Congratulations! You’re pregnant and for starters, a wholesome pregnancy diet and nutrition is quintessential for you! We know, the feeling of being pregnant is slightly difficult to sink in. But with each passing day, you will fall more and more in love with that little life growing inside you. This phase is one of the most awaited and most beautiful phases in a woman’s life and it’s certainly more demanding than the rest.
So, you need to pay extra attention to your diet for having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
As a mum-to-be, it is important to eat well. You would want to optimize your health and therefore the health of your unborn baby. Maintaining proper nutrition in pregnancy plays a major role in that effort.
Grandma’s Tip: Now that you are ready to become Maa, you need to eat for two! No! I don’t mean the quantity of two, don’t misinterpret it. It’s the quality. You need to have the nutrition of two, for yourself and the little one in your tummy!
Common changes during pregnancy
Your body will go through numerous physical and hormonal changes during this period. The way you nourish your body during pregnancy will affect your health and your baby’s health as well. The food you eat is your baby’s main source of nourishment; so, it’s important to consume high nutrients food items that help in proper growth and development of your baby and also helps you throughout this phase and also your post-pregnancy phase.
You need a few more calories than regular days during pregnancy. You require all the essential vitamins and minerals from a varied diet in the first trimester. Iron, folate, vitamin A, and beta-carotene are essential for the proper development of the fetus in the first trimester. Folic acid is required during pregnancy to help protect your unborn baby against developing neural tube defects. Apart from the prescribed folic acid supplement, you can include folate in your diet through varied food items.
Pregnancy diet and nutrition
To have a healthy balanced diet throughout your pregnancy, you need to have the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, vitamins, fat and that too without many calories. You should include a different range of nutrient-rich foods from varied food groups.
Milk and dairy products:
Milk, curd, cheese, all are the good source of calcium and protein needed for the bone and muscle development of the baby. Apart from calcium, dairy provides high amounts of phosphorus, various B-vitamins, zinc, and magnesium.
Vegetables and fruits:
These provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, folate to your body. Green and leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants that benefit the immune system and digestion. Due to the high content of fiber in leafy vegetables, they prevent you from developing constipation, which is quite common in pregnancy.
These are rich in protein and are considered to be non-allergic foods. If you’re a vegetarian, then cereals like grams and beans are the best source of protein for your healthy fetal development. Legumes are a great source of folate too, which is very important for you and your fetus. Some varieties of legumes are rich in iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Try to include fresh fruit juice, water, shakes, and other liquids to keep your body hydrated. Avoid aerated drinks and caffeine. Water keeps you hydrated and reduces the risk of developing urinary tract infection.
Eating fiber-rich whole grain foods helps maintain proper bowel function and reduce your chances of developing constipation.
These are rich in calories, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are small but nutrient-dense. Make sure to include one serving of dry fruit in a day.
Why nutritious food is your savior during pregnancy
Even if you have morning sickness and feel fatigue all the time; small regular nutritious meals help you combat these exhausting feelings. It is common to have morning sickness in pregnancy and having an empty stomach can make sickness worse. This is why one must follow the ideal pregnancy diet and nutrition and imbibe that in their daily routine.
Don’t get out of bed on an empty stomach. Take small meals like a cookie, toast, a cup of milk, etc. while you are still lying down and then get up. While you may lose your appetite in the early months of your pregnancy due to nausea, there are certain foods that you must include in your diet during the first trimester.
It is high in folic acid, which is crucial to prevent any neural tube defect in your baby. It helps your baby’s neural tube to fuse properly in the first month after conception.
2. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruit like oranges, lemon, etc. are rich in folate, which can help prevent any birth defects in your baby. Citrus fruits will also help you combat nausea.
3. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese provides calcium and protein, both of which are essential for the muscle and bone development of your baby.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, all of which are essential for bone and muscle development of the baby and for you too.
If you are vegan, then soybeans will suffice the egg in your diet.
Iron is extremely important in the first trimester to form red blood cells in your body. Broccoli is rich in iron and folate, both.
7. Curd or yogurt
It not only provides calcium and vitamin D to your body but also prevents urinary tract infections.
8. Sweet potatoes
These are rich in beta-carotene, converted into vitamin A in the body. Most pregnant women are recommended to increase their vitamin A intake for healthy fetal development. However, an animal-based source of vitamin A is not recommended. Sweet potatoes are a plant compound that also improves digestion and maintains blood sugar levels.
Berries are packed with water, healthy carbs, fiber, vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron. These also improve your immune system and hence, are a must in pregnancy diet and nutrition.
These are a good source of protein and have healthy fats and fiber as well. Your body becomes more efficient during pregnancy to absorb more nutrients.
So, eating for two (quantity wise) doesn’t double your chances of having a healthy baby – instead, it causes unnecessary weight gain in most cases. So, burst that myth and eat wisely to meet your daily requirement of nutrients during pregnancy, for the best of best for your baby and you.