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Nutritional Facts during the Nine Months of Pregnancy

As soon as the news is out that you are pregnant, everyone around you starts saying “I hope you are eating for TWO”. I want to change this notion as I would want you to eat for yourself. Yes, there is an increase in both the caloric and nutritional requirements during your pregnancy. But not enough for you to eat through two plates. So choose wisely what to have more of, what to stay off and what to have within limits.

Pregnancy, labour, delivery and breastfeeding are like no other events in a woman’s life and it’s critical to have the right nutrition and exercise during this period to see you comfortably through those phases. Everyone, including health freaks, will have to change their diet plans to keep up with this phase of life so if you need to change your diet plan, it’s not a judgement on you. In my case, my personal diet log told me I was 30% deficient in micronutrients as I was eating few if any fruits or salads in a day. The key is to include all food groups at the right time and in appropriate quantities.

There is research that says that one can have smarter babies and less cranky mothers just by eating right.

Some general tips:

Consuming right amounts of healthy fats ensures the development of the baby’s brain and a good IQ.

Eating choline – commonly present in eggs — can help fight morning sickness and nausea and helps you feel less anxious about your pregnancy.

A diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains will help you see your pregnancy through a healthy full term in comparison to those who opt for sugars, fried and refined carbs and in the process invite health issues that could impact their pregnancy.

Did you know a good amount of Vitamin D could mean less pain during natural childbirth? Yes, it’s true. Vitamin D is essential for not only this but for healthier bones too.

Asafoetida or Hing, commonly found in Indian kitchens, has anti-bacterial properties and aids in digestion. If taken in small amounts on a daily basis, it helps fight nausea, bloating, fatigue and drowsiness, all of which are early symptoms of pregnancy. You can toss it in the tadka (tempering) for your daal if it’s not part of the recipe already. It not only adds a new flavour but also increases the absorption of nutrients by your digestive system from all the food.

First trimester’s diet: In the first trimester you don’t really need to ramp up your diet. It’s more of a lifestyle change that you need to develop to cope with the symptoms of pregnancy. That said, it’s important to include the nutrients listed below (apart from all your usual nutrients) to comfortably sail through these 12 weeks.

Folate– A B-vitamin, it plays a crucial role in helping the baby build immunity to neural tube and birth disorders. It’s in ample quantity in lentils, beet leaves, okra etc.

Iron- Your body needs extra iron to ensure adequate oxygen to your baby. It can be easily found in spinach, kale, mustard leaves, beetroot etc.

Second Trimester’s diet: This is when you need to pep up your diet with extra calories.

Along with other first trimester nutrients, you should include:

Calcium also called the Bone builder. As the name suggests its essential for bones, muscles, nerves and teeth. Good sources are dairy and curd makes the best source for the same. Cottage cheese, buttermilk and cheese are other healthy options for dairy. It’s also found in fortified cereals and collard greens.

Vitamin D works hand-in-hand with calcium to help develop the baby’s bones and teeth. It’s a key ingredient for healthy skin and eyesight. We all know sunlight makes for the best source of vitamin D, but nevertheless, it can be obtained through yummy snacks and meals SUCH AS Tuna with sweet potato chips and spring greens, chargrilled chicken with macadamia pesto, Egg salad. Other sources are fortified dairy and cereals.

Third-trimester diet: Now is a good time to include in your diet A herb to soothe your nerves. Can turmeric be had in both tender meanings – kachi haldi? and powdered form. A pinch of it does the trick. It enhances immunity and helps you fight anxiety and eye strain.

Now is also when you need foods that are high in energy SUCH AS to power you through as you approach your D- day.

Dr. Apurva Gupta

Consultant - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Panchsheel Park