protein are eggs, meat, dairy products, peas, soybean, etc.
What Foods To Eat in Pregnancy?
Pregnant women often get confused about their diet and what to add or avoid in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy. If you are also expecting and in search of a nutrition plan for yourself, we have got you covered. Here is the list of all the food items that you should have in pregnancy.
Vegetables- Carrots, Sweet potatoes, Pumpkin, Spinach, Leafy greens, Tomatoes, Red chillies, Potatoes
Fruits- Mangoes, Prunes, Bananas, Apricots, Oranges, Grapes
Dairy products- Milk, Low-fat yogurt, Soy milk, Almond milk, Cheese, Cottage cheese, Ghee
Legumes- Lentils, Peas, Beans, Chickpeas or Chhole, Soybeans, Peanuts
Dry fruits are generally high in calories, fiber and various vitamins & minerals. You should eat a handful of dry fruits as they provide you with various nutrients such as iron, folate, potassium, vitamin K, fiber ,to name but a few. Have almonds, dates, walnuts and dried figs. You can use dry fruits to quell food cravings in pregnancy.
It is said that a woman has to eat for two when she is pregnant. Hunger increases and so do cravings but it is best to not give up to the cravings and eat everything that you wish to eat. You must keep healthy eating practices alive during pregnancy to not put up extra weight that gets difficult to shed after delivery. However, you must keep eating something in between meals. Eat healthy snacks that are not high in sugar and fat content. Here are some snack options for you to try:
- Grilled vegetables or cottage cheese or grilled chicken
- Grilled fish
- Vegetable and fruit salad
- Dried fruits like figs, apricots, oranges, kiwis, dates
- Baked veggies
Staying hydrated during pregnancy is very important. In fact, during pregnancy, blood volume increases by about 45 percent. Drinking water not only keeps your body hydrated but also provides hydration to the baby. Thus, it is very important to drink water throughout the day. Dehydration can trigger headache, anxiety, constipation, lethargy, fatigue, mood swings, poor concentration, etc. So when you experience any of these, just drink a glass of water and see if it helps.
Increasing water intake can help relieve constipation and reduce your risk of urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy. Pregnant women should consume more water daily than before. Keep in mind that you can get water from other foods and beverages as well, so you can consume them as well. Such as fruits, vegetables, coffee and tea.
What to avoid in pregnancy?
Here are some recommendations on what foods to avoid that you must consider.
Avoid unpasteurized dairy- Unpasteurized milk or yogurt or any other dairy product is harmful for pregnant women and the unborn child. Always boil milk before consuming.
Avoid uncooked meat- It is okay to have meat but never consume uncooked meat. Always have food that is cooked. Similarly, avoid having raw vegetables in salad.
Limit salt and fat- Do not go overboard with salt while preparing food. Also, avoid consuming excess fats as these tend to cause weight gain and hamper fitness.
Do not have high sugary foods- You might be craving a lot of sweet but do not have too much as this can cause gestational diabetes that may affect your life post delivery too.
Avoid consuming street food- Nothing tastes like street food but we cannot overlook hygiene especially during pregnancy. Eat stree food only from trusted places that follow good hygiene practices. Avoid eating food outside in shared utensils as much as possible.
Avoid packaged foods as these contain preservatives that can affect your health in many ways. It is better to gave fresh foods.
Nutrition is a very important aspect of healthy pregnancy and so, you should not miss out on it. These was just a glimpse of pregnancy diet but you can read more about it in the articles. Scroll down to read them all.