The nourishment to the baby happens with the food that the mother eats during the pregnancy period and is pivotal for the healthy growth of the new born.
Of the many nutrients, a carrying woman needs, 4 are really important, viz – calcium, folic acid, iron, and protein.
Calcium – Calcium used for developing baby’s bone, if not provided in enough quantities through food, they will be drawn from the mother’s body itself making the bones brittle and weak. A pregnant woman needs nearly 1000 milligrams of calcium every day. The major food sources are – milk, fish, and leafy greens. Vitamin D is also required in adequate quantities to facilitate the absorption of Calcium into the body.
Iron – Iron is required to make more blood that will carry oxygen to the baby. 27 milligram of iron, nearly double the usual quantity is needed for a pregnant woman. Vitamin C is also required to facilitate the adequate absorption of iron to the body. Dried beans, peas, spinach, cabbage etc are rich in iron
Protein – Did you know every organ in our body is essentially a muscle? Protein is important to build and maintain muscles and is very important for the development of organs of the baby. Meat, Paneer, Soy, Milk, Fish, Lentils etc are rich in protein
Folic Acid – Also known as folate, this is essentially a B – Vitamin very important to build the brain, nervous system and spine of the baby. Seen largely in leafy vegetables and citrus fruits such as orange and lemon, folate requirement is nearly 400 – 600 micrograms per day. Since it is very tough to obtain the adequate levels of folate through food alone, gynecologists often prescribe a folic acid supplementation during pregnancy,.
Apart from these, fruits and vegetables that are rich in various vitamins, minerals and fiber are also recommended to be included in ample quantities. Nuts such as cashew almonds, walnuts etc are a rich source of healthy fat & omega 3 fatty acids and other minerals. Drink atleast 3 liters of water in a day
Food to limit – Limit intake of caffeine, food that contains mercury (tuna fish, shark, swordfish etc). It’s a no brainer that one should avoid alcohol!
The often heard “eat for two” is wrong information; pregnant mothers should consume nearly 300 – 400 calories more than their usual food intake