Being pregnant is a great feeling that is accompanied by a lot of responsibility. The body undergoes numerous changes during pregnancy which can be both physical and hormonal. Therefore, it is vital for to-be mothers to take extra care of their diet and nutrition. What a mother eats and drinks during this period is the main source of nourishment for the baby. The right amount of nutrients is essential for the proper growth and development of the baby.
What Nutrients to intake during this period?
There are certain nutrients that are extremely important for a pregnant woman. Some of these nutrients are: –
- Iron – Pregnant women need at least 27 milligrams of Iron per day which is twice what a normal female body would need. A lack of iron will lead to Anemia and other infections. Iron helps increase blood flow and ensures the mother and baby have an adequate oxygen. To increase absorption of iron, it is important to eat Vitamin- C rich foods like yogurt, citrus fruits like Guavas, Oranges, lemons, Apricots, Mango, Banana, Watermelon, Custard Apple etc. as well as Iron-rich foods like dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, chicken, dried fruits and lentils
- Folic Acid – Folic Acid also known as Folate is again a necessary nutrient that is needed during pregnancy. Folate reduces the risk of birth defects in the baby’s spinal cord and brain and to prevent Anemia and other infections for the mother. Folic acid cannot be found in diet alone. Therefore, doctors advise pregnant women to take Pre-natal vitamins that are rich with Folate. Certain foods like eggs, liver, dark and green leafy vegetables, enriched breads, cereals, dry fruits, beans and citrus fruits also help in providing this nutrient to the body
- Calcium – Pregnant women need approximately 1200 milligrams of Calcium per day. This nutrient helps in building the baby’s bones and teeth. This nutrient produces fewer body fats, thereby reducing the risk of obesity in women. It also boosts breast milk production and helps in proper functioning of nerves. The main source of Calcium rich foods are milk, yogurt, cheese, salmons or sardines, cabbage, cottage cheese, eggs, spinach and kale
- Proteins – Protein is a critical nutrient for the growth of the baby’s brain and heart as well as fetal tissues. Protein also helps in adequate blood supply to the baby. Food like meat, chicken, fish, cottage cheese, lentils, eggs, soya chunks, beans and peas are a good source of protein
What food to avoid?
Cravings are a common thing during pregnancy but one should know what foods to avoid during such times, so that both the mother and baby are safe.
Certain foods that need to be avoided are: –
- Fish containing high levels of mercury like shark, swordfish, mackerel
- Raw Shellfish
- Raw or under-cooked eggs and meat
- Unpasteurized Milk
- High levels of Caffeine
- Alcohol and Energy drinks
- Frozen Foods
- Canned Foods
Therefore, make sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet for both you and your baby. Besides eating a healthy diet make sure that you keep yourself healthy both mentally and physically. One cannot get everything through diet alone, so consult your doctor regularly on what foods to eat and what to avoid.