What to eat during pregnancy? | Pregnancy diet & pregnancy supplements

what to eat during pregnancy

No matter what you were chugging down before, now you’re pregnant, you should watch what you eat for the benefit of you and your unborn baby.

This might be a tad harder if you’re experiencing severe nausea and find you can hardly keep anything down. Try having small, regular meals and a lot of fluids in between. When your tummy isn’t churning, try to have nutritious, well-balanced meals.

Try to have a as many of the following foods each day as you can:

  • Fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Carb powerhouse foods, such as rice, rotis (try making stuffed flat breads for getting in more variety and nutrition), whole grain bread, pasta, and baked/boiled potatoes.
  • High protein foods – lean meats, eggs and pulses (such as beans and lentils) and soy.
  • Dairy, such as milk, cheese, paneer and curd.

Healthy drinks to take during pregnancy

In addition to other fluids, drink at least 8-12 glasses of water a day. If plain water isn’t your cup of tea, erm, try adding a wedge of lemon or a hint of mint to it to chug it down. Other healthy drinks you could try:

  • Fat free/2% milk
  • Coconut (naariyal) water
  • Banana milkshakes

Try to have homemade milkshakes and juices and drink them immediately to avoid excess sugar or oxidation of fruits. Exercise caution when buying from roadside shops. Make sure to have foods and drinks prepared only in hygienic places and conditions.

If you’re hungry and are looking for a healthy snack, you could try one of these options:

  • Upma/poha
  • Steamed or sautéed corn or corn (chaat)
  • Mixed vegetable idli/Rava idli
  • Grilled paneer tikka
  • Bhel puri/chaat
  • Dhokla or khandvi

Do try and limit ghee-laden or fried food.

Sometimes you lay find that you’re eating even when you’re not really hungry. This could be emotional eating. Try and steer clear of it. Contrary to what people tell you, you don’t need any extra calories in your first trimester. So, don’t feel pressured to eat for two. In the event you’re underweight or overweight, your doctor will tell you how to manage your pregnancy weight gain accordingly.

Nutritional requirements during pregnancy

If you’re having a healthy pregnancy, the only two vitamins that are absolutely essential are – folic acid and Vitamin D.

Strict vegetarians and/or women with medical conditions, like diabetes or anaemia should talk to their doctor about any other special supplements that they might need.

A balanced diet is the ideal way to get the nutrients that your growing body needs-

Try to include these four food groups:

  • Fruit and vegetables. Try to have fresh fruits and veggies – five portions a day.
  • Carbohydrates – bread, pasta, rice and potatoes.
  • Protein packed foods – lean meat, fish, eggs, lentils and pulses. These foods are also good sources of iron.
  • Dairy – milk, cheese and yoghurt, which contain calcium.
  • Iodine source – Dairy products, fish and sea salt.

Try not to avoid fatty or sugary foods and carbonated drinks and bottled juices. They will fill you up instantly but are not nutritious.

The average Indian diet often lacks in iron and/or calcium; hence many doctors prescribe these supplements any which way.

What should a prenatal multivitamin contain?

Most prenatal vitamins will supply you with 100% of the essential minerals and vitamins that you will need on a daily basis. Take care to never take more than the recommended dose – typically a tablet a day. Larger doses may end up causing more harm than good.

It is recommended to take a 5mg folic acid supplement each day in the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy (the first trimester). Even if you don’t take a multivitamin for other vitamins and minerals, make sure to include this one supplement during your first trimester – it prevents brain damage, cleft lip along other neural tube birth defects in your unborn baby.

Also try to include natural sources of folate, which is the natural form of folic acid. Folate is found naturally in green vegetables and pulses. If your doctor determines that you are at an elevated risk of having a baby with neural tube defect, she will prescribe a much higher dose of folic acid.

What other supplements could I need?

Iron

A blood test will reveal whether you’re getting enough iron. If your doctor finds you to be anaemic, she will prescribe iron supplements.

You will need about 38 mg of iron per day to meet your daily requirements when pregnant. This helps your body make more blood.

Iron deficiency is especially common among vegetarians. This is mainly attributed to the fact that vegetarian sources of iron are not absorbed into the body as readily as non-vegetarian sources. You can also elevate the absorption of iron in your body by taking vitamin C rich foods or drinks.

Calcium

This is one of the main minerals your body needs extra of. You will need twice as much calcium when you’re pregnant as when you are not. This amounts to 1200 mg of calcium per day. Calcium can be taken in the form of dairy -milk products, dark leafy vegetables, sardines, salmon and even tofu.

Others

These are usually Vitamins B6 & B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and potassium.

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