Bump chronicles: Nourishing pregnancy

The news of pregnancy is invariably met with a mix of anticipation, joy, and a hint of apprehension. Amidst the excitement, expectant mothers prioritize nutrition as an important factor. When we grow a plant, it needs proper soil, sunlight, and water. Similarly,  nurturing a growing fetus demands a balanced and nourishing diet. Pregnancy focuses on the significance of healthy dietary choices, not only for the mother's well-being but also for the optimal growth and development of the child. To pave the way for a smooth and vibrant journey to motherhood there are some key healthy lifestyle components that should be followed:

  • Appropriate weight gain

  • A Balanced diet

  • Regular physical activity

To maintain a healthy pregnancy, approximately 300 extra calories are needed each day. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A healthy, well-balanced diet can also help to reduce some pregnancy symptoms like nausea and constipation.  

Foods to eat:

The foods are beneficial to your health and fetal development during pregnancy are:

  • Fruits and vegetables, green leafy vegetables for fiber, vit A, iron, folic acid, zinc contents.

  • Milk and milk products such as milk, curd, buttermilk, paneer for its protein, calcium, B12, potassium contents.

  • Grains like cereals, millets, their flours mainly for iron, B vitamins.

  • Proteins like dals, pulses, nuts and oilseeds, fish, chicken, egg

  • Apart from drinking a few glasses of water (8-10 glasses/d), consume other liquids like buttermilk, fresh fruit juices, milkshakes/ smoothies, and tender coconut water. 

Foods to Avoid:

  • Unpasteurised milk or milk products

  • Processed foods, bakery products, fried foods

  • Alcohol or caffeinated beverages

  • Raw and undercooked seafood as in sushi, raw vegetables, raw or half cooked eggs etc.

 

Importance of Folic acid 

 

Folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects, which are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects can lead to varying degrees of paralysis and sometimes intellectual disability.

Folic acid is the most helpful during the first 28 days after conception, the period when most neural tube defects occur. Unfortunately, you may not realize that you are pregnant before your first missed period. Therefore, folic acid should be taken even before conception and continued throughout your pregnancy. Apart from supplements, foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and lentils, peas, and beans are good sources of naturally occurring folate.
 

Ultimately, each pregnancy is unique. Embrace this journey with support, knowledge, and self-care.Talk to a dietician to understand specific individual needs. As we celebrate the miracle of life, let us also acknowledge the strength, resilience, and beauty inherent in the journey of pregnancy. 

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