Nutrition during pregnancy
Pregnancy is the most blissful phase of a women’s life as her body goes through a lot of transformation. Calorie and Nutrient requirements also increase during pregnancy as mother has to eat for two. If mother’s body lack certain nutrients or if her food intake is not enough, then the baby will suck all the requirements from his mother to fulfill his needs but she will be lacking it eventually. So it is very important to take care of your nutrition as well as your baby’s nutritional requirements. Every girl should aim to become healthy not during, but a year before planning for pregnancy to avoid complications.
Here are few tips which can help you to get started:
Prepare your food safely. Wash all the vegetables and fruits properly to remove all the traces of soil (which may contain toxoplasma, a parasite which can cause toxoplasmosis which could be harmful for your fetus), also wash all the utensils, your hands after preparing raw meat.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as they contain lot of vitamins, minerals, as well as fiber which will prevent constipation.
Include high quality protein in your daily diet. Dietary sources are beans, pulses, egg whites, nuts, dairy products, etc. Protein is essential for the proper growth of fetal tissue including the brain, as well as it helps with uterine and breast tissue during pregnancy.
Calcium requirement increases during pregnancy. So include dairy products in your diet. Aim for at least 2-3 portions per day. Dietary sources are milk (cow preferably), cheese, plain yogurt, fresh curd, paneer. Calcium is essential for building your baby’s bones.
Folate (commonly known as folic acid) is essential for preventing neural tube defects, which affects the baby’s brain and spinal cord. E.g. spina bifida and anencephaly. Dietary sources are dark green leafy vegetables like spinach; beetroot; asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits like orange, berries; beans, peas, and lentils; avocado; okra; Brussels sprouts; nuts; cauliflower; corn; carrot; celery.
Iron requirements also increase during pregnancy. Along with sodium, potassium and water it works in increasing blood flow and ensure that adequate oxygen is supplied to the mother as well as the fetus. Dietary sources are Bajra, rice flakes, dark green leafy vegetables; soaked black raisins; soy and legumes; jaggery. Also include vitamin C rich sources as vitamin C helps in iron absorption- Citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, lemon; amla,etc.
We always tell ourselves that I will do it from tomorrow-
I will make healthy changes tomorrow,
I will do exercise tomorrow,
I will eat this today for the last time and will start eating healthy from tomorrow
But let me tell you that tomorrow never comes. If you are really willing to have a healthy baby then start taking actions, start incorporating healthy lifestyle changes from this moment onward instead of waiting for that imaginary TOMORROW (which never comes)