Happy Mothers day

Happy Mother’s Day: Dietary Care for Pregnant Mothers

If you are expecting, then you must eat for two!! This is a normal reaction from our elders. A well-balanced diet is important in any point of life but it even more important when you are pregnant. A requirement of nutrients has to meet your unborn babies meet as well as you.  But pregnancy is optimal when the mother is biologically mature. 

During pregnancy, a woman’s nutritional needs increase to support the growth and development of the foetus, as well as to maintain her own health. A balanced diet during pregnancy includes a variety of foods from all food groups, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. It’s important for pregnant women to eat a diverse range of nutrient-rich foods to ensure they meet their increased nutritional needs.

In this period BMR increases by about 5% during first and second trimester and about 12% during third trimester so total weight gain during pregnancy may range from 10-14kg. a pregnant woman needs more iron, folate and calcium and vitamin C. Apart from that others minerals as well as vitamin requirements should be more than normal requirement. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to low birth weight baby as well as deficiency abnormalities in infant. 

Food Amount 
Milk(skim), curd3-4 cups
Paneer, cheese, soya1-2 servings
Vegetables (dark green, yellow, red, orange, beans all others3-5 servings
Fresh seasonal fruits2-4 servings
Whole grain cereals(rice, poha, suji, wheat, plain oats, puffed rice)7 or more servings
Pulses 2-3 servings
Meat/fish2 servings
Eggs (omlette, boiled egg, scrambled egg,)2 servings
Water 10-12 glass

There are some complications during pregnancy like anaemia(deal with iron rich food/supplements), constipation(deal with natural laxative foods and fibre eg whole grains, dried fruits, vegetables), oedema is a normal caused by the enlarging uterus on the veins returning fluid from the legs, hypertension( deal with moderate sodium diet), pregnancy induces hypertension/eclampsia( deal with vitamin A and protein deficiency and antioxidant supplementation), gestational diabetes mellitus. 

There are general dietary problems like nausea due to nervous disturbances, placental protein intoxication or due to disturbance of carbohydrate metabolism, vomiting, heart burn due to decrease mobility of smooth muscles of gastro intestinal tract, leg cramps due to calcium phosphorus imbalance, morning sickness can be improved by small and frequent meals. 

Dietary guidelines:
  • Small and frequent feedings should be taken. Sitting upright after meals for at least 3 hours before lying down may help in heart burn.
  • Include as wide as variety as foods as possible. One food cant provide a perfect diet as every food contains a different range of nutrients and in different amounts.
  • Eat in moderation.
  • Fasting and skipping meal not be encouraged. 
  • Include good quality protein by including foods like milk, eggs, pulses, fish, lean chicken or soya.
  • Iron rich food should be taken. Haeme(liver, poultry) as well as non haeme (green leafy vegetables)iron rich foods.
  • Skim milk is better tolerated than whole milk.
  • Avoid too much coffee/tea/ green tea.
  • Fatty rich foods, fried foods, excessive seasoning, coffee in large amounts and strongly flavoured vegetables maybe restricted or eliminated if the nausea persists.
  • You should have a daily intake of 2-4 fruits, select one starchy(banana, chikoo) and one seasonal fruits.
  • Drink at least 10-12 glass of water daily.
  • Add on a regular basis restricted amounts of nuts like 6-7 almonds/ walnuts/ sesame seeds/peanut chikki/ flax seeds to get vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, thiamine, niacin.
  • Include one green leafy vegetables and a variety of other seasonal vegetables. 
  • Add a bowl of salads.
  • Diet should contain optimum amount of sodium. In case of oedema or hypertension sodium restricted.
  • Fluids should be taken between meals rather than along with the meals.
  • As far as possible avoid consumption of outside food and Chinese food items as it may contain ajionomoto.
  • Avoid fried, fatty foods and heavy meals. 
  • Eat smaller meals in frequent intervals.
  • Have an early dinner.
Nutrients and sources:
Nutrients Sources
ProteinPulses, milk, milk products, egg, fish, lean chicken
Vitamin AGreen leafy vegetables- spinach, fenugreek, amaranth, kolmi, cabbage, yellow fruits and vegetables- carrot, papaya, orange, mango
Vitamin EFlax seeds, mustard oil, walnut, soyabean, chia seeds
Folic AcidLeafy green vegetables, beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, citrus fruits, broccoli, beets
Iron Leafy green vegetables, sprouts, jaggery, eggs, spinach, lentils, beans, Methi
Zinc Nuts, seeds, whole grains, dairy products, eggs, whole grains
Calcium Leafy green vegetables, nuts, fish, eggs, ragi, milk and milk products

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