Diet During Pregnancy
Pregnant women tend to get numerous tips about the dos and don’ts from various sources like family, friends and the internet. Some expectant mothers believe that they have to eat for two but that’s not true. Quality matters more than quantity. So, instead of eating too much unhealthy food, the key is to focus on healthy food to ensure that you and your baby get all the required nutrients.
An ideal diet during pregnancy could comprise of the following: –
Most of the nutrients that a person needs can be found in eggs. Eggs are rich in protein and high-quality fat and they are very important for pregnant women. They are one of the few sources that offer choline which is important for brain and heart development. Neural tube defects and lack of proper brain function can be the result when choline isn’t taken adequately. So, 1-2 eggs per day, at least 4 times a week is good to be included in the diet regime.
- Dark and green leafy vegetables
Kale, spinach, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables contain lots of Vitamin A, C, K, iron, folate, calcium, and potassium. The antioxidants and plant compounds in green vegetables help avoid anaemia and improve the immune system. This also helps in bringing down chances of low birth weight. Consuming any one of these food options every day is a good choice.
- Dairy Products
The child in the womb needs lots of protein and calcium. Dairy products can contribute the required amount of protein in forms of whey and casein. These products are also rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Vitamin B requirement can also be met with the consumption of dairy products. Expectant mothers can take yogurt, which also helps in maintaining the health of the digestive system. If you can get probiotic yogurt, this could be a great way to maintain good digestive health during pregnancy.
Vegetarian food lovers can find all protein, iron, folate, and calcium in legumes. Plant-based foods like beans, soybeans, peanuts, and chickpeas can ensure the pregnant mother gets enough B9 or folate. This vitamin is essential to ensure low birth weight and neural tube defects are ruled out. Opting from these various choices for 1 serving per day for 4 times a week is recommended.
- Oily fish such as Salmon
The abundance of omega 3 fatty acids in Salmon makes it a vital food for the pregnant women. Long chain Omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, are very crucial during pregnancy. These play a critical role in the development of the brain and eyes of your baby. Salmon is also one of the very few sources of Vitamin D found in nature. Include oily fish in your diet 3 times a week.
- Whole grains
Fibers, vitamins and proteins are found in proper amounts in whole grains. Calorie requirements are high from the 4th month of pregnancy and whole grains like oats and quinoa help in meeting these needs.
- Lean Meat
More iron in the diet is required during pregnancy particularly during the 3rd trimester, Iron is essential to deliver oxygen to the cells. A lack of iron in the diet may lead to severe anaemia, premature delivery and low birthweight. Lean meat, which includes, beef and pork are a must during pregnancy.
Vitamin C, fiber and good carbs are abundant in berries. Vitamin C is needed to absorb iron and a lack of Vitamin C can mean the iron you consume in your diet may not be absorbed by the body and therefore can go to waste. Berries are also of low GI, and perfect for expectant mothers who are worried about their increasing sugar levels.
Monosaturated fatty acids required during antenatal period can be met by including avocados in your diet. Avocados also contain the essential B vitamins, Vitamin K, E and C. Acidity experienced during pregnancy can be soothed with this fruit.
- Dried Fruits or Nuts
An assorted variety of dried fruits is a tasty snack and can provide all nutrient requirements to expectant women. Prunes are an excellent source of Vitamin K, potassium and sorbitol. Dates are an abundant source of iron and fiber. Consuming dates every day in the 3rd trimester can help in faster dilation of the cervix.
If you are an expectant mother, visiting a reputed maternity hospital or a good multispeciality hospital for women, having expert doctors, dietitians and a trained staff is a must for getting utmost care and proper advice before, during and after pregnancy. This is as crucial as taking a healthy diet.