As featured in Mother & Baby Magazine October 2017.
A healthy diet is synonymous with a healthy lifestyle. This holds true for a healthy pregnancy as well. Eating right from the get go nourishes your baby and aids in the overall development. It sets the stage for mothers to maintain a healthy and steady weight gain, and avoid a series of health issues which can crop up with an unhealthy pregnancy diet. Here’s everything you need to know:
Eating for two
The baby you are eating for, weighs only about 28 grams by the end of the first trimester. It is more about fine-tuning your diet to meet the growing nutrition needs of your progressing pregnancy. Assuming you start off on normal weight before getting pregnant, your calorie intake will be as follows:
First trimester: You need no extra calories. Many mothers suffer from nausea and are not able to eat much. Bananas are a great choice as they are easy on the tummy and offer instant energy to combat fatigue which accompanies you through the first trimester. During the first month of pregnancy, folic acid plays a major role in avoiding spinal cord birth defects, miscarriage and preterm delivery. Since it is not possible to meet your full requirement from food, additional prenatal supplements are a must.
Second trimester: Bump up the daily calorie intake by 300. Development of the baby’s bone and teeth are now underway. Paediatrician, Dr Saloni Pahwa, recommends adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to your salad, yogurt or cereal. “They are calorie wise, energy boosting superfoods rich in Omega 3 and antioxidants, aiding brain and bone development, controlling blood sugar levels and preventing anaemia.” she says.
Third trimester: Increase the calorie intake to 450 kcal. Iron requirements double when you are pregnant and as you approach the finish line, your iron levels can drop. Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia, cause fatigue, dizziness and an overall lack of energy. Dates, pomegranates, dried fruit, meat, fish and poultry are good sources of iron. As a thumb rule, make every calorie count. Drink plenty of water and liquids (a minimum of eight glasses) to support the increased blood volume, and use nuts, dry fruits and super seeds as diet fillers to up the nutrition quotient and keep acidity at bay.
A wholesome pregnancy diet
A healthy pregnancy diet is not difficult to follow. According to Ankita Jain, a Mumbai-based nutritionist, “One of the ways to achieve your nutritional goal is to eat a rainbow of foods everyday.
Different vitamins and nutrients create different colours in our food. Eating different colours assures you are getting a variety of nutrients.”
Here are the five food groups that will have you covered for the day:
Fresh fruit (three to four servings): Choose the whole fruit over fresh juice, which packs in more fibre and less sugar.
Vegetables (four to five servings): Pick from the entire range of colours. Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and beetroot are a good source of iron. Red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli and green peas provide Vitamin C. Include folate-heavy cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale as part of your daily diet.
Fruit and vegetables are the most nutrient-dense of all food groups. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants. Each spoonful offers more nutrition for its calorie content.
Whole grains and grains (six servings with three to four servings of whole grains): Try not to limit yourself to whole wheat. Enjoy the whole gamut like jowar, bajra, ragi, corn, quinoa and so forth. Energy-boosting essentials carbs are found in whole grains. It is an important source of fiber which wards off constipation and keeps nausea at bay.
Dairy (three servings): During pregnancy, your body absorbs roughly twice as much calcium from food. Milk, yogurt, paneer and rosagullas are nutritious sources of calcium. While soft cheeses are a no during this time, a cube of hard cheese every other day can be consumed.
Protein (three servings): Protein is the hero of all nutrients. It contains amino acids that are the
building blocks for your baby’s chubby cheeks and everythingwithin. Select from lean meats,
eggs and vegetarian-friendly options such as beans, soya products, nuts and seeds.
Cravings and its flip side:
Aversions are a very real part of pregnancy. There is no harm indulging in those cravings as an infrequent treat. When it comes to aversions, listen to your body. Forcing down food only because
it is good food for you, will make you feel worse. Follow these simple mantras and eat your way to a healthy pregnancy. Happy indulging!