Nutrition in Pregnancy
7 minute read, Written By: Momly
Being pregnant means entering into a world flush with puzzlement, wonder and mystery. The play of hormones causes drastic changes in women’s bodies. Your body swells by loading a bulk of kilos. Your body weight also puts a lot of strain on your growing baby. To maintain a healthy body weight during pregnancy, your diet matters. What you eat is going to reflect on your body as well it impacts the baby’s growth and development. Momly spoke to a nutrition expert at length who opened up on maternal nutrition during pregnancy, and how it affects babies in the womb and offered an insight into must-include foods in the pregnancy diet.
Maternal nutrition means essential food groups that you should have on your plate during pregnancy. Lack of maternal nutrition can result in various health disorders like birth defects in babies and even can lead to miscarriage. Experts claim that lack of nutrition in pregnant moms is alarmingly increasing metabolic and chronic illnesses in babies. A food is said to be nutrient-rich if it has a balanced amount of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, folic acid and fibre. These super essential nutrients act as building blocks of growth required for a healthy pregnancy. Nutritional supplements like calcium pills, folic acid tablets and iron capsules are recommended by Gynaecologists in the initial trimester to bridge the demand-supply gap of nutrients in your body.
Fruits and vegetables - Include fruits and vegetables regularly in your diet. Grab more seasonal fruits so that you can optimize their benefits while they are in season. Add more colours to your plate with antioxidant-rich vegetables and citrus-rich fruits. Having wholesome foods will not only help with your physical health but do wonders for your mental health as well.
Milk and milk products - Dairy products are packed with calcium reserves and are important for your bone health during pregnancy. Make sure your plate has mandatory milk products like yoghurt, milk and cheese. These are not only necessary to support your growing baby but also have positive effects in the postnatal period.
Folic acid-rich foods- Folate is high in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Folic acid pills are suggested by your doctor. Along with the supplement, it is vital to have rich greens as a part of your daily diet.
Healthy salads - Pregnancy is a very unpredictable time. Sometimes you like to eat and sometimes you detest looking at food. Healthy salads are an option when you can throw in a bunch of vegetables, and superfoods like nuts and seeds and make it protein-rich. Healthy salads also lower your cravings and prevent you from munching on junk foods. Make your salads as salads in restaurants/ commercial salads or are risky to consume.
Foods you must avoid during pregnancy
Raw eggs - Raw or runny eggs have damaging effects on your body. Avoid eating raw foods in general during pregnancy to prevent bacteria from entering your system. Make sure the sell-by date is not past while checking the labels.
Raw sprouts - E coli bacteria and salmonella bacteria breed on raw sprouts. Avoid eating raw sprouts but boil and cook them nicely before consuming. Food-borne illnesses could make it difficult for your baby as their immune system is well not up to the mark to combat and kill the germs.
Unpasteurized drinks - Avoid drinks or dairy which are unpasteurized as pathogens dwell on them, making them unsafe for consuming while you are pregnant. Canned foods are a big no in pregnancy.
Alcohol - This goes without saying that alcohol has adverse effects on pregnancy. While it is natural to have office parties and get-togethers and you cannot avoid going to them, leave out the alcohol while the baby is on board keeping in mind the health and safety of your baby.
Caffeine - Caffeine is associated with low birth weight. Excessive coffee or tea can dehydrate your body. “When you are pregnant, you pee more and consuming these beverages will trigger the urge to pee even more”, says Momly nutrition expert Junk foods Once in a while, you can yield to your pregnancy cravings but do not make it a habit.
Junk foods - have zero nutrition and they do not serve you the best possible health outcomes except for satisfying your taste buds. Processed foods or sugar-rich foods can lead to complications of diabetes and obesity. Make a nice goodie box instead with nutrient-rich bars, laddus and drink mix for yourself. Pick one of them every time you feel like grabbing a snack.
Unwashed foods - Rinse and wash thoroughly the fruits and vegetables after you buy them. Washing helps in removing the grime and dust particles from the foods. Unwashed foods are a breeding ground for bacteria and they thrive on them.
Why should you consult a nutrition expert during pregnancy?
A nutrition expert is someone whom you should meet once your pregnancy is confirmed. He/she will provide the facts related to pregnancy nutrition and pregnancy-safe foods. Gestational diabetes is also on the rise these days. Nutrition experts will check if you are suffering from gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and help out with ways to maintain your weight and with foods needed to regulate your sugar levels. Stress is a common occurrence in pregnancy and if you are a first-time mom, you become a ball of nerves. A nutrition expert will recommend therapeutic diets to soothe your anxious nerves and bring stress levels down. He/she believes in setting healthy goals for you. Also, a nutrition-rich meal chart will be given to you. Following it will reflect the best results in you as well as your baby.
The foods that you feel like eating during pregnancy are called pregnancy cravings. Cravings are your body’s way to get adjusted to the discomfort you feel during pregnancy such as mood swings, morning sickness, anxiety or such emotions. For example, you feel joy in eating sweets or cakes because they are comfort foods and make you happy. You feel secure when you consume them.
Pregnancy Meal plan by Momly Nutrition Expert
Must-eat foods are Dairy products, desi foods like dal, beans, nuts and peanut butter, and whole grains. Do not go for a fancy prenatal diet as we have essential/primary proteins in our traditional diets. Go for all kinds of seasonal vegetables. If you do not have an issue with gestational diabetes, go for dry fruits like figs and apricots as they have amazing sources of potassium, iron etc, all those vital ingredients needed for your baby’s growth. Hydration is very important so do not miss out on the water.