Pregnancy Diet Plans – What and Why?

First time pregnancy is a phase when most of the women need maximum care and enough guidance, as the whole thing is new around them. Lack of awareness and guidance can lead them towards unhealthy diet plans and schedules; a common thinking for going to be Mom’s is to eat plenty of health food as it is good for the sake of their baby’s growth. This is somewhat not right!!!!? So for a healthy pregnancy, now is the time to change the approach towards their diet and healthy eating habits during pregnancy, hereby the best approach is to eat balanced meals in smaller portions, eat little but eat often, due to this practice your stomach is never empty and your blood sugar levels don’t drop too low.

Here in this article, I am going to share about some food rules during pregnancy, what does your body need and why does it need? Go through these lists, discuss with your gynecologist before following as I believe in one thing, each human body is different and everyone has his/her own body adaption.

Carbohydrates

pregnancy-carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of the most vital nutrients for you and your growing baby because once they are broken down in to glucose they pass easily through your placenta. Pick your carbohydrate sources sensibly to protect you and your baby from health problems now and later in life.

Try to get six servings a day, a serving being equivalent to a slice of bread, 2 oz (60 g) of cereal. Include fruits and vegetables in your meal, it gives energy during pregnancy. You can have a portion of one potato, 50g of pasta or a chapatti during every meal including your healthy breakfast.

Folic Acid

folicacid

Folic acid is also known as vitamin B9, and is very-very important for the growth of a healthy foetus, as it can considerably decrease the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), such as spina bifida (Spina bifida is a fault in the development of the spine and spinal cord which leaves a gap in the spine).

Women should take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid if they are trying to conceive, and should continue taking this dose for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the baby’s spine is developing. It is harmless to take folic acid supplements even after 12 weeks.

However, it is essential in your meal as it gives boost even before conception, but do continue eating folic acid rich foods, like oranges, broccoli and asparagus throughout your meal even after and during pregnancy. If you didn’t take folic acid supplements before conceiving, you should start taking them as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.

To get maximum Benefits of Vitamin B9, pick the nutritional sources of folic acid, that consist of green leafy vegetables, breakfast cereals, brown rice, and granary bread; all these are enriched with folic acid. It is quite tough to get adequate amount of folic acid just from food; the one and only way to be guaranteed that you are getting the right amount of folic acid is by taking supplements.

Liver is highly enriched in folic acid, but it is not safe while you are pregnant, or trying to conceive because liver is also rich in vitamin A, and too much consumption can cause birth defects in your baby.

Calcium

calcium-food

Calcium helps to develop your baby’s bones and teeth. Dairy products and fish with edible bones are rich in calcium. Yoghurt, bread, breakfast cereals, dried fruit such as figs and apricot, handful of almonds, tofu (a vegetable protein made from soya beans) and green leafy vegetables – such as watercress, broccoli are also some other good sources of calcium.

While pregnancy, your growing baby needs calcium which helps to develop strong bones and teeth; to develop a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles; and to improve a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. However, if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your baby will draw it from your bones, which may damage your own health later on. Women over 18 years, need 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day before, during, and after pregnancy. A healthy diet during pregnancy is a must. Consult your Gynec about your calcium intake either in the form of food or calcium supplements.

Vitamin D Supplement

vitamin-d-supplements

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. It is needed for bones and teeth development in your baby. All pregnant women should take a daily supplement with 10mcg of vitamin D, it should be needed after pregnancy also while you breastfeed your baby. Intake of vitamin D is a must during pregnancy as it provides your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life.

Children born with deficiency of vitamin D can cause their bones to soften and can lead to rickets (a disease that affects bone development in children).

Vitamin D can be found naturally in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat. One of the best sources of vitamin D is summer sunlight on your skin. The amount of time you need in the sun to make enough vitamin D is different for every person, and depends on things such as skin type, the time of day and the time of year. However, you don’t need to sunbathe. Vitamins and right nutrition are a must and you should develop a right approach towards your diet plans during pregnancy

Protein

high_protein_food

The amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of your body’s cells and of your baby’s body too. It helps to build your baby’s cell and tissues. It is vital to get sufficient amount of protein all through your pregnancy, but especially during the second and third trimesters, it’s the time when your baby’s growth is fast. A pregnant woman needs about 70 grams of protein per day. You don’t have to get the recommended amount of protein every day. Instead, aim for that amount as an average over the course of a few days or a week.

Eggs, cheese, cereals, pulses, beans are a great source of protein, some others sources of proteins are poultry, fish and shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, tofu, and yogurt. Animal products contain complete proteins (all nine amino acid components). Aim for two to three servings of protein daily.

Iron

iron

Iron is very important for everyone, and even before pregnancy your body needs iron. It is crucial for making hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells. It also helps to keep a healthy immune system.

However, many women enter pregnancy, low in iron. During pregnancy your body needs a lot more of it. The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy until you have almost 50 percent more blood than usual, so you need to increase the intake of iron to make more hemoglobin. It’s quite obvious the need of iron is not limited to you only, this time, your necessity of intake of extra iron is essential for the growth of baby and placenta, especially in the second and third trimesters.

Many women need more iron intake because their pregnancy starts with iron-deficiency. Iron-deficiency puts you at risk for anemia during pregnancy, or low iron levels. Anemia during pregnancy is associated with preterm delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality.

A Pregnant woman needs 27 milligrams (mg) of iron per day. It doesn’t mean to go for the recommended amount of iron every day. Instead, concentrate on your iron intake and target for that amount as an average over the course of a few days or a week. Eat leafy green vegetables, lean meat, dried fruit, nuts and snack on fortified breakfast cereals.If you’d like to eat peanuts or foods that contain peanuts (such as peanut butter) during pregnancy, you can do so as part of a healthy balanced diet unless you’re allergic to them or your health professional advises you not to. Many breakfast cereals have iron added. If the iron level in your blood becomes low, your GP or midwife will advise you to take iron supplements.

Dietary Fats

Low-fat-foods

Fats are an important part of a healthy diet, but some fats are good for our health. Your aim, whether you are pregnant or not, should be to make sure that you are taking adequate amount of ‘good’ fats while dropping the ‘bad’ fats in your diet.

Some fats and the fatty acids are important during pregnancy because they support your baby’s brain, spine and eye development. Fats also help the placenta and other tissues to develop. Studies also show that some fats may help prevent preterm birth and child’s low birth weight. You can find them in oily fish, seeds, nuts, and avocado, and you should aim to eat them three times a week.

There are four types of fat found in food: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and hydrogenated. A fat is made up of a combination of fatty acids, so fats don’t typically fall into just one of these categories.

Monounsaturated fats are found in olive, canola, and peanut oils, as well as in olives, avocado, and in nuts. These are considered as good fats because they are best at lowering cholesterol.

Polyunsaturated fats are advantageous too; they contain the omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s are found in some cold water fish, flax seed oil, and canola oil, and omega-6s are found in sunflower, cottonseed, corn, and soybean oils.

Saturated fats fall into the ‘bad’ category, eat as little as possible. Saturated fats are found in high-fat meats, whole milk, tropical oils such as palm kernel and coconut, butter, and lard.

Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats also known as trans-fats, these should be avoided. These fats are found in fried foods, in some kinds of margarine, also in some packaged foods like cookies, biscuits and chips. A diet rich in saturated fat or trans fat can increase your cholesterol level and it could be a risk for heart disease.

Studies show that saturated and hydrogenated fats are linked to other health problems, too, such as cancer and diabetes. There’s even some evidence, that connects trans fats to lower birth weights and a higher risk of having a small for gestational age (SGA) baby.

Water

fruit-juice

Water plays a key role in performing variety of body functions. It helps nutrients reach your cells, aids in digestion, removes toxins from your body, and even regulates your body temperature. Water is not only necessary but vital.

Drinking a plenty of water is very important during pregnancy. To stay hydrated, stick to water and a limited amount of fruit juice. The high sugar content in fruit juice can destabilize your blood sugar.From your increased blood supply to the baby’s amniotic fluid, water is essential to you and your baby.During pregnancy you should drink 8 to 12 ounce glasses of water a day.

 

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