A healthy diet during pregnancy is very important as it promotes baby's healthy growth and development. Although there is no set formula for a healthy pregnancy diet, one needs to give attention towards including few important nutrients to ensure healthy growth of the baby. There are also certain foods that must be avoided during pregnancy.
Nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy
A healthy balanced diet is a must for a healthy pregnancy. Have small frequent meals every 3 hours instead of taking three big meals in a day. For a balanced nutritive diet, your food must include ingredients from the four main food groups, which are- fruits and vegetables, starchy foods, foods rich in protein, and dairy food products.
Apart from the regular healthy food, you also need to ensure that your food is rich in the following nutrients which are very essential for proper growth of the baby.
-protein is very crucial for the growth of the baby, especially during second and third trimester of pregnancy.
-a pregnant woman needs 71gm protein on a daily basis.
-some good sources of protein are peanut butter, dairy products, tofu, peas, dried bean, lentils, eggs, lean meats.
-apart from these, you can also ask your doctor for the supplements that your body requires.
2. Folic acid
-folic acid is known to prevent birth defects. The amount of folic acid needed by a pregnant woman is 800 micrograms per day.
-folic acid or folate is a b group vitamin whose requirements in your body increase substantially during pregnancy.
-some good sources of folate are spinach, lentils, dried beans, chickpeas, broccoli, bran flakes, asparagus, orange juice, leeks, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, parsley, whole grain bread, walnuts, unsalted peanuts, strawberries, potato, hazelnuts.
-since the developing child draws iron from the pregnant mother, the need for iron increases significantly during pregnancy.
-the recommended iron intake during pregnancy is 27mg per day. However, the amount of iron needed also depends on the quantity already stored in the body prior to pregnancy.
-include iron rich foods like green leafy vegetables like spinach, dates (khajoor), jaggery (Gur), apples, beans, dry fruits like raisins and apricots and meats.
-doctors often recommend supplements as by depending only on natural sources one may not satisfy the exact requirement.
-iodine is an important mineral which is required for thyroid hormone production in the body and is very important for growth and development.
-some god sources of iodine include eggs, dairy products, fish, baked potato, strawberries, prunes, seafood, and seaweed.
5. Calcium and vitamin d
-your body needs extra calcium and vitamin d during pregnancy to help in proper development of the baby's teeth and bones.
-doctors recommend around 1000-1200mg of calcium and 600 IU of vitamin d per day during pregnancy.
-include calcium-rich foods like milk, milk products, nuts, lean meats to get adequate calcium. Your doctor may recommend calcium supplements depending on your health status.
-you can ensure adequate vitamin d levels by sitting in the sun in mornings for 15 minutes to help your body synthesize vitamin d
Foods to avoid during pregnancy
Understanding what foods you must avoid during pregnancy will help you make the healthiest choices for you and your baby. The foods which must be avoided during pregnancy include:
-though seafood is an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids which help in promoting the brain development of your baby, some types of fish contains potentially high levels of mercury that can harm the baby
-fish like tilefish, king mackerel, shark, and swordfish are not safe to eat. On the other hand salmon, tilapia, cod, catfish, crab and shrimps can be eaten.
-stay away from contaminated, undercooked or raw seafood like shellfish, raw fish, sushi and refrigerated smoked seafood.
-avoid undercooked eggs, poultry and meat.
-avoid unpasteurized foods like Mexican style cheese, blue cheese, camembert, feta.
-avoid excess caffeine as it can cross the placenta and reach your baby. The caffeine intake should not be more than 200 milligrams in a day.
a strictly avoid herbal teas and alcohol during pregnancy.