Best Nutrition Tips for Pregnancy
A nutritious diet forms the basic foundation of a healthy lifestyle at any point of time , but it is even more important if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. This is so because your baby receives nutrition through your body during pregnancy and hence well nourished mothers give birth to healthy babies. This of course, does not mean that during pregnancy you should be ‘ Eating for two ‘ & double your dietary intake, but instead you should be consuming a balanced diet comprising of all the major food groups to receive the correct balance of nutrients for you & your baby.
To begin with, it is better to eat frequent & small meals periodically during the day instead of consuming three large meals. This also ensures that you eat a variety of food items throughout the day & do not binge on unhealthy junk food when you have been hungry for too long. A balanced diet, comprising of a multiple ingredients ensures a healthy pregnancy, minimizes morning sickness , sudden fatigue , constipation & lethargy.
Ideally, the recommended energy consumption of an individual depends upon the BMI and the body habitus. During pregnancy, the Calorie demands don’t really double up, instead they just become slightly elevated and you need to ensure that your energy consumption provides sufficient nutrients for you & the growing baby. Most studies indicate that a healthy woman does not need any extra calories during the first three months of pregnancy, needs about 300 Kcal/day extra in the next three months & about 450 Kcal/day extra during the last three months of pregnancy. These needs can be met if you consume some food items from each of the different food groups in a day :
Best Indian Diet Plan for Pregnancy –
Breads & Cereals : These include rice, chapatiis, pasta, bread , porridge etc. You should consume at least 5-6 servings of different cereals in a day . One serving amounts to 1 cha
patii/ 1 cup of cooked rice or pasta / 1 cup of cornflakes/ half a cup of cooked porridge or 2 sweet biscuits. It is advisable that you stick to whole grain options rather than the refined flour because whole grains also provide you with dietary fibre that slows down the rate at which sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream & also prevents constipation.
Fruits & Vegetables : These include fresh fruits/ dried fruits / frozen fruits & fruit juices. Similarly vegetables can be consumed raw/ steamed / or cooked. One serving of fruit would be 1 apple/banana/pear/orange etc. or 2 small apricots or plums/ half a cup fruit salad or 1 cup fruit juice or 2 tbsp dried fruit. Having whole fruit is always a better idea, as it provides fibre that helps in relieving constipation. One serving of vegetable means half a cup of cooked vegetable/ mix veg. salad.
Milk & Milk products : These include milk, cheese, curd, yoghurt, buttermilk and other milk products. You should consume at least 3-4 servings of milk/ milk products daily. One serving means 250 ml glass of milk/ 150 gm yoghurt/ 2 slices of cheese/ 2 scoops of ice cream.
Legumes, Nuts, Eggs, Poultry, Fish, Lean meat- Take two servings per day. One serving includes- one egg / one medium fillet of fish/one chicken leg/ 3/4th cup cooked dried beans, peas, lentils or pulses/ half cup nuts or seeds (flax seeds, sunflower seeds or others)
Fats & oils – Consume sparingly only. You don’t need to completely avoid any fat or butter because some amount of it is necessary for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins also, but don’t overindulge yourself and prefer unsaturated fats found in natural foods like fish, avocado, sunflower, olive oil etc over the saturated fats & the fats found in processed foods.
You should also ensure that you do not consume more than an equivalent of 5 gm/one teaspoon of table salt in a day, as excess salt can cause water retention & electrolyte imbalance apart from weight gain.
The Author, Dr. Smita Vats is practising as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Laparoscopic Surgeon in Gurgaon.She is one of the Best Gynaecologist in Gurgaon and a visiting consultant at various esteemed Hospitals in Gurgaon including Artemis Hospital, Cloud nine Hospital, Paras Hospital & GNH Hospital Gurgaon.