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Health, Pregnancy What to Eat during pregnancy, healthy food for pregnancy

What to Eat during pregnancy, healthy food for pregnancy

By Dr. Nisha Kumar   

Pregnancy is a crucial phase in any woman’s life, wherein you eat not for just yourself but also for your baby. The healthy and proper development of your baby depends upon your daily nutritional intake.

Many myths and notions revolve around pregnancy diet. Some believe that since you are eating for two, you should give in all your cravings and eat whatever you desire. This can give rise to consumption of junk food and Pica which irrevocably leads to obesity and other pregnancy-related complications. Obesity, in turn, can cause gestational diabetes, hypertension.

Moderation is the key, eat only the necessary and required food items which will benefit your health. Here we will provide you with a comprehensive pregnancy diet which will not only benefit you but also help your baby get the essential nutrients for steady development.

The food infographics will contain what to eat during different stages of your pregnancy and which food is healthy for the development of particular baby organs.

What to Eat during pregnancy, healthy food for pregnancy

What to Eat during pregnancy, healthy food for pregnancy

First trimester: Week 1 to 12

Statistics show that most women come to know about their pregnancy after roughly being three weeks pregnant. In some cases, the pregnancy awareness is as late as eight weeks.

If you are worried that what you ate or drank being unaware of your pregnancy has adverse effects on your baby, well don’t be. But care should be taken that you stop those habits immediately and follow a strict dietary protocol.

Start including the greens in your diet. Spinach, collard green, kale, turnip and broccoli, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are the rich sources of folic acid. Folic acid also helps the early spinal development of your baby. Also, include minimum 60 grams of protein every day in your diet. This protein is essential for the first stage development of the foetus.

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Magnesium supports the development of a nervous system. It also reduces the incidence of severe morning sickness. Whole grains, oatmeal, raisins, peanuts, almonds, cashew nuts, soybean, peanut butter, brown rice, banana are good sources of magnesium. Green vegetable juice, another rich source of magnesium, early in the morning could help ease morning sickness.

At around week six of pregnancy, the heart and the blood cell development of the foetus starts. At this stage for the growth of those red blood cells, you need to eat food reach in iron. The green leafy vegetables also provide iron, of the non-haem category. Meat contains the haem category of iron. Try and include meat and leafy vegetables in your diet as they will provide the require haem for the development of haemoglobin constituent of the red blood cells.

By the beginning of week 12, your baby’s brain is developing fast. For this, you need an adequate supplement of DHA. Salmon is a top food source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), include its small portions every day in your diet. Cod liver oil is also an excellent source of EHA and DHA. Eggs which are fortified with omega three fatty acids will give sufficient supply. Eggs form a rich source of choline, the protein which is critical for foetal brain development and prevents any chances of neural tube defects.


Second trimester: Weeks 13 To 28

We all know how vitamin A is essential for proper vision. Around week 15-16 the baby’s eye starts developing its functional components. Start food rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene. Include baby carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, sweet potato, squash, pumpkin and other orange foods into your diet.

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Week 15 is also the time when the bone development starts in the foetus which is the perfect time to boost your calcium and vitamin D intake. Milk, yoghurt and hard cheeses, tofu and mushrooms will give you an adequate supply of calcium. Soak in some early sunlight to get a healthy dose of vitamin D.

The cells are rapidly multiplying at this stage, and your nutrition intake should go up. Add zinc rich food such as nuts, beef, pork, oatmeal and beans in your diet. Zinc is an essential mineral nutrient for the proper production and repair of new cells.

Third trimester: Weeks 29 To 40

At this stage, your baby’s lung is in the developmental stage. To get that healthy lung capacity increase the selenium content in your diet.  Brazil nuts, lean meat, poultry, legumes and seeds are a rich source of selenium.

Vitamin C average intake should go up at this stage. Vitamin C is essential for providing adequate collagen to skin, ligaments and tendons.  Include citrus fruits like clementines, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries and black currants in your diet.

Your pregnancy term is almost complete by now. Post pregnancy the baby gets the essential nutrients from mothers milk. So continue eating healthy postpartum.


Daily nutritional requirements for a pregnant female,

Folate or folic acid: 400 to 800 micrograms.

Calcium: 1,000 milligrams.

Proteins: 71 grams.

Iron: 27 milligrams.

Vitamin B12: 2.6 micrograms.

Iodine: 220 micrograms.

Vitamin C: 40 milligrams.

Zinc: 10 milligrams.

Vitamin K: 60 micrograms.

Selenium: 65 micrograms.

Magnesium: 350 milligrams.

Key points to remember,

Have small and frequent meals. Meet the daily of 300 calories requirements. Summarizing the above points include the following food items in your diet.

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First trimester: Spinach, collard green, kale, turnip and broccoli, asparagus, Whole grains, oatmeal, raisins, peanuts, almonds, cashew nuts, soybean, peanut butter, brown rice, banana, Brussels sprouts.

Second trimester: Milk, yoghurt, hard cheeses, tofu, mushroom, nuts, beef, pork, oatmeal, beans, baby carrots, sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, oranges, cantaloupe, mangoes

Third trimester: Clementines, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, black currants, Brazil nuts, lean meat, poultry, legumes, chia seeds.

Prenatal vitamins are quintessential during pregnancy. You should consume milk almost every day throughout your pregnancy. To mix things up, substitute milk with yoghurt for getting your daily dose of calcium.

Poor nutrition during pregnancy can lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, or stillbirth. To avoid any complications arising during pregnancy, meet the adequate necessity of macronutrients and micronutrients along with required proteins, carbohydrate and fats.

Consult your gynaecologist to understand your nutritional requirements. Create a diet chart with the guidance of your dietician and follow it devotionally throughout your pregnancy. Manage stress levels and exercise regularly to have a healthy and safe pregnancy.





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