Pregnancy is a charming period in a woman`s life. Every woman dreams to be pregnant and have a cute, healthy baby. So nutrition during pregnancy is too important to grow up a healthy baby in the uterus. Every pregnant mother become worried and tensed about her health and nutritional fact during pregnancy. In fact, a pregnant mother need additional foods and nutrients to meet the nutritional requirements of both mother and growing fetus. Low or less nutritious diet may affect both the mother and baby. Nutritional deficiency hampers growth and development of the baby. So, it is important to take a balanced nutritious diet during pregnancy. Proper planning can help to make a healthy food menu to meet the daily dietary requirements. You must have idea about food staffs and values, how much do you need, which ingredients are especially very helpful, which foods you should not eat.
For you, here are some food staffs which are badly in need to eat daily. Some highly nutritious foods necessary for a pregnant mother are…
- Cereals & grains: Cereals are the main source of energy (carbohydrate). They contribute 70 to 80 percent of the total calories (energy) you need daily. Daily requirement for a pregnant woman is about 600-800gm per day. Cereals provide dietary fiber which helps in digestion. So that, the mother may get relief from constipation. They also contain vitamin specially vitamin B complex.
- Milk and Dairy products: These are a good source of high class protein, vitamin, minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc. But keep in mind, raw milk, soft cheese etc. should not be taken as they may contaminated with salmonella, bovine tuberculosis, streptococcus, and staphylococcus bacteria. These should be taken after pasteurization.
- Meat: Meat like mutton, beef and chicken are the best source of first class protein (animal origin). They also contain minerals like iron, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin B. Iron is very important during pregnancy to prevent anemia. Minerals are needed for making bones. However, raw meats should not be eaten during pregnancy. Raw meat is contaminated with coliform bacteria, salmonella, toxoplasma gondi, tape worm, bovine tuberculosis, anthrax etc.
- Fish & fish oil: Like meat, fish is also a good source of first class protein. Fish liver oil is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acid. It is an essential fatty acid. Fish is a good source of vitamin D and minerals specifically small fishes contain calcium, phosphorus etc. Before eating fish, you should aware of some facts like fish containing mercury should be avoided. Mercury is very harmful for fetus.
- Pulses and legumes: Besides the animal origin protein containing foods, plant sources like pulses, legumes can provide a large amount of protein you need. Soybeans, Peanuts, peas, lentils, beans, chick peas etc are a good source of plant based protein. These are also high in fiber, iron, calcium, folate as well as vitamins. Folate is very essential nutrients to taken during pregnancy as they may help to prevent “neural tube defects“ and lower the risk of low birth weight.
- Eggs: Eggs are contain all nutrients only except vitamin C and carbohydrate. An egg weighing 60gm contains the following food values……
- Fat 6gm
- Calcium 30gm
- Iron 5gm
- Cholesterol 250gm
- Energy 70 kcal
- Choline 113mg
A few food staffs contain choline. Eggs supplies 80-90 of total required choline. Choline helps in brain development of the growing baby.
- Vegetables and fruits: Vegetables and fruits are the greater source of vitamins and minerals. They provides dietary fiber which is necessary for preventing constipation as well as hemorrhoids (most common problems in pregnancy). A pregnant mother should take vegetables and fruits 1/3 of her total diet. These also provide natural water. Colored vegetables and fruits contain beta carotene which later converts into vitamin A, citrus fruits contain vitamin C, green leafy vegetables provides fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin K, vitamin E, minerals like calcium (few), iron, folate, zinc, potassium. Dry fruits are rich in iron and other minerals. Fruits also provide natural sugar.
- Water: Water is basically one of the most important food staff. A pregnant woman should take at least 2-3 liters of water daily. Water helps to maintain fluid balance in the body. Less intake of water may lead to dehydration. During pregnancy, as the blood volume level increased upto 1.5 liters, it is necessary to drink enough water. It also helps in preventing constipation, reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections in pregnant women, as they are very common in pregnancy.
Based on above information, we can make a simple diet plan for a pregnant mother.
Here is the nutritional requirements of a pregnant mother.
|Food items||Amount to be taken/Daily|
Regarding the above requirements, now you can prepare your menu.
A sample menu plans is given here.
|Breakfast||1 cup rice/2 chapatti||1 egg||½ cup pulses||½ cup mixed||1/2||1 cup|
|Lunch||2 cup rice/pasta||1 piece meat/fish||½ cup pulses||1 cup leafy veges|
|Snacks||1 piece of bread|
|Dinner||2 chapatti/1 cup pasta||1 piece meat/fish||½ cup veges|
|Snacks||½ fruits||1 cup milk|