A Complete Guide to Nutrition During Pregnancy

Self Care December 30, 2020 • 3 mins read

The moment a woman decides to get pregnant, she agrees to go through one of the most physically and emotionally transitioning, yet fulfilling times in her life. As her body goes through hormonal changes, several alterations happen with the body too, which demands extra attention. The most common of these is now a punch-line of jokes: food cravings. However, cravings do not always translate to a healthy, nutritious diet, which is the key to a healthy pregnancy.

Luckily, recommended nutrition-packed pregnancy diet along with supplements prescribed by the doctor fulfils this role by giving her and her baby the necessary nourishment.

A pregnancy diet is an amped-up version of any other healthy diet. 

What Nutrients Should You Take

If you are on the family way, during pregnancy, you need to increase your intake of micronutrients and macronutrients. Healthy nutrients such as protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy types of fat like omega-3s, and vitamins and minerals are a must. Your goal needs to be increasing your nutrient intake as much as possible. You can start by improving the intake of the following nutrients through a healthy and balanced diet.

Protein

Depending on your weight and how far along the pregnancy is, you need 70-100g of protein per day. Protein helps the growth of the baby's tissues and organs, while simultaneously improving circulation. This helps your baby to get more blood. It also helps with breast and uterine tissue growth, giving the baby a safe environment to grow in. Some excellent (and delicious) sources of protein are: 

  • Beans
  • Dal (Lentils)
  • Lean and White Meat
  • Nuts (Mixed are the best)
  • Paneer
  • Peanut Butter
  • Rajma (Kidney Beans)

Folate or Folic Acid

When studying for a pregnancy, you have undoubtedly come across folic acid as essential to the baby. Well, the books are right. Folic acid massively reduces the chances of neural tube defects. If this sounds scary, it is because it is. These congenital disabilities affect the baby's spinal cord and brain. Therefore, folic acid is needed to avoid them.

You can incorporate folic acid into your diet through including:

  • Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
  • Dried Beans and Lentils
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter

Calcium

Calcium helps your baby build strong bones while helping your body regulate fluids. You need 1000mg of calcium a day for a strong, healthy baby with an excellent bone structure. 

  • Calcium-set Tofu
  • Cheese
  • Curd
  • Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
  • Low-mercury Seafood like Salmon, shrimp, catfish, and Canned Light Tuna
  • Milk

Iron

Iron is essential to the baby’s health since it ensures that enough oxygen is delivered to the baby through your blood circulation. Iron supplements are some of the most common supplements recommended by your gynaecologist to take during pregnancy since they keep your baby alive with oxygen. However, it also needs to be present in your diet through foods such as:

  • Citrus Fruits
  • Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Enriched Bread or Cereals
  • Lean Meat and Poultry

Dark green, leafy vegetables are a must during pregnancy. They pack themselves full of necessary nutrients that give both you and your baby a better pregnancy experience.

Coming back to the question we started with.

What are Food Cravings?

While it remains unclear why cravings or food aversion (to the point of nausea) happens during pregnancy, doctors link it to the hormonal changes. Even during menstruation or PMS, a lot of women experience cravings.

The good news is that cravings are not necessarily a bad thing. They are not indicative of your body missing nutrition or the baby needing anything more. You can also turn cravings into a healthy snack. Craving nachos? Bake your own chips and use home-made salsa. Not only is it healthier, but it is also often tastier!

What are Food Aversions?

Food aversions may be more dangerous, especially if it is regarding the nutritional food that you need. You may want to not eat the nutritious food at all or feel nauseous on the smell or sight of such foods. In this case, speak to your doctor, and they will give you the best remedies to fight the food aversions, ensuring that you have a happy, healthy baby!

Creating a Diet Plan

Having a diet plan that ensures you get the necessary nutrients works for some and doesn’t work for others. Suffice to say, if you are already having nutrition-rich meals, just increasing quantity is enough. You can also add to your prenatal care with doctor-recommended additional nutrition that give you all the necessary nourishment, so you and your baby have an amazing and enriching pregnancy time!

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