Pregnancy is an embarking journey in a woman’s life. A mother’s love can never be replaced by anything in the world and that love begins even before the baby comes into the physical world.
Like Mitch Albom once said, ” I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.”
To care for your baby during pregnancy, you first need to care for yourself and that begins with a proper diet. Fortunately, carrying out a healthy, well-rounded pregnancy diet is not a difficult task. Here are the essentials for a perfect pregnancy plan.
Fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables are essential components of any healthy diet, including pregnant women’s diets which provide vitamin C and folic acid that are essential for the development of your baby. In addition to being low in fat, cholesterol, and calories, vegetables are a good source of fibre (which helps prevent and treat constipation), as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals, including folate (which reduces the risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy).
Getting 2-4 servings of fruit and at least 4 or more servings of vegetables per day is recommendable.
It’s generally safe to eat any type of vegetable, but raw leafy vegetables are usually considered better to eat. Since your body will be more susceptible to infections when you are pregnant, it’s important to wash any vegetables or fruits thoroughly before eating them.
Whole grains like whole-grain bread, cereals and oatmeal are essential to a balanced pregnancy diet. These types of grains are full of fibre, iron, B vitamins, and folic acid, which are essential for a healthy baby.
In pregnant women, bran, brown bread, oats, and barley can be beneficial for providing iron, magnesium, zinc, etc. Whole grains help prevent anaemia, build bones, and enhance the immune system. However, not all whole grains are high in fibre.
Folic acid present in grains helps in the renewal of cells in the body. By deficiency in folic acid, premature babies, low birth weight babies and babies with neural tube defects are caused.
A baby’s bones will develop correctly if he or she consumes dairy products, which are good sources of calcium and protein. These are found in dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese.
We recommend eating 2-4 servings of dairy products per day.
When in the market for dairy products, look for the words pasteurized since your body is more prone to infection during pregnancy, and pasteurization kills germs in dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and milk.
Reason: Iron is used by the body to make haemoglobin whose deficiency can develop iron deficiency anaemia.
Quantity: As a pregnant woman, you need twice as much iron as a non-pregnant woman to make more blood for your baby.
Sources: Among the good sources of iron, red meat, poultry, and fish are among the best. Iron-fortified breakfast cereals, beans and vegetables are other options and are all good sources of iron.
Fats and oils
Reason: One of three major macronutrients in healthy fats. They are important for developing the baby’s brain and eyes
Quantity: Get your daily servings of healthy fats from 6-8 almonds and 4-5 walnut halves. Oils can be both harmful and helpful. As far as oil intake goes, you should consume no more than six teaspoons a day of plant oils. If you are pregnant, avoid taking in large amounts of animal fat (like lard and butter) to avoid putting on excess weight.
Sources: Plant oils like olive, canola, or safflower are good during pre-natal.
Reason: Promoting bone strength and protecting them is the job of protein so make sure to consume food containing this nutrient.
Quantity: Keep your protein intake between 65-70 grams a day.
Sources: Orange juice, fish, eggs, soy products, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Reason: Calcium is crucial to the growth and development of your baby’s bones and teeth. It will also support his well-being by helping to maintain his circulatory, muscular and nervous systems.
Quantity: Around 1000mg of calcium is recommended.
Sources: Dairy products, broccoli, spinach and breakfast cereals containing calcium.
Regular intake of water
Water may sound basic but don’t underestimate it. Pregnancy is not an exception to not keeping track of your water intake. Dehydration, specifically in your third trimester, can lead to contractions and preterm labour as it alleviates pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and nausea.
Avoid energy drinks or soft drinks as a substitute for water. They don’t do wonders as water does. Alcohols too are a big no during pregnancy.
After the newborn arrives, you must follow these same precautions while breastfeeding.
Your body is your baby’s only source of nutrition, so choose the right diet. It may be difficult at first but eventually, you’ll learn what’s best in favour of you and your baby.