Things To Eat When You Are Pregnant – A healthy pregnancy diet is important for both mother and baby, because what a woman eats and drinks during pregnancy is the main source of nutrition for her baby. Experts recommend that pregnant women include healthy foods and drinks in their diet to get essential nutrients for the growth and development of the baby.
In this article, Dr. Deepika Aggarwal, Senior Gynecologist, CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon discusses healthy pregnancy nutrition, including what a pregnant woman should eat and avoid and why.
Things To Eat When You Are Pregnant
There is no set formula for a healthy diet during pregnancy. The basic principles of a healthy diet during pregnancy remain the same: eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. However, there are some nutrients in the pregnancy diet that require special attention.
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Pregnant women usually get a lot of advice and dos from various sources such as family, friends and the Internet. Some moms-to-be think they have to eat for two, but that’s not true. Quality is more important than quantity. So instead of eating too much junk food, the key is to focus on healthy foods so you and your baby get all the nutrients they need.
Starches are a good source of vitamins and fiber. They help fill you up without taking in too many calories. Carbohydrates are macronutrients that your body uses as a source of energy for muscles and organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain.
Rich sources include vegetables (sweet potatoes, corn, and potatoes), bread, pasta, rice, and fruit. Foods that contain carbohydrates in smaller amounts include milk, yogurt, and legumes such as beans.
Protein is very important for the growth of the baby during pregnancy. Eat at least three to four servings a day. Healthy sources of animal protein include fish, lean meat, chicken and eggs. All pregnant women, and especially vegans, should consider the following foods to be good sources of protein:
Infographic: What To Eat And Not Eat When You’re Pregnant
You need a healthy amount of calcium every day. Pregnant women need about 1 gram of calcium per day. Calcium deficiency during pregnancy can affect bone metabolism or fetal growth.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are high in calcium. Some calcium-rich foods include soy milk, soybeans, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, okra, beans, mustard greens, cabbage, and soybeans.
Whole grains such as whole grain bread, rice, whole grain pasta, fruits, vegetables, legumes such as beans and lentils are high in fiber. Constipation is common in women during pregnancy; therefore, consuming plenty of fiber helps effectively reduce this risk. Eating enough fiber during pregnancy can reduce the risk or severity of hemorrhoids.
During pregnancy, healthy fats are necessary for the development of the baby’s brain and eyes. Good sources of healthy fats include nuts, avocados, and vegetable oils (including sunflower, corn, soybean, and olive oils).
Best Foods To Eat During Pregnancy
Some types of fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring and trout, are rich sources of good fats. Fat is high in calories, so eating too much of it or too often can lead to obesity.
During pregnancy, 40-90 grams of fat per day is enough for a healthy diet. Eating too much saturated fat can also raise blood cholesterol levels.
Zinc is an important trace element. It is useful for growth and development, cell integrity, and various biological functions such as protein synthesis and nucleic acid metabolism.
Therefore, zinc is very important for the development of the child. The best sources of zinc are chicken, turkey, beans, peanut butter, nuts, ham, shrimp, crab, oysters, red meat, fish, dairy products, sunflower seeds, ginger, onions, bran, wheat germ, rice, pasta, whole grains, eggs, lentils, and tofu.
What To Avoid During Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Guide
Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to your tissues. During pregnancy, you need twice as much iron as usual. Low iron levels in early and mid-pregnancy can lead to iron deficiency anemia and increase the risk of low birth weight and other pregnancy complications.
Getting your iron needs from food alone can be difficult, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Non-vegetarians can eat lean red meat to increase iron in their diet. For vegetarians, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, dried fruits like raisins and apricots are great options.
Folate (vitamin B) helps prevent neural tube defects, brain and spinal cord abnormalities. Folic acid supplements may reduce the risk of preterm birth. Folic acid is extremely important for the fetus, especially in the first trimester. Taking folate in the form of supplements may not be enough.
Additional vitamin supplements may be needed to achieve the recommended daily amount. For women planning pregnancy, international guidelines recommend adding 400 micrograms of folate to the diet in the form of vitamin supplements before pregnancy and 600 micrograms per day during pregnancy.
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Folic acid can be found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green leafy vegetables (such as kale, collards, spring greens, and spinach), peas, chickpeas, and beans.
Watch a video where one of the best obstetricians and gynecologists explains the importance of folic acid during pregnancy:
Even with a healthy diet, you may be missing out on some important nutrients. Taking prenatal vitamins every day—ideally at least three months before conception—can fill nutritional deficiencies in the body.
Your doctor may recommend special supplements if you are a strict vegetarian or have chronic illnesses. If you want to use herbal supplements during pregnancy, consult your doctor.
Best Fruits To Eat During Pregnancy (& Which To Avoid)
Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients. If you include plenty of these in your diet, you’re likely to get most of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you and your baby need. Eating fruits and vegetables also helps prevent constipation, a common symptom during pregnancy.
Most of the nutrients needed by humans are found in eggs. Eggs are rich in protein and high quality fat and are very important for pregnant women. They are one of the few sources that provide choline, which is important for brain and heart development.
Neural tube defects and lack of proper brain function can be the result of insufficient choline intake. So, 1-2 eggs a day, at least 4 times a week, is a good addition to the diet.
Cabbage, spinach, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables are high in vitamins A, C, K, iron, folate, calcium and potassium. Antioxidants and plant compounds in green vegetables help prevent anemia and improve the immune system. It also helps reduce the chance of low birth weight. A good choice is to eat one of these food options every day.
Th Month Of Pregnancy Diet
A baby in the womb needs a lot of protein and calcium. Dairy products can provide the necessary amount of protein in the form of whey and casein. These products are also rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
The need for vitamin B can also be met by consuming dairy products. Expectant mothers can use yogurt, which also helps maintain the health of the digestive system. If you can get your hands on probiotic yogurt, it can be a great way to maintain good digestive health during pregnancy.
Vegetarians can find all the protein, iron, folate and calcium in legumes. Plant foods such as beans, soybeans, peanuts and chickpeas can ensure that a pregnant woman gets enough B9 or folate.
This vitamin is essential to ensure low birth weight and prevent neural tube defects. From these different options, it is recommended to choose 1 serving per day, 4 times a week.
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The abundance of Omega 3 fatty acids in salmon makes it an important food for pregnant women. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, are very important during pregnancy.
They play a crucial role in the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. Salmon is also one of the rare sources of vitamin D in nature. Add fatty fish to your diet 3 times a week.
Fiber, vitamins and proteins are found in sufficient quantities in whole grain products. Caloric needs are high from the 4th month of pregnancy and whole grains such as oats and quinoa help meet these needs.
During pregnancy, especially in the 3rd trimester, more iron is needed in the diet. Iron is essential for the supply of oxygen to the cells. A lack of iron in the diet can cause severe anemia, premature birth, and low birth weight. Eating lean meat, including beef and pork, is a must during pregnancy.
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Berries have a lot of vitamin C, fiber and good carbohydrates. Vitamin C is needed for the absorption of iron, and a lack of vitamin C can mean that dietary iron may not be absorbed by the body and therefore wasted. Berries also have a low GI and are great for moms-to-be who are worried about sugar spikes.
The monounsaturated fatty acids needed in the prenatal period can be ensured by adding avocados to your diet. Avocados also contain important B vitamins K, E and C. Acidity experienced during pregnancy can be alleviated with this fruit.
An assortment of dried fruits is a
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