Nutrition is of prime importance during pregnancy as the baby relies on the mother to give a healthy environment for growth and development. Mother’s overall health and nutritional habits decides the infant’s health and disorders later in life.
Nutritional imbalance before or during pregnancy can result in serious complications, gestational diabetes, hypertension in pregnancy and chronic conditions of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes in the infants as they age. To-be-moms should start preparing their bodies two or three months prior to conception by intaking a nutritionally-balanced diet, maintaining proper body weight and exercising. It helps in healthy and safe pregnancy. Avoid dieting during pregnancy as baby may be deprived of essential nutrients. Body’s nutrient requirement of vitamins and minerals is increased by a small amount during pregnancy. Eating for two during pregnancy is a myth.
The dietary intake varies from person to person depending on their body type, age, height, weight etc. Consult a dietician for a proper diet plan and nutritional requirement. Get a complete body check up. Refrain from eating foods which you are sensitive to. Light physical exercise is good during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy involves more intakes of calories, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Food is the best source but at times supplementation is also required.
- Folic acid intake minimizes the risk of neural defects and other similar complications. Make sure that you have lots of lentils, kidney beans, green leafy vegetables (spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, and broccoli), citrus fruits, nuts and beans as they are rich in folic acid.
- Protein is needed for energy, growth and development of body parts, especially brain, muscles and blood. A pregnant woman needs additional protein for the baby’s growth. Unsalted nuts and seeds make up for a good snack and are very rich in proteins. Seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products are also excellent sources of proteins and should be made a part of your daily diet.
- Vitamin D is rarely found naturally in foods so proper supplementation or sunbath is necessary.
- Calcium is very essential for bones, teeth; blood’s clotting characteristics, regular heartbeat and nerves to function properly. Dairy products are the best source of calcium.
- Iron is an essential component of red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body. It aids in building resistance to stress and disease, reduces tiredness, weakness, irritability, and depression. Whole grain products, lean beef and pork, dried fruit and beans, sardines and green leafy vegetables are rich sources.
- A woman’s blood volume actually increases during pregnancy and her body has to supply fluid to replenish the amniotic fluid the baby is in. Drinking enough water helps in fighting off morning sickness and helps in preventing constipation and ensures mom and baby are properly hydrated.
Thus, proper maternal nutrition will benefit last time for both mom and baby. Have a well-balanced, nutritional diet and have a happy pregnancy!