Balanced diet for Pregnancy
- As we all know, a pregnant women should eat a balanced diet.
- Pregnancy is the time when a new life is growing inside the body, and hence one needs to provide nutrition for it as well as for own body! Hence diet plays an imperative role.
- But one point to keep in mind is that, while one needs to eat for two, it doesn’t mean that one has to eat double!
Whatever you eat goes into your stomach and it is your nutrient rich blood that reaches the baby. And any extra calorie you take (above and over that is required for baby) goes straight to your store of fat! It increases your weight, not baby’s !
So the mantra is to eat enough but not too much.
In our country, it is a tradition to feed pregnant ladies with extremely calorie and nutrient rich foods like dry fruit laddoos and badam ka halwa but while these are extremely delicious, the truth is that one can easily get all the benefit of nuts simply by eating them raw and so there is no need to have as may blank calories from ghee and sugar!
Actually there is a pretty reasonable explanation as to why this tradition started in our country! In olden times (not very old, till the generation of our granny and even our Moms) ladies used to all do the work by their own hands which comprised of hardcore manual labor like getting water pots from well or hand pumps , grinding dals at home, routine household chores of a joint family etc
Added to this almost everyone used to have about a dozen children!!!
Imagine the amount of physical labor they must had to put in and how tanking it would have been for their bodies ! They were the ones who needed all the extra calories and instant energy to keep all the hustle bustle coordinated, and hence “laddoos” the instant fuel, easy to have, readily available were made which had an added advantage that they could be stored for long periods.
- So now I think it is clear that we, the new age women have absolutely no need of a high calorie food item for a healthy pregnancy.
Repeating again ‘eating for two doesn’t mean that one has to eat twice’ !
An average weight women need only around 300 kcals extra per day during pregnancy. What is 300 kcal! As single truffle pastry extra is enough to provide for that! But that doesn’t mean that we are eating right!
Its not empty calories it’s the nutrient value of food which is important. If one keeps on taking empty calories, it will just increase your weight, not the baby’s , and the growing baby will not get the nutrients required to it and therefore body of mother will give them to the baby from own body stores and therefore mother’s health could suffer !
Instead of junk food, choose foods that are…
♦High in protein
♦ Rich in omega 3 polyunsaturated fats and lower in trans fats and saturated fats
♦Low in sugar (sugar provides only empty calories) and refined carbohydrates .
On an average, a normal weight woman should gain 11 kgs, a overweight women, 4-9 kg only and underweight women or women with multiple pregnancy (twins or more) should gain 16 to 20 kgs in pregnancy.
- Calories requirement of a normal weight women :-
First trimester – 1800 kcals
Second trimester – 2200 kcals
Third trimester 2400 kcals
Nutrients required – iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamins etc
Eating a balanced diet can help prevent –
- Too much weight gain
- Gestational diabetes
- The chance of needing a caessarean section delivery
- Anemia and infections in mother
- Poor healing after delivery
- A low birth weight (<2.5 kg baby)
Diet Plan For Pregnancy for healthy Baby:-
- Food rich in Protein = Meat, chicken, fish, Eggs and nuts
- Calcium = Milk, Curd, cheese
- Rotis / cereals, Rice, pasta – rich in carbs, provide instant energy pregnant women needs 6-11 servings form this group
- Fats, oil and sweets= try to minimize them, since they are empty calories should not make up 30% of diet
- Iron rich foods
- Folic Acid – Pregnancy doubles the women’s need of folate. Adequate stores of folic acid in body prevent neural tube defects in baby and therefore its important to supplement daily folate before and during pregnancy.
Examples of foods rich in folic acid are :
♦VEGETARIAN : deep green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, dried legumes like beans, chickpeas (chana), kidney beans (rajma) ; seeds and nuts ( Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds etc), citrus fruits, soy based products, ladyfinger( bhindi), corn, carrots
♦NON VEGETARIAN : eggs, poultry, seafood, lean meats, liver