Pregnancy is a demanding physiological state. Additional foods are required during this phase to improve weight gain. An expecting mother gains about 10-12 Kg along with the birth weight of infants about 3 Kg.
A pregnant woman is always advised to consume a balanced diet, which includes a wide variety of foods to make sure that her own nutritional needs as well as of her growing foetus are met adequately. The frequency and quantity of usage of the different foods should be increased during this time. Pregnant woman can derive maximum amount of energy, about 60% from wheat, rice and millets.
The right pregnancy diet:
Cooking oil is a concentrated source of both polyunsaturated fatty acids and energy. Excellent quality protein is derived from milk and milk products, fish, meat, poultry and eggs. A proper combination of nuts, pulses and cereals will also provide adequate proteins. Vitamin and Mineral requirements are fulfilled by consuming a variety of seasonal vegetables mainly green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and milk. Bioavailability of iron can be improved by using sprouted grams and foods rich in Vitamin C e.g. citrus fruits.
For calcium; milk is the best source of biologically available calcium. Even though it’s possible to meet the requirements for most of the nutrients through a balanced diet, pregnant women are still advised to take daily supplements of calcium, iron, folic acid and Vitamin B.
Plenty of fluids including 8-12 glasses of water per day should be taken. Excess intake of beverages containing caffeine like tea and coffee adversely affect fetal growth and hence, should be avoided as much as possible.
Regular checkups – A must !
In addition to fulfilling these dietary requisites, pregnant woman should also undergo regular health checkups for weight gain, blood pressure, anaemia. She requires enough physical exercise with adequate rest. Pregnant women should not take any drugs without medical advice, as they could be harmful to the fetus. Tobacco chewing, smoking and consumption of alcohol should be avoided. Wrong food myths, beliefs and taboos should be discouraged.
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