When you are pregnant you will have to eat not only to meet your requirements but also that of your unborn baby. So balanced diet during pregnancy period is must. Most of the mental and physical growth of the baby occurs during the first 3 months of pregnancy. It is during this important period that the principal organs and the nervous system of the baby form. Hence it is vital for you to eat well from the start itself even though you have discomforts such as nausea. Similarly the baby will show rapid growth during the final 3 months of pregnancy and hence a nutritious diet is important during this period.
What kind of diet you should follow at the time of pregnancy?
During pregnancy, a nutritious diet with the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals are essential. Your diet has to consist of different types of foods from the 5 basic food categories which include fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, fish or other protein foods, whole grain products, milk and other diary products etc.
You should avoid spicy foods, tea, coffee, canned and processed foods, hot chocolate, sugary foods such as cookies, cakes, sodas, candies, colas etc and limit your salt consumption as much as possible.
What are the nutrients that are vital at the time of pregnancy?
Your diet should contain the following nutrients and you should drink a lot of water.
Carbohydrates are very important as they provide the energy required by the body. Good sources of carbohydrates include cereals rice bread, pasta, potatoes, vegetables and fruits
Consumption of protein helps blood production and cell growth. Foods rich in protein include peanut, poultry, fish, lean meat, tofu, pulses and egg whites.
Intake of calcium rich foods helps in development of strong teeth and bones and is a must during pregnancy. Calcium also helps in proper functioning of nerves and contraction of muscles. Yogurt, cheese, milk, spinach, salmons or sardines with bones are protein carriers. Calcium consumption is very vital at the time of pregnancy because the baby demands a high calcium supply. Hence it is important for the mom to increase her calcium intake in order to avoid the calcium loss from her own bones.
Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells and helps to prevent anemia. Spinach, cereals and lean red meat provide a good amount of iron to the body. Vegetables such as beetroots and drumsticks are also good suppliers of iron.
Good sources of vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes and dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is essential for good eyesight and healthy skin.
Vitamin C is important for healthy gums and strong bones and teeth. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli are excellent suppliers of vitamin C
Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and is essential for the development of healthy teeth and bones. The sources of vitamin D include dairy products, fortified milk, breads and cereals.
Vitamin B6 helps in the formation of red blood cells. It also aids proper use of carbohydrates, protein and fat by the body. vitamin B6 can be found in gram, pork, bananas and whole grain cereals .
Vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy nervous system and it also aids in the formation of red blood cells. Fish, meat, poultry, and milk are good sources of this vitamin. If you are a vegetarian you will have to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
Folic acid aids to prevent neural tube defects which occur in the early stages of pregnancy. It also helps a lot in production of blood, proteins and enzymes. Green leafy vegetables, peas, beans, dark yellow fruits and vegetables and nuts are good sources of folic acid. Folic acid supplement is recommended for pregnant women.