Pregnancy is a wonderful yet daunting journey. Not only do women have to watch out for their health, bear the pain and discomfort, cater to the wellbeing of the baby, they also have to be extremely cautious about their dietary choices.
There are some foods that pregnant women should be eating that are going to drastically affect the baby’s health. They need to have a balance of everything or else the pregnancy could be harmed. The last thing a pregnant woman wants is something to harm the baby, so the best thing to do is to make sure the woman is eating the right things for her growing body. The following list of foods that pregnant woman should be eating is full of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrition for the baby to grow healthy and strong.
The first thing on the list of foods that a pregnant woman should be eating is protein. Protein is extremely important for your growing baby, so the last thing a woman wants to have happen is to not eat enough during pregnancy. Protein helps build and repair the muscles in the mother’s body. It also helps maintain the heart’s health, which may also benefit the baby’s. So, make sure to get plenty of protein rich foods throughout your pregnancy. Soy products are a good source of protein that can be found in soy milk and tofu.
Fatty foods should be avoided as well, but this list is going to focus on the healthy fats. If you want to eat more foods that are high in fat, simply eat more fish, nuts, and oils instead. These are all great alternatives to unhealthy food. When pregnant, remember to eat healthy so that your baby’s development is as perfect as possible.
Unlike other people, pregnant women cannot follow their whims and cravings; they have to think about the safety of their baby and also have to consider the nutrient supply for the development of the baby.
Whereas some food items are more commonly known to be off limits during pregnancy, like caffeine, alcohol etc., there is still need for comprehensive talk about maternal nutrition. Pregnant women should not hessite to seek guidance from their Gynecologist in Lahore, considering the gravity of the situation.
To facilitate pregnant women in making the correct dietary choices, we have rounded up 7 foods that must be a part of their diet.
1 Dairy Products
Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt are extremely necessary for pregnant women. They are rich in calcium, which is needed to build baby’s bones and teeth. Insufficient amount of calcium has implications for the health of the baby’s body.
Moreover, if the mother is not consuming sufficient calcium, body is uses mother’s reserves to address the needs of the baby. This can make mother severely deficient as well, resulting in aches and disease like osteoporosis.
Therefore, be sure to consume calcium daily. Vegan mother’s should invest in alternatives including plant based milks like soymilk, almond milk and vegetables like kale, beans, soybeans.
In order to facilitate calcium absorption, make sure that you also have sufficient vitamin D in your diet as well.
Meat is rich in iron, which is the principal mineral that facilitates blood circulation. Hemoglobin in blood carries oxygen around the body and is made mainly from iron. During pregnancy, the volume of blood needs to be increased, but for that to happen, body needs sufficient iron supply.
When there is a dearth of iron in the body, women are in the danger of becoming anemic. It then results in problems for the mother and the baby, both. When anemia occurs late in pregnancy, it can also lead to excessive blood loss during labor.
Anemic pregnant women have fatigue, irritable disposition and are more likely to suffer from depression. Moreover, iron deficiency can result in preterm labor, still birth, increased risk of infant mortality and low birth weight.
So, be sure to add lean meat to the diet. Meat also serves as a vital source of protein, which is our basic building block. As the organs and muscles of the baby are being formed, the demand for protein is also higher during pregnancy.
Legumes are rich in macro and micronutrients. They contain fiber, protein, iron, folate and calcium, all nutrients that are needed especially required by pregnant women. Fiber helps prevent constipation, that can plague many pregnant women.
Folate, also referred to as folic acid, plays a pivotal role in the baby’s development. It is used for the development of the neural tube in the baby. Folic acid deficiency results in the debilitating condition known as spina bifida.
Examples of legumes include lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, peanuts etc.
4 Whole grain
Processed flour is devoid of useful fiber and nutrients. On the other hand, whole grain is packed with natural fiber and nutrients like B-group vitamins, magnesium etc. Whole grains also provide with the basic fuel needed by the body, glucose.
Therefore, opt for whole grain pasta, bread and brown rice etc.
A great snack indeed are nuts. They are packed with vital micronutrients like zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, protein, fiber, folate, healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, amongst others. These nutrients are not only necessary for the baby, but also are required for the health of the mother as well.
Even though all nuts are healthy, walnuts and peanuts are especially good during pregnancy.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein. They also contain essential vitamins, alongside healthy fats. Moreover, eggs also have very few calories, so women who have to watch their weight during pregnancy do not compromise on their nutrient intake.
The salient feature perhaps of eggs is that they have choline, a crucial nutrient required for development of the brain. It also helps prevent developmental abnormalities of spine and brain.
7 Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are packed with nutrients. They contain iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, fiber, and folate. The sheer amount of nutrient content is a testament to how beneficial green leafy vegetables are. Examples include kale, spinach, broccoli etc.
What not to eat?
Just as it is important to eat nutritious meals during pregnancy, it is also pertinent to not eat some food items. Due to the risk of salmonella, women should not eat uncooked foods like unpasteurized cheese, mayonnaise, deli meat or any other partially cooked meat.
Similarly, soft cheese, fish with mercury in it like swordfish and pate should be diligently avoided by pregnant women. They ideally should also refrain from foods that are rich in calories and have little nutrition like cakes and cookies. Women should confer with the Best Gynecologist in Karachi about their dietary choices in order to prevent any harm to their baby, or body.