Pregnancy is the most important phase of life for both mother and the fetus to develop inside the womb, obviously, extra care is needed when it comes to the quality of the foods to be taken. Utmost care has to be taken, that the food, the pregnant women eat, should be completely nutritious so that the sufficient amount of food reaches the fetus and also at the same time does not build up calories in the mother.
The amount of weight gained physiologically is about 10-12 kgs in a period of nine months. Low weight gain increases the risk of low birth weight babies and even intrauterine growth retardation. Overweight gain also has its portion of disadvantages like big babies, feto-pelvic disproportions, gestational diabetes, etc..
To prevent all these complications, it is safe to eat healthy, so that you give birth to a healthier baby and the mother too stays healthy pre and post-delivery and can be able to take good care of the newborn, bundle of joy for the whole family.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: These natures colourful gifts for the wellbeing of mankind help us in multiple ways. Being loaded with Vitamin C, A, E, K, and B- Vitamins, both vegetables and fruits are excellent in pregnancy. Mostly citrus fruits like Guava, Oranges, and vegetables like Broccoli, Tomatoes are loaded with vitamin C, which helps in the increased absorption of iron, which is an important mineral for pregnant women. Vitamin C also helps in fighting with infections (provides natural immunity), repairs tissue, heals wounds, and also helps in the formation of collagen thus helps in maintaining the integrity of skin, hair, teeth, and bones.
Dark green leafy vegetables are important sources of iron and folic acid. Iron helps in the production of hemoglobin which is essential for carrying oxygen throughout the bloodstream, as during pregnancy more hemoglobin is required to supply the fetus with sufficient oxygen supply. Thus the Iron requirement becomes double during pregnancy. Certain sources of Iron are whole-grain breads, dried fruits, beans, Almonds, lentils, Raisins, Cinnamon, Apricots, etc..
Folic acid in green leafy vegetables helps in the production of red blood cells and also reduces the neural tube defects. Most of the fruits like berries are full of antioxidants, which protect the mother from infections and inflammation. Antioxidants also help in fighting with the excess cholesterol levels in hypertensive mothers, thus reducing the risk of preeclampsia.
Fruits and vegetables are also full of fiber and thus prevent constipation, which is the most common problem in pregnant women. High fibre foods examples are leafy vegetables, Oranges, Apple, Pear, Banana, Mangoes, Beans, Sweet Potatoes, etc..
DAIRY PRODUCTS: As we all are aware that the dairy products are full of the pure white minerals calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. As the growing fetus requires a lot of these minerals for proper development of the skeletal system, dairy products play an important role in the diet of pregnant women. Generally, the growing fetus takes up all the calcium from the mother, and the mother if not taking sufficient calcium-rich diet may suffer from brittle bones, back pain, weak joints, etc..
What many are unaware is that dairy products are also rich in fats and protein, which are actually more crucial for pregnant women and the growing fetus. The proteins are essential for the building of muscles, joints, and bones. Whereas the fats are essential for the development of the fetal brain, skin lining, metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins, formation of fertility hormones, which helps in the proper development of the endocrine glands, etc.. Few examples for dairy products are Milk, Cheese, Paneer, Yogurt, etc..
Yogurt being rich probiotics helps in keeping the digestive system healthy and also prevents Pre-eclampsia, vaginal infections in pregnant women, and also prevents certain Food Allergies.
EGGS: Eggs being high quality and complete protein food, and also enriched with Fats, Vitamins, and Minerals can be Labeled as excellent food to supplement the pregnant mother and growing fetus. Eggs are also rich in Choline, which is required for the development of the fetal brain. Decreased choline consumption may be associated with the risk of neural tube defects. Other rich sources of choline are soaked nuts, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, etc..
LEGUMES: Legumes are great sources of Fiber, Folate, Iron, Calcium, Vegetable protein, etc.. People allergic to dairy products can increase their intake of legumes to substitute their calcium and protein intake. Pure vegetarians also can benefit from legumes, which gives the required amount of protein for their bodies as well as the fetus. Examples of legumes are lentils, chickpeas, beans, peanuts, soyabeans, peas, etc..
NUTS: Nuts are full of Minerals like Manganese, Copper, Magnesium, Selenium, Zinc, Potassium, Calcium, etc.. and Vitamin E. Nuts are loaded with healthy fats, omega-3-fatty acids which are essential for the fetal brain development and hormonal development. Nuts are also rich in protein and B- Vitamins.
NOTE: Few are allergic to certain nuts like peanuts and thus should completely avoid them.