Hear our mother-child nutritionist, Dr.Deeksha Sharma, share tips for planning a healthy pregnancy.
'To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched - along with body - making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.' ~Anne C. Buchanan and Debra K. Kingsporn
During pregnancy, a new life comes into existence inside mother's body.Therefore,the health of this offspring is directly dependent on the diet, body composition and lifestyle of her mother. Besides, influencing body structure and physiology, nutrition during pregnancy determines metabolism of this offspring, and this has life-long term effects on the health, morbidity and mortality risks.
In recent times, obesity and the related diseases i.e. diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases have started appearing earlier in life. The reason can be found in maternal nutritional status, which affects foetus in two ways:Under nutrition causes metabolic changes in foetus that permanently alter glucose and insulin metabolism, and increase risk of chronic nutritional disorders i.e. diabetes and obesity. Over-nutrition, maternal 'junk-food diet' (i.e. rich in fat, sugar and salt) makes offspring susceptible for adiposity, raised glucose and cholesterol levels.
Besides ensuring life-long health of the offspring, a healthy diet and lifestyle during pregnancy improve mother's chances of easy delivery and early return to pre-pregnancy weight.
During pregnancy, a healthy balanced diet helps mother in maintaining optimal nutritional status while fulfilling extra nutritional requirements of the developing foetus without depleting her body stores.
In the first trimester, nutritional requirements don't increase much, so a pregnant woman needs to maintain healthy weight (as per her height) by taking adequate calories.
In the second and third trimesters, pregnant woman need 300 extra calories per day to ensure 8-10 Kg weight gain with Iron and folic acid supplementation.
Consume 8 to 10 glasses of water per day to ease constipation, remove toxins and reduce risk of urinary tract infection and pre-term labor.
Ensure adequate intake of protein, calcium, iron and folic acid for healthy pregnancy outcomes:
- Whole grains and grams are excellent sources of fiber, phyto and micro nutrients, which improve satiety and prevent common ailments during pregnancy.
- Low-fat dairy products, nuts, pulses, fish, and mustard and olive oil are excellent source of protein and provide essential fats
- Eating 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables provide essential minerals like iron, zinc, calcium; vitamins; phytonutrients and fiber.
To avoid excess weight gain and obesity, pregnant women should refrain from overeating and use of saturated and transfats (butter/ghee/cholesterol rich foods). Limiting use of refined, processed and animal foods is also important to maintain overall health.
Physically active pregnant women have short labour, easy delivery and speedy recovery after child's birth. Besides preventing complications like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes in pregnant woman, a moderate exercise for 30 minutes every day improves overall health by reducing back pain and improving sleep. As a bonus, exercise during pregnancy positively impacts overall mental and physical development of babies too.#pregnancymustknow