Eating the right food during your pregnancy can have long term health benefits for both you and your child. Quality over quantity should be the ‘mantra’ during and after pregnancy. This means that you need to get the essential nutrients without increasing your intake by more than 300 calories.
Here is a list of 10 dietary changes you need to make for a healthy pregnancy.
- Prenatal multivitamins: These are usually prescribed by the practitioners. You can choose from a variety of available multivitamins after checking the labels carefully. You will need 300 mg of iron and 600-800 micrograms of folic acid along with 1000 mg of Calcium.
- Iron and Folate: Choose foods rich in iron to support your increasing volume of blood. Folic acid is vital for cell development and prevents certain birth defects. Spinach, broccoli, legumes, dried fruits are all recommended. Eat them along with foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, bell peppers or tomatoes for efficient absorption. Broccoli is a good source for all, iron, folate and vitamin C.
- Calcium: It is required in high amounts for your baby’s development. In case of shortfall, the calcium reserves from your bones may get depleted resulting in osteoporosis at a later age. Fortified milk, yoghurt and salmon are good sources of calcium.
- Proteins: These are the vital building blocks whose requirement will increase in the second and third trimesters. Eggs, meat, fish, lentils, nuts and seeds are all great to have. Avoid sushi and fish which are high in mercury content.
- Fibre: Increased consumption of iron can cause constipation which can make you very uncomfortable. Eat plenty of fresh salads, beans and sprouts. Avocados and pears are also very high in fibre.
- Water: Drink a lot of water. If you do have the habit of drinking enough water, start it now. Besides keeping you hydrated, it will also help in nausea, heartburn and acidity.
- Avoid Alcohol: It is best to avoid alcohol completely to minimize the risks associated with it.
- Limit Caffeine: Limit your consumption of caffeine found in coffee, caffeinated drinks and chocolates which can have a negative impact on your child’s development.
- Avoid Artificial sweetener: Do not consume saccharin in your diet.
- Prevent Listeria: This is a bacteria found in processed meat, unpasteurized milk, unwashed fruits and vegetables and soft cheese. It can cause listeriosis which can be avoided by eating clean food and cooked meat.
Getting pregnant is a good reason to embark upon a healthy lifestyle. Remember to not eat for two as commonly advised. This may lead to an undesired increase in weight, putting you at risk for gestational diabetes and obesity in your baby. Try to keep your diet as colourful as possible, also called a rainbow diet, which will ensure you get all the essential nutrients for a healthy baby and a healthy you.