The first few weeks of pregnancy are those to be taken utmost care of right from the diet a pregnant woman has to exercises she must do.
Pregnancy and motherhood both are events that warrant an enhanced state of health. Most health parameters for the perfect pregnancy are dependant on nutrition
A lot of people tend to confuse the food they eat with the nutrition their body needs. Take a tour of this guide about pregnancy and other aspects of it such as lactation so that by the end of it you have the benefit of good nutrition during pregnancy and hopefully thereafter.
Mother’s diet influences the health of the baby in the short-term and perhaps even in the long-term. Pregnancy and foods to eat during the nine months are subject to a lot of old wives tales and myths.
[Read: Balanced Diet for Pregnant Women]
Are you of Desirable Weig ht?
It is important for the woman to be at an ideal weight as before she plans to get pregnant. Being at a healthy body weight is important before pregnancy. Besides, being underweight can affect fertility, making it more difficult to conceive. It may also increase the chance of the baby to be underweight at birth, which can increase the risk of ill health in early and later life. Being overweight can affect fertility and increase the risk of complications such as high blood pressure.
Keep yourself Safe from Deficiency
Pregnancy is the time for the mother to be free from any deficiency disease or condition as it is during this time that the body is in a weaker than usual because the immune system is busy trying to protect the baby. prior to becoming pregnant is the most excellent time to commence eating a beneficial diet. eating correctly prior to becoming pregnant can assist an individual in ensuring that both she and her baby start off with the nutrients that both require.
Small dietary disciplines as initiated during pregnancy will hopefully persist throughout life and we will end up with healthy families. If a mother’s food intake is very low at this stage and if her fat stores are low, the fetus grows more slowly and the baby may have low birth weight. This can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and raised blood pressure many years later in the baby.
Pregnancy and foods to eat during the nine months are subject to a lot of old wives tales and myths.
“You need to now eat for two people” is one of the most common statements that a pregnant woman hears about her diet. What that ought to mean is better, more balanced food, but what most people understand is more quantity. On one hand, there is constant nausea and on the other hand, there is a well meaning family thrusting more food down your throat: what a paradox! We do not need to double our calorie intake. In fact, it is only during the later part of pregnancy that extra energy is needed; an increase of 200 kcals a during the the last 3 months of pregnancy is recommended, though the needs of individual women vary depending on how active they are.
An expectant mother, however, requires a healthy and varied diet to provide her and her growing baby with the full range of nutrients. While nutritional needs and your own tolerance for eating will change during the different trimesters of the pregnancy, there are some general guidelines that will be important to follow throughout the nine months.
For starters, eat balanced meals, do not miss meals, try and eliminate caffeine from your diet and drink lots of water. Your calcium needs can be fulfilled by consuming dairy products such as skimmed milk, cheese, yogurt, kheer, milk pudding etc. Some of the non dairy sources of calcium includes fish especially salmon, kale, broccoli etc.
The kind of nutrition that you will need for each trimester will be different and so will be the foods you should eat. During the first trimester, one of your main nutritional concerns may be handling morning sickness, which does not necessarily occur in the morning. Some steps that might help include eating small meals frequently, whether you are hungry or not.
- Four to five servings of fruits and vegetables to meet the vitamin and mineral needs.
- Six or more servings of whole-grain or enriched bread and cereal for energy.
- Three or more servings of milk and milk products for calcium.
- three or more servings of poultry, fish, eggs ( for non vegetarians ), nuts, dals, sprouts, dried beans and peas for protei.
How to know if you're Eating Well during Pregnancy
The idea is to eat foods from the different food groups( proteins /carbohydrates /fats etc ) in the desirable quantities. when nausea or lack of appetite causes you to eat less occasionally, relax-understand that it is unlikely to cause harm because your baby gets the nutrients you consume, first before your body get them! and although it is generally recommended that a woman of normal weight gain approximately 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy (most gain 4 to 6 pounds during the first trimester and 1 pound a week during the second and third trimesters), don't focus on the scale. instead, focus on eating a good variety and balance of nutritious foods to keep both you and your baby healthy.
[Read: Unsafe foods for Pregnancy]
A weight gain of 12.5 kg in women of normal pre-pregnant weight is associated with the lowest risk of complications during pregnancy and labour. In practice, however, there is a wide range of weight gain scales in individual women who have normal and healthy pregnancies with an average weight gain of between 11-16 kg.
As far as the baby is concerned, it is 8 pounds, for the placenta 2-3 pounds, for amniotic fluid 2-3 pounds, for breast tissue 2-3 pounds, for blood supply 4 pounds, fat reserves for delivery and breastfeeding 5-9 pounds and for uterus it is 2-5 pounds. This makes for a total weight of 25 to 30 pounds.
During pregnancy a woman’s nutritional needs increase and the diet must provide sufficient energy and nutrients:
- to meet both the mother’s usual needs and provide extra for the growth of the breasts, uterus and placenta
- to meet the needs of the growing fetus
- for the mother to lay down stores of nutrients to help the growth of the fetus, and for lactation
nutrients and oxygen pass from the mother’s blood to the fetus from the placenta, via the umbilical cord.
The recommendation for energy intake (an extra 200 kcals during the last 3 months, as mentioned above) assumes that, during pregnancy, activity levels decrease and women will become more sedentary but this is not always the case, especially as more and more Indian women balance professions in addition to being home makers. It is really impossible to say how much an individual pregnant woman should be eating. So, that is why the best option is to monitor weight gain and fetal growth from conception to delivery. It is also important to understand that foods are divided easily into everyday foods, occasional foods and party foods. This is a guide to what to eat on a day to day basis on say a monthly basis and maybe once in three months.
Firstly, the emphasis ought to be on small frequent meals rather than three bulk meals. As we progress during the chapter we will of course include specific foods from an indian perspective.
Secondly, foods that we eat during pregnancy are subject to cravings for specific foods/morning sickness that makes eating impossible in the first term which is the time when it is most important for nutrition to be available for the new forming baby. Women crave specific foods during pregnancy. A myth that has not found any support in scientific scrutiny is that hunger for a particular type of food indicates that a woman's body lacks the nutrients that the food contains. Although this isn't the case, it's still unclear why these urges occur.
Some pregnant women crave chocolate, spicy foods, fruits, and comfort foods, such as mashed potatoes, cereals, and toasted white bread. Other women crave non-food items, such as clay and cornstarch. But, following your cravings is fine, as long as you crave foods and these foods contribute to a healthy diet. Frequently, these cravings diminish about 3 months into the pregnancy.The craving and eating of non-food items is known as pica. Consuming things that aren't edible can be dangerous to both you and your baby. if you have urges to eat non-food items, notify your doctor.
Sakalni Mishra, Sr. Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis La Femme on Health Dangerous Due to Diet Fads.
Read more articles on Pregnancy Diet.
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