Pregnancy is the most beautiful phase in a woman’s life. It brings both emotional and physiological changes as well as it also poses extra demands on the body. In this phase the body needs extra nutrition for the developing foetus, for pregnant woman herself and also the lactation period to follow. Pregnancy Diet must be full of nutrition and healthy also.
Importance of Nutrition in The Diet in Pregnancy
These nutritional demands have to be met for a healthy child and mother because as the week progresses the organs and other system of the foetus start developing in mother’s womb and thus the energy used to create these systems (which actually comes from the energy and nutrients in the mother’s circulation, and around the lining of the womb) also starts to increase. The table below highlights the nutrients, its importance and food sources which should be included in a women’s pregnancy diet -
|cell growth and blood production||lean meat, fish, poultry, egg whites, beans, tofu|
|Carbohydrates||daily energy production||breads, cereals, rice, fruits, vegetables|
|Calcium||strong bones and teeth, muscle contraction, nerve function||milk, cheese, yogurt, spinach|
|Iron||red blood cell production (to prevent anemia)||All green leafy vegetables e.g. spinach, methi and whole-grain cereals|
|Vitamin A||healthy skin, good eyesight, growing bones||carrots, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes|
|Vitamin C||healthy gums, teeth, and bones; assistance with iron absorption||citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, amla, guavas|
|Vitamin B6||red blood cell formation; effective use of protein, fat, and carbohydrates||pork, ham, whole-grain cereals, bananas|
|Vitamin B12||formation of red blood cells, maintaining nervous system health||meat, fish, poultry, milk
(Note: vegetarians who don’t eat dairy products need supplemental B12)
|Vitamin D||healthy bones and teeth; aids absorption of calcium||fortified milk, dairy products, cereals, and breads|
|Folic acid||blood and protein production, effective enzyme function||green leafy vegetables, dark yellow fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, nuts|
|Fat||body energy stores||meat, whole-milk dairy products, nuts, peanut butter, margarine, vegetable oils
(Note: limit fat intake to 30% or less of your total daily calorie intake
Recommended Nutrients in The Diet in Pregnancy
|Nutrient||Recommendation (Extra = Above RDA)|
|Energy||Increase by 300 kcal (840 kJ) per day. Certain guidelines according to trimester.
1st trimester (1 to 12 weeks) – 10 kcals/day
|Proteins||Extra 15 gms per day|
|Thiamin||Increase in line with energy; increase by 0.1 mg per day|
|Riboflavin||Needed for tissue growth; extra 0.3 mg per day|
|Niacin||Regular supplementation/diet of substance. No increase required.|
|Folate||Maintain plasma levels; extra 100 µg per day|
|Vitamin C||Replenish drained maternal stores; extra 120 mg per day|
|Vitamin D||Replenish plasma levels of vitamin 10 µg per day.|
|Calcium||Needs no increase|
|Iron||Extra 3 mg per day needed|
|Magnesium, zinc, and copper||Normal supplementation or consumption.|
|Iodine||Extra 100 µg per day.|
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
*Skip aerated or caffeine-based beverages like coffee, tea and colas. Too much caffeine may affect the growth of baby. A recent study said that pregnant women who consume even about a cup of coffee everyday are at a higher risk of giving birth to an underweight baby.
*Avoid eating foods that have been prepared with maida.
*Try and cut down on eating foods that are high in sugar content.
*Seafood that is high in mercury should be strictly avoided. Swordfish, shark and king mackerel are among these. Raw fish may contain listeria, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning. While canned seafood is considered safe, skip smoked or frozen seafood like oysters, sushi, sashimi, and smoked salmon.
*Unpasteurized milk may contain listeria, which can cross the placenta and lead to infection or blood poisoning in the baby. Ensure that the milk you drink is pasteurized.
*Stay away from mould-ripened cheese (cheese that has a blue vein in it) like brie or camembert. Make sure you cook raw eggs. When the eggs are cooked, see that the yolk and white are firm.
*Avoid the consumption of smoking and drinking in day to day routine.
Healthy Pregnancy Diet Tips:-
*Have a piece of fresh fruit for a mid-morning or afternoon snack, instead of reaching for chocolates or biscuits.
*By carrying a small bottle of water when you are out ensures you are well hydrated, and not tempted by sugary soft drinks.
*Each week, prepare a couple of meals using beans, lentils and pulses..
*Add in your diet different healthy grains, such as barley, couscous or brown rice, in order to give variety to your favorite recipes.
*Choose low-fat dairy products
It is important to note that being pregnant doesn’t indicate that the mother to be has to consume food for two individuals, as she is supporting a life within her. The key to a healthy pregnancy is to consume a balanced diet with light and frequent meals throughout, and to regularly take the supplements or medicines prescribed by the doctor. One should also try, and be active, for e.g., go for walks or light swimming or do pregnancy specific yoga [under supervision].
We are all familiar with the concept of eating right. There is so much information about all sorts of healthy foods and their calorie value. There is enough being written about how vitamins are good for you and what are the rich sources of this nutrient. But rarely do we get to know the approximate quantity that is required by the body on a daily basis. What makes a balanced diet. To make it a little simpler for you we decided to give you an overview of what should make your daily dietary intake.
The key nutrients that are required for smooth functioning of the diet are proteins, fat, fiber, minerals, iron, carbohydrates, vitamins and calcium. A diet that includes all these essential nutrients, in correct portion, is known as a balanced diet. Based on the average calorie requirement for a male weighing 60kgs: 2700 or a female weighing 55 kgs:2100 here is a list of essential foods to maintain your weight :