By M.B Hospital, Gynaecology
The moment you realize that you are going to be a mummy a lot of people start advising about healthy eating. What exactly is a healthy plan for pregnant women? It is very important for the mother to eat a balanced diet. Aiming to eat a healthy and balanced pregnancy diet that includes- one third of most meals should be starch-based foods (such as cereals, potatoes, rice, and wheat pasta), with fruit and vegetables. Keeping it fiber rich, good sources are wholegrain breads as well as fruit and vegetables. Eat some protein foods such as fish, pulses, chicken, etc, every day. Choose lean meat. Try to avoid adding fat – for example, by not frying food. A total weight gain of 11-16 kg over the pregnancy is normal.
Include Foods with plenty of Iron, Calcium and Folic acid -
- Iron is mainly found in non vegetarian sources, pulses, dried fruit, green leafy vegetables, soybeans and fortified cereals.
- Calcium is mainly found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, soybean and seeds.
- Folic acid is mainly found in green vegetables, brown rice, and fortified cereals.
- Fish- in general, fish is a good source of protein and other nutrients. However, there are some important exceptions. Some types of fish contain a high level of mercury which can damage the developing nervous system of an unborn baby. Because of this, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises: Not to include eat any marlin or swordfish. Limit tuna – eat no more than 140 g or two fresh tuna steaks per week.
- Oily fish, includes- mackerel, sardines, salmon, trout and fresh tuna- not more than two helpings in a week.
- Foods and drinks to be avoided
- Food sources high in Listeria. Listeria is a germ (bacterium). Pregnant women are more likely to become infected with listeria and it sometimes causes complications. Foods which are most at risk of carrying listeria are: Undercooked meats and eggs, raw shellfish and raw fish and unpasteurized milk.
- Limit the amount of Caffeine to no more than 300 mg per day.
It is recommended that you visit a nutrition expert who can understand your daily requirements and activities and suggest a nutrition diet plan as per the same. The expert shall also consider your medical history and understand if you have a tendency to put on weight. A comprehensive pregnancy diet plan helps a woman relive stress and the right balance of antioxidants helps balance the body.