Pregnancy is a vital and most sensitive phase of a woman’s life and maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as a healthy diet during this time is important. Expecting mom have to pay close attention to what they eat and drink. They have to avoid any beverages and dishes that may be harmful in any way to the baby or to themselves.
During pregnancy, moms need additional nutrients and vitamins, and not every food is safe to eat at this time. The extra calories are needed for the baby’s growth and development. For example, calcium strengthens bones and teeth, and even more of it is needed for the developing baby. A healthy diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, lots of water, etc. Dietary guidelines are published in magazines and journals that can help moms determine how many servings of each kind of food to eat every day. Labels can tell what kinds of nutrients are in the food. Choosing healthy, wholesome foods, will ensure the health of moms and the baby, plus it would also help in losing the pregnancy weight after giving birth.
Let’s take a look at foods that affect the baby in the womb:
Consumption of calcium and proteins is required for cell growth, blood production, strengthening bones and teeth, muscle contraction and functioning of nerves. The dairy products provide the necessary nutrients for the growing fetus. Two types of high-quality proteins present in these products are casein and whey. Dairy is the best source of calcium and phosphorus large amount. It also suffice various B group vitamins, magnesium and zinc.
Pregnant women are advised Yoghurt. It contains more calcium than other dairy products along with probiotic bacteria, which is highly beneficial for expecting moms and supports healthy digestion. Probiotic bacteria also reduce the complications during pregnancy such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, allergies and vaginal yeast infections.
Legumes are nutritional powerhouses and excellent sources of folate, which is the baby building block and reduces the risk of birth defects as well as of other diseases, potassium, iron, magnesium and essential fatty acids.
Legumes are plants with a seedpod that splits in half. Beans, peas, soybeans, peanuts and lentils are included in legumes. They contain compounds called phytochemicals which prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Legumes also provide soluble fibre which can help prevent constipation and haemorrhoids, which are common problems in pregnancy.
Sweet potatoes are the best source of energy in the form of starch. Although they lack proteins and fats, they are well-stocked with other nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B7, etc. Doctor’s recommend expecting mom to consume at least 800 microgram of Vitamin A which is crucial in the growth of organs of the fetus like the heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and so on.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is another important nutrient found in sweet potatoes which helps in the formation of a functioning brain and nervous system in the fetus. However, overconsumption of sweet potatoes can lead to Hypervitaminosis, a condition in which fetal abnormalities can occur such as physical defects, liver damage or preterm births.
Salmon has a great nourishing value and the fact that it is extremely delicious doesn’t hurt either. It is a low-fat fish and one of the most nutritious fish available. That is why it protects the baby and mom from many diseases.
It is rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids which are known to build brain. It has more benefits such as providing great cardiovascular health, improved eyesight and enhancement of the nervous system. It is also full of proteins and vitamins that are highly instrumental in maintaining optimal levels of blood pressure. Studies suggest that salmon helps in preventing premature delivery and also helps prevent postpartum depression in moms.
However, too much of anything is bad and salmon is no exception to that rule. Excess consumption of salmon can lead to a risk of cancer as it contains PCB, Polychlorinated biphenyls, that are carcinogenic in nature. Moms should make sure that they buy salmon from a trusted source and well-cooked without too much spice.
Lean meat such as beef, mutton, pork and chicken are great stream of high-quality protein. Beef and pork are rich in iron, choline and other B group vitamins that are needed during pregnancy.
Since blood volume increases at this time, expecting moms need more iron, which is an essential mineral used by red blood cells as a part of haemoglobin. Low levels or deficiency of iron may cause anaemia and doubles the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.
Eating red meat and foods that rich in Vitamin C such as lemon, oranges and other citrus fruits or bell peppers may help increase the amount of iron acquired from the diet.
Processed Junk Foods
Nothing beats the taste of junk foods. And it’s craving reaches sky-high during pregnancy. However, it is the time when moms should avoid undesirable and unhealthy foods. A good amount of nutrients is needed by the baby for its growth and unfortunately, junk foods do not help meet these nutritional needs. There is an increased risk of allergies and asthma.
Chances of genetic abnormalities can also get high by the consumption of junk food. French fries, bread, potato chips, etc., have a high content of starch turned into acrylamide which can lead to low birth weights in babies.
Moreover, moms can gain excess weight during pregnancy by eating junk foods that may lead to complications such as miscarriage, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Dry fruits are safe to consume during pregnancy as they are a storehouse of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fibre. Dry fruits contain crucial vitamins like B1-B9, C, K, E and H, plus they satiate hunger easily.
Calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants are also found in dry fruits. They help in preventing constipation, which occurs due to hormonal changes. Dried figs and dates contain iron which is integral to a healthy pregnancy.
Prunes are also known to strengthen the muscles of the uterus for a smooth delivery and it reduces chances of post-delivery bleeding.
Being well-hydrated during pregnancy is very important for pregnant moms as well as their growing fetus. Water carries oxygen and other essential nutrients to the baby. It is one of the main components required for the production of breast milk.
Water keeps moms away from preterm labor and contractions. It aids in digestion and staying well hydrated prevents problems such as morning sickness, heartburn and acidity.
What moms eat during pregnancy affects their energy as well as the baby’s well-being. It directly affects the health and growth of the fetus which makes it important for moms to avoid all harmful dishes and diets.
Since calorie and nutrient requirements are increased, it’s necessary for pregnant moms to opt for nutrient-dense, wholesome foods.
Putting on some pounds during pregnancy is okay, but it’s better to put weight in a healthy way. This benefits the baby, mom and her health during pregnancy and after birth . This list may be helpful and should be a healthy beginning towards a well-nourished pregnancy.