Nutrition during Pregnancy is of great importance to support the growth of the baby as well as help build the reservoir of nutrition required by the expecting mom in the next couple of months after baby’s birth. This “Pregnancy Nutrition – Dos and Don’ts” guide will help you to make decisions about what to eat and what to avoid during this beautiful phase of life.
What a woman eats during these days is the main source of nutrition for the little one. Certain foods and unhealthy eating patterns can affect the baby’s development. It’s very important to eat nutrient rich food and adapt healthy eating habits before your little bundle of joy arrives to help them grow in a healthy and nurturing environment.
This guide will help you to make decisions about what to eat and what to avoid during this beautiful phase of life.
DO’S for Nutrition during Pregnancy
1. Eat a Rainbow diet:
Pregnancy is the time when your eating habits have a direct effect on your baby. You need more calcium, folic acid, iron and protein for active development of your baby and also to maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Make your diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein(poultry). This not only ensure proper nutrients but also introduce your munchkin to new food. You should also try to limit the intake of saturated fats.
Drink lots of water for hydration, delivering nutrients and cleaning out toxins. Remember, water cannot be replaced by another drink. Staying hydrated helps to prevent headache, kidney stones, constipation and hemorrhoids.
3. Limit the exposure to Pesticides:
Focus on locally grown or on organic food that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains which provides the essential nutrients for the well-being. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating and cook the food thoroughly. Make sure milk is pasteurized.
4. Be Active:
Along with a nutritious diet try to add simple activities throughout the day. Swimming, walking and prenatal yoga are good choices. Prenatal yoga is a healthy practice to adapt during pregnancy. From physical state to emotional well being prenatal exercises are the key ingredient for happy and successful pregnancy. Daily practice of prenatal exercises help you to feel great and calm during this important phase of life.
Avoid any strenuous or extreme sports like rock climbing, running or basketball. Start slowly and don’t overdo. It is best to exercise during pregnancy under supervision of a qualified prenatal exercise expert. Make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Take breaks if you feel too tired or uneasiness.
5. Adequate Sleep and Rest:
Pregnancy is demanding, during the first trimester as body is adjusting to changing hormones, anxiety, nausea, lower back pain make you sleep deprived during this journey. Take a quick snooze when you feel tired. Aim for seven to nine hours of good sleep at night. Set your bedtime and stick to it. Fatigue is the sign that your body needs rest. Relax as much as possible by listening to your favourite music or reading a book .
Don’ts for Nutrition during Pregnancy
1. Don’t “Eat for two”:
It is a myth that if you are pregnant then you need to consume more of everything. A pregnant woman just needs 200 more calories during her second trimester and 300 more calories during her third trimester. Follow your regular diet and carefully adjust it according to the desired requirement based on the phase in your pregnancy. Overeating will put on more weight rather than doing any good for your baby’s development. Avoid heavy dinner at night and complete your dinner 2 hours before retiring to bed to avoid heartburn.
2. Remove the nutritional negatives:
Excess of white breads, sweets, soda, bakery items cause rush into the bloodstream, spiking the blood sugar levels. Limit the white stuff, refined grains, artificial sweeteners, red meats and processed food. It is best to consult a prenatal dietician to have a meal plan charted as per your height, weight, blood counts and stage of pregnancy. (FabMoms could help you with this)
3. Don’t overdo Caffeine:
Limit the intake of tea/ coffee or other caffeinated beverages. The American council of Obstetrics and Gynecology advises pregnant women to limit the intake to less than 200 milligrams per day.
4. Do not drink, Avoid Alcohol:
Alcohol during pregnancy is a strict “NO”. Alcohol can pass directly to the baby through umbilical cord. Heavy use of alcohol can cause physical problems as well learning and behavioral difficulties in babies and children.
5. Do Not sit or stand for extended periods:
Standing or sitting for a long period of time, especially during last trimester causes back pain, swelling in the legs and discomfort.
- If your job requires lot of vertical time which causes discomfort of the legs, try taking frequent breaks, keep yourself hydrated, wear compression stockings.
- Avoid sitting cross leg.
- Sleeping on your left side, help to reduce swelling and relieves pressure from the inferior vena cava that pump blood from lower extremities to the heart.
- You can use pillow under your hips, below your back or between your legs for a comfortable position.
6. Avoid Stress:
Its normal to be a bit stressed about the changes happening in your body and life. Too much of stress and anxiety may affect the baby’s emotional development. Make knowledge your power – Enrol in a prenatal class or a specific class for labor preparation to be ready beforehand stay stress-free.
Here are some positive steps you can take to tackle stress:
1. Chat and sing for your baby.
2. If you are worried about baby’s well-being or personal matter reach out for help or talk to your partner or friend. Talking things through can make you feel better.
3. Join Antenatal class or prenatal exercise class where you can open up and share your feelings with a community of women. Sharing your pregnancy journey with new friends can help ease out anxiety.
- 3 servings of protein per day.
- 6 or more servings of whole grains per day.
- 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. 3 or more servings of dairy products each day.
- Nutrient dense essential fats.
- Get your key nutrients from natural foods
- Add supplements such as prenatal vitamins,omega 3,vitamin C and zinc
- Excessive Caffeine
- Raw meat and Seafood
- Uncooked processed foods
- Unpasteurized milk
By following these do’s and don’ts guidelines, you can easily make your pregnancy a beautiful memory for a lifetime .
It is best to consult a qualified dietitian for more specific meal plan that suits your height, age, medical history and stage of pregnancy.
This article is contributed by Dietician Vijeta Goyal.
FabMoms offers a personalised meal plan for pregnant as well as lactating women. Contact 9920991286 to find out more.