Are You Expecting? Here’s What You Should Eat (And Avoid)
Nutrition During pregnancy – (Dos and don’ts)
Your body goes through various physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy. The way you feed your body during this time will affect your health and your baby’s. Healthy prenatal eating isn’t just about avoiding; it’s about choosing wisely. It is also equally important to focus on nutrient-rich foods and healthy habits that will keep you and your baby thriving for the whole nine months.
Do’s of nutrition during pregnancy
Do lean upon the “big 5” nutrients – folate, calcium, iron, zinc, and fiber.
Folic Acid (one of the B vitamin) is the vital nutrient which should be started before conception and continued until the first three months of pregnancy. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the newborn.
Good Sources – Beans, legumes, dark leafy vegetables, poultry, fish, orange, strawberries, fortified breakfast cereals.
Calcium – plays a crucial role in 2nd and 3rd trimesters when your baby’s bone and teeth development reaches its peak.
Good Sources – Low-fat dairy milk and products, dark green leafy vegetables, fortified juices, soy products (tofu)milk
Iron – it is difficult to get from the diet completely, so it has to be supplemented. But to boost iron absorption, combine food with vitamin C (like lemon juice, orange, etc.)
Zinc – This has been linked with congenital disabilities, restricted fetal growth, and premature delivery.
Good Sources – nuts, whole grains, and legumes.
Fiber – it helps to reduce constipation which is a common pregnancy complaint.
Good Sources – whole fruits, vegetables, whole grain, cereals.
Do eat a rainbow of foods – Not only does a varied diet provides you and your baby with all essential nutrients, but also introduces your little bundle of joy to new tastes. Deep hued/colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, mangoes, capsicum, and leafy vegetable tend to be the richest sources of antioxidants too.
Do choose organic and healthy green seasonal foods whenever possible.
Do get your omega-3fatty acids – Omega 3-fatty acid can boost your baby’s neurological and brain development before birth, leading to better vision, memory, and language comprehension in early childhood.
Good Sources – Flaxseed oil, walnuts and eggs, fish oil supplements are also safe.
Do choose “double duty” food – Nutrients dense foods, such as yogurt, peanut butter, chicken, eggs and dairy products are those that are higher in protein, calcium, and iron, all nutrients your baby needs to build and develop properly.
Similarly, other nutrient-dense foods are – egg, chicken, fish, which contain protein along with vitamin B, iron, zinc. Orange juice offers folate plus vitamin C, which helps you to absorb iron from foods such as spinach and whole grains which are filled with fiber, magnesium, and zinc.
Don’ts of Nutrition during Pregnancy
- Don’t eat for two – When mom-to-be gains excess weight, research suggests that the baby has a higher risk of developing obesity later in life and the mother tends to retain extra weight even after the delivery. Consult your doctor/dietician regarding how much weight gain is expected for your kind of pressure. To make it simpler, eat until you feel satisfied and not more.
- Don’t overdose on refined carbs – White pieces of bread, rice, sweets rush to the bloodstream, spiking your blood glucose levels. These spikes may appear in fatter newborns, who are at higher risk of being overweight as they grow up.
- Don’t overlook food safety – Don’t eat raw or uncooked meat, poultry, seafood or eggs or cut fruits and vegetables from unsafe/unhygienic places. Also, refrain from eating leftover food that has been sitting out for more than 2 hrs. If there are no labels on packaged foods, don’t take any chances.
- Don’t go more than two or three hours without eating – Small frequent meals should be your mantra. This will minimize heartburns, a common and painful problem as the pregnancy progresses, and your stomach gets squeezed.
- Don’t forget to drink at least 12 glasses of fluids each day – It’s hard to stay hydrated when you are pregnant because a lot of fluids you drink leaks from your blood vessels to your tissues, and you start feeling bloated. Hydration is essential. Staying hydrated helps to prevent headaches, kidney stones, dizziness, and common pregnancy complaints such as constipation.