Pregnancy diet: Focusing on the do’s and don’ts for maternal health

By Dr. Sheetal Deshpande

Besides a flood of overwhelming emotions, pregnancy brings a lot of challenges for the mother during and after childbearing. While tender breasts, nausea, and fatigue are some of the issues an expecting mother faces, a set of dietary restrictions is required to accommodate the new life inside them. In the postpartum period, a new set of food items are suggested to fasten the pregnancy labor recovery and breastfeeding. C-section and normal delivery follow different routines as the former takes more time to recover from the surgery.

A woman’s diet during and after pregnancy plays a vital role in her and the baby’s overall well-being. Proper nutrition through seasonal fruits and vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, nuts and seeds is a must along with good mental health. It goes hand in hand. Let us understand some pivotal nutrition tips a pregnant mother must consider:

Foods that come with essential vitamins

Carrots, pumpkin, leafy veggies, sweet potato and a green palate (leafy vegetables) would suffice your routine vitamin intake. Vitamin A and potassium should be a part of daily meals. Bananas, Oranges, and Mangoes can help to fill the Vitamin C void and dairy products like buttermilk, yoghurt, and milk are great sources of Vitamin D. However, in terms of milk consumption only pasteurised milk should be preferred as the one that’s raw and yoghurt at times might contain harmful pathogens. Protein intake is another important requirement during pregnancy. Beans, lentils and other items suggested by the expert are perfect.

Prenatal vitamin supplements

Supplements with multivitamins and components like zinc are best for a prenatal vitamin source, especially those combined with folic acid. Supplements ensure that the mother meets the intake of essential minerals and vitamins. But this does not mean you are not supposed to take vitamins. Ayurveda suggests that rice, milk, wheat, amla, mango, grapes, raisins, butter and ghee are healthy during all trimesters of pregnancy.

Increased calorie intake

From getting in touch with a dietician to consuming nutritious meals, pregnant women adopting a healthy routine is a must. For proper sustenance of mom and the baby, there has to be an additional 350 calorie intake on a daily basis. A balanced diet of organic food items, with moderate sugary or fatty foods, should be consumed considering the height, weight and age. Also, if there are any underlying conditions, let your dietician or healthcare provider know so the diet can be recommended accordingly.

Fluids, fluids and fluids!

Water is not all that’s sufficient in pregnancy. You need to consume fluids from other sources to complete the quota. Approximately 2.3 litre (or 10 cups) of fluids are enough every day for proper blood production in those months. Caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee are to be limited and if possible can be completely eradicated from the diet. They lead to dehydration, increased blood pressure and contract blood vessels in the placenta as well as the uterus.

What to avoid?

While caffeine and unpasteurised milk should be on your don’ts at the top, be very careful about your intake of meat and eggs, they must be cooked at a high temperature. Fishes with high methylmercury levels like the king mackerel and swordfish among others not be consumed at all. To keep uterus contractions at bay, consume tropical fruits and vegetables like brinjal, pineapple, and papaya at moderate levels.

Don’t forget- Yoga and Meditation can keep you calm and composed!

Incorporating meditation, yoga, and a balanced diet is crucial for the well-being of expectant mothers. Meditation helps reduce stress and promotes relaxation, enhancing emotional stability. Yoga exercises improve flexibility, strength, and posture while relieving common pregnancy discomforts. A nutritious diet ensures proper nourishment for both the mother and the developing baby, supporting optimal growth and development. Together, these practices create a holistic approach to promoting a healthy pregnancy and preparing the mother for childbirth. It is always advisable to get in touch with your healthcare provider or dietician to get proper advice on food items that are strictly prohibited during and post-pregnancy.

(The author is the Director & Co-Founder, Activist. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the

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