Pregnancy Diet for Healthy Pregnancy
Okay, Moms-to-be if you have never been careful enough to have a balanced diet, now is the time. Having a well balanced diet during pregnancy is the most essential care you can give to your unborn baby. Whatever you eat has an effect on the baby. Many women are under the impression that now they need to eat for two, this fact makes many paranoid about the increase in weight. To avoid this you can very well follow a pregnancy diet plan drafted with the help of your nutritionist. But it is important to remember that during pregnancy women do put on weight as it is your body’s adjustment to hold the child.
The most essential period when you have to take care of your Pregnancy Diet during the first three months when the principal organs both external and internal and the nervous system of the baby are formed. So begin a nourishing diet right from start even if you face discomfort like nausea. This is important if you want your baby to have a normal birth weight.
A well balanced nutritious diet consists of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins all in one plate. You essentially need to have a Pregnancy Diet comprised of a variety of foods selected from the five food groups. Fruits, vegetables, cereals, dairy products and milk products will get you all the nutrients you need. Apart from the natural supplements folic acid, iron, calcium are of utmost importance and are often prescribed by the doctors.
Have a variety of food each day and avoid sticking to the same kind of food, however try variations in moderation. Be sure to listen to your body when you consider the amount of food you need to intake. Your appetite is the best guide. Normally try and have at least three proper meals a day. You can also break it into six smaller meals in case you have problems like nausea or heartburns.
Pregnancy Diet tips
Be sure to include the following in your diet regularly –
Folic acid – Doctors strongly prescribe Folic acid as the main nutrient to be taken during pregnancy. Folic acid is essentially required for the development of the nervous system of the baby. Including folic acid in your Pregnancy Diet helps in healthy pregnancy for women. Proper intake of this nutrient prevents neural tube defects and other birth defects like cleft lip and congenital heart disease in the baby. It is essential to take folic acid before you conceive and in the first three months of pregnancy.
Usually folic acid in found in leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage or beans, cereals, breads and citrus fruits like orange. But folic acid is easily lost while cooking, hence it is recommended to steam the vegetables and eat rather than cooking. Also taking a 4 milligrams folic acid supplement everyday will help complete the bodies need for the nutrient.
Iron – Iron is the most important mineral required to keep the haemoglobin production going in a pregnant woman. This need arises due to the increase in blood circulation and due to the requirement of the foetus and placenta. Iron is also required for the development of bones and teeth in the baby. A pregnant lady needs to have 10-15% of iron more than a non pregnant lady. Foods like potatoes, raisins, dates, leafy green vegetables, whole-grain breads and iron-fortified cereals are rich sources of iron.
Calcium – Calcium is required for the bones and teeth of the baby to develop and also for the muscle development and nerve contraction. This requirement is high from the eight week of pregnancy and you may be required to consume double the quantity of calcium than usual. It is important that you increase the intake of milk and yogurt in your food. Apart from the dairy products you can also have more of leafy and green vegetables.
Protein – Protein needs during pregnancy increases, also you need Vitamin B6 for the proteins to be completely utilized for the growth of the baby. Include foods like fish, meat, nuts, peas, beans, milk and eggs in your diet.
Vitamin C – Pregnant women require a lot of Vitamin C intake. This need arises due to the development of the placenta and also your body’s need to fight infection and absorb iron for better blood circulation. Vitamin C can be obtained through citrus fruits like orange and strawberry or in vegetables like spinach and cabbage. Also be sure to eat fruits and vegetable containing vitamin C in raw form or when steamed as cooking of these vegetables leads to loss of the vitamin. Green vegetables is vitamin rich and healthy pregnancy diet for women.
Fibre – Pregnancy is often accompanied by problems like constipation, piles etc. Hence you diet needs to be full of fibres to aid the bowl movement. Eat fibrous fruits and salads daily to have a clean digestive system. Any digestion trouble will only add to your discomfort. Food items like brown rice, nuts, beans, pulses etc are also rich sources of fibre.
Water – It is not surprising how water make to the list of the key inclusions required for your balanced diet when pregnant. Water plays a very important part for your healthy pregnancy. Water is the main carrier of all the nutrients to your baby, prevents constipation, excessive swelling and urinary tract or bladder infections. Normally a pregnant woman needs to consume six to eight glasses of water daily. Water intake can also be substituted by juices, but limit them as they carry a lot of calories. Ensure to have enough water not to get dehydrated especially during the third trimester as it may lead to early labour.
As you keep a check on the food you need to include in your Pregnancy Diet, there are a number of food items you need to exclude from your diet.
Alcohol – Give up alcohol the minute you decide to conceive. Keep your body healthy even before you conceive. Consumption of alcohol cause physical defects, learning disabilities and many emotional problems in children.
Caffeine & Cold Drinks – Reduce the intake of caffeine and cold drinks. Increased intake of caffeine increases the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. Women with prior case of miscarriage should be completely careful about their caffeine intake. Also you can replace cold drinks with natural drinks like coconut water or fresh juices.
Smoking – In case you are addicted to smoking, it is advised that you give up the habit before you conceive.
Vegetables – It is recommended that you reduce the intake of brinjal, suran/yam, papaya, onion, chilli, garlic, ginger and pepper from your diet. These foods are very heaty and can cause harm to the embryo. Women with prior history of abortion must take care to avoid these food items.
Gaseous Food – In case you are experiencing discomforts like constipation, gas or bloating so avoid foods that are heavy to digest.
Acidic Foods – Ensure you avoid acidic food like dhokla, pizza, handva, khaman and other fast food items as it can lead to acidity and increase swelling.
Fasting – Avoid practicing any kind of fasting during pregnancy as it can have adverse effects on your child.
Read our pregnancy articles, to know about Pregnancy Diet for men, women and all other issues related to pregnancy.