Diet during pregnancy does not mean that dieting to lose weight during pregnancy. Most of the weight loss diets keeps you low on important nutrients like iron and folic acid. This can be really bad for you and your baby. So, the diet that we are referring to in this article is the one for weight loss, but the one that will help you gain adequate amount of nutrients.
Planning a good diet during pregnancy is very important since whatever you consume is going to affect yours and your baby’s health. It’s best not to worry about weight gain just for a while and make sure you stay away from popular diets like Raw Food diet, South beach, Atkins, and The Zone.
It’s healthy to gain weight during pregnancy; but avoid gaining too much weight. The best way to keep your weight gain under control is by knowing your number. Contact your doctor or a nutritionist to know how much weight you can gain during pregnancy. Exercise and pregnancy yoga are good ways to burn the extra calories. Also, this will help you get your body stronger for labor and delivery.
If you do not stick up to calorie burning mild exercises, you may gain too much weight, which will lead to birth complications like c-section delivery and tearing. This might also increase the risks of gestational diabetes and delivering a larger baby which can be hard on you.
Diet During Pregnancy- What to Eat?
Now there are so many things you can eat to increase your nutrition intake, including the supplements given by your doctor. But these are the food items which you need to include in your day to day diet if you’re pregnant.
Diary products like milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese are rich sources of protein, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin-B which are essential nutrients for you and your baby. However, try not to consume too much of butter and cheese since it will result in excess weight gain. But you can always go for part skim cheese and low fat milk.
The best among all the diary products, for pregnant women is yogurt. Yogurt contains more calcium than any other diary product. It also has probiotic bacteria, which are helpful during digestion.
A large sized egg contains 77 calories and 113 mg of choline. You need 300- 500 calories extra, every day during your second and third trimester.
Choline is very important for your health during pregnancy because it is a major factor in brain development. In case of low choline intake, the risks of decreased brain function and neural tube defects are heightened.
Lean meat includes beef, pork and chicken, which are another great source of choline. They also contain Vitamin- B and iron. Pregnant women requires more and more blood to be produced in their body, for which iron is essential. Red meat like beef and pork contain a lot of iron.
Iron helps in the transportation of oxygen from one place of the body to another with the help of hemoglobin, in our blood. Not just eating food that contain iron is important, but you should also make sure that this iron is absorbed well by your body. Consuming food items that are rich in Vitamin C such as oranges and bell peppers will help in easier absorption of iron.
Salmon and Fish liver oil
Both salmon and fish liver oil are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, that are mostly found in sea food are important for the development of brain and eyes of the fetus.
Salmon also contains vitamin D, which is very important for bone strength and immune system. Some doctors advise pregnant women to eat less fish because they may contain contaminants like mercury due to pollution in the sea. But this does not mean that you should completely avoid fish. Eating fatty fish like salmon twice a week is very important for you and your baby.
If you have aversion towards salmon and other fatty fishes, cod liver oil is the best way to gain omega3 fatty acids and vitamin D. A maximum of one table spoon per day will get you all the nutrients, but more than that can affect the fetus and may result in thinning of blood.
Legumes include seeds like lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts. They contain nutrients like fiber, protein, iron, folate (B9) and calcium. Vitamin B9- folate is very important for the health of the mother and the fetus during the first trimester.
Low intake of folate may result in baby with low birth weight, weak immune system, and neural tube defects. Some varieties of legumes are also rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Another rich source of folate (Vitamin B) is avocado. Avocado’s are special fruits because they contain healthy fats called monosaturated fats which helps in the development of skin, brain and tissues of the baby. They also contain vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.
Avocado milk shakes are tasty and a good choice for evening snack because they are thick and filling. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas, which are popular sources of potassium. Potassium helps in preventing muscle cramps which most of the pregnant women experience.
Dark green and leafy vegetables
Broccoli, spinach, and kale are dark green vegetables which you have to include in your diet during pregnancy. They are rich sources of fiber which will help in eradicating constipation, a common problem faced by pregnant women. They also contain vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium.
Green and leafy vegetables are have plant compounds in them which are important in strengthening the immune system and improving digestion. They are also rich in anti-oxidants which helps in preventing many diseases in our body and fights against ageing. These vegetables can help lower the risk of low birth weight.
Whole grains like oats and cereals can be good breakfast items for pregnant women since they are rich in fibre, vitamins and other nutrients like magnesium. Including whole grain food items in your diet during pregnancy will help in gaining better nutrition.
If you found this article useful, please let us know in the comments section below! Also, if you would like to share any recipes using these food items, it would be great for the mommy to bes!