It is true that when you are pregnant, you eat for two. But that doesn’t mean literally. It means that whatever you eat will be shared with the baby growing inside you. It is necessary to watch what you consume and take a balanced diet. Every nutrient has a role to play in the baby growth week by week as well as the mother’s health.
We are mapping down what a pregnant woman should consume and what she should avoid.
Disclaimer – There are no hard and fast rules for such a diet. Some diets may be modified according to doctor’s recommendation, religious obligation or ethical ideas. If you are allergic to any of the food items mentioned below, avoid them.
Food to Eat during Pregnancy Journey
When a woman is pregnant, the blood in the body increases by 50%. The blood contains haemoglobin, which carries oxygen. As iron is responsible for making the major parts in haemoglobin, its requirement increases during these nine months.
Iron can be easily found in green leafy vegetables, lean meat, egg yolk, brown rice, oats, wheat, legumes and dry fruits.
Lack of iron may hamper the baby growth week by week and cause major problems like depression, stress, low baby weight, preterm baby and stillborn babies.
Zinc is credited for the growth and development of the fetus, as well as improving biological functions like protein synthesis. Zinc is easily available in meat, fish, egg and dairy products. Rice, pasta, ginger, onions, dals, tofu, peanut butter are some easily available vegan options.
A healthy intake of calcium is necessary for pregnant women. Cheese, milk, provide sufficient amounts and are a must in one’s diet.
Some vegan options include tofu, soybeans, calcium-fortified soymilk, broccoli, okra and beans.
When it comes to proteins, animal-sourced protein is the most beneficial. A woman who is carrying should include well-cooked eggs, lean meat, fish and chicken in their diet.
Some vegan options also include quinoa, tofu, soybean, nuts, dals and beans.
Risk of developing constipation is higher during the pregnancy journey. Pregnant women should include wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta, dals and vegetables rich in fibre.
Fibres also help reduce chances of haemorrhoids in pregnant women.
Food to Avoid during Pregnancy Journey
Consumption of alcohol is an absolute no during pregnancy. The alcohol crosses the barrier and affects the liver of the fetus adversely. Consumption of alcohol can also lead to disorders like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can cause learning disabilities, heart defects, hyperactivity and bone and joint deformities. These defects are irreversible and dangerous.
The intake of food beverages and items with caffeine should reduce during pregnancy. Caffeine can cause anxiety, stress, loss of sleep in pregnant women. Caffeine can also lead to low birth weight of the baby, and in some unfortunate cases, miscarriage. Items like sodas, energy drinks, soft drinks and tea also contain caffeine and should be avoided.
Food with high mercury content
Consumption of fishes like shark, swordfish or marlin may increase the mercury content in the body. Mercury is poisonous and may cause adverse effects on the nervous system, eventually causing neurological defects in the fetus.
Raw or Partially cooked meat
Uncooked or partially cooked food may contain pathogens which may cause bacterial infections and food poisoning. Special attention is necessary for this one.
Salmonella infections are quite common from raw eggs. The chances of having other infections also increase when consuming raw items.
Apart from the items mentioned above, there are other dietary rules and regulations, often advised by the gynaecologist, that one needs to keep in mind during their pregnancy journey. In the end, it is always better to stay cautious and healthy during this life-changing moment.