Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy

For maintenance of health and strength during the period of pregnancy, a woman needs additional quantities of proteins, iron, calcium and vitamins of the B group. Thus her requirements exceed the normal requirements of the female body. She should take care to include cereals, pulses, leafy vegetables, milk and milk products, as well as seasonal fruits in her daily diet. The quantity of food should be appropriate for the kind of work she is required to do, those who have to do more physical work requiring proportionately greater quantities of energy giving foods.

Best Pregnancy DietThe pregnant woman should avoid highly spiced foods. She should drink plenty of water. Carrots, radishes, cucumbers, ripe tomatoes and such other sources of vitamins should figure prominently in her daily diet. She should divide her daily intake of food into moderate helpings taken at short intervals rather than stuffing up the stomach in two or three main meals. An increase of 12 to 12 kg in weight during the course of pregnancy is normal, but the increase in any one month should amount to no more than 1 or 1 ¼ kg. If she puts on weight at a faster rate than this, it may prove hazardous for both herself and her baby. In order to satisfy herself that the rate of gain in weight continues to remain within the desirable limits, she should get her weight checked every fortnight or so.
Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy
The food and nutrition board recommends that a pregnant woman should have 300 additional calories every day. The body has a constant need of calories, and if foods with sufficiently high calorific values are not taken, the body is forced to carry on its metabolic activities by consuming proteins. The real function of proteins is maintenance and development of the uterus and the breasts of the expectant mother, and, of course, for the development of the baby itself. The volume of blood in the body of the pregnant woman increases by a large percentage. The total additional requirements of proteins during the last six months of pregnancy amount to about one kilogram. Thus 50 to 60 grams of proteins must be supplied to the expectant mother every day during this period, through foods such as milk and milk products, peanuts, pulses, dry fruits, cheese, meat, fish, eggs, etc.

Healthy Pregnant Woman The requirements of vitamins and minerals increase during pregnancy. These should be supplied through the diet. Adequate quantities of vitamins are available in green leafy vegetables, sprouted pulses, fresh fruit, milk, meat, eggs, fish, etc. The diet therefore should be a judicious combination of such foods; this will additionally supply the requisite quantities of proteins and sufficient calories as well.

During healthy pregnancy there is a very great increase in the requirement of iron. Ordinarily the expectant mother should get 10 mg of iron over and above the normal supply, but if she has anemia, or if iron is being lost in large quantities through various processes, she may have to take tablets or capsules supplying as much as 200 mg of iron per day. Foods containing iron include fenugreek, mint, other leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, millets, grams, green grams, black grams, lentils, dried peas and other pulses, soybeans, dates, mangoes, livers of animals and eggs.

healthy food for pregnancyCalcium helps in the development of the baby in the womb. As calcium is an essential constituent of bones, calcium deficiency results in the bones of the baby remaining weak. Because calcium will have to be supplied to the baby from the mother’s stocks, her bones too will get weakened. The overall development of the baby also suffers. Adequate quantities of calcium are available in foods like milk products, soup, drumstick leaves, beet roots, figs, grapes, watermelons, etc.

Thus, a diet supplying 2100 calories per day is considered quite adequate for supplying the energy requirements of a woman. But a pregnant woman needs greater quantities of food, for the nutritional requirements of the developing baby in addition to those of her own body.

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