For a healthy pregnancy, the mother’s diet needs to be healthy and nutritious. A pregnant woman needs the right balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It should include a wide variety of foods from all food groups like fruits and vegetables, proteins, whole grains, dairy products however there are some nutrients which are required in increased amount like folic acid, protein, iron and calcium. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is very important to prevent birth defects in the baby called as neural tube defects. The doctors also recommend folic acid supplements along with it it is also advice to increase the intake of folic acid from the food. Some sources are -green leafy vegetables, beans and folic acid fortified cereals.
Then comes calcium which is important for the baby’s bones and teeth. If there is inadequate intake of calcium the mineral can be drawn from the mother’s stores to fulfill the extra demands of pregnancy. Some sources are – milk, yogurt, cheese, some green leafy vegetables. Iron is also very important to take in pregnancy. Additional intake of iron is required to make more blood to supply the baby with oxygen. Low intake of iron causes anemia.Some food sources are-meat, poultry, beans, peas and fish. Protein is also very important in pregnancy, the intake should be increased as it helps to build important organs and increase immunity. Some food sources are -meat, fish, milk, eggs, tofu, nuts, peas and pulses .
Food to limit -Empty calories foods should be limited like cakes, biscuits, chips, candy. They are less in nutrients and more in fat and sugar. They should be kept to a minimum. Some types of fish have a high level of mercury that should not be taken as this can be harmful to the baby. Some seafood and fish like swordfish, marlin etc.
Some healthy options -Choose healthy snacks in between meals like fresh fruits, homemade soups, salad vegetables and nuts.
Also, follow food hygiene practices while preparing food. Wash fruits and vegetables to remove all traces of soil. The diet in pregnancy should be healthy include whole grains, milk products, pulses and healthy fats.