Essentials of eating during and after Pregnancy

Consuming all the important foods during pregnancy and lactation ensures good health of both the mother and the baby. Keeping a check on the food and its impact makes the entire process easy and comfortable.

You are what you eat, is a common phrase and is entirely true when we talk about pregnant women as well. However, at this stage, you not only eat for yourself, but also for the baby growing inside you. So, what you eat has a direct impact on the health of your child.

Foods to eat during pregnancy should be high in nutritional value. The eating habits have to be balanced to ensure that you are receiving adequate nutrition to maintain your health along with the baby’s health to an optimum level. To meet up the requirements of your body, you must eat from a variety of foods comprising of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, dairy products etc.

It is a well-known fact an additional amount of nutrients is a must during pregnancy. Following are the essentials of healthy eating:

1) Calcium: Calcium helps the mother maintain strong bones during pregnancy along with preventing diseases like osteoporosis and proper lactation post pregnancy. It helps the baby too, in growing strong bones and teeth. It plays a vital role in helping the baby grow healthy nerves, muscles and heart. Dairy products rich in calcium, leafy vegetables, fortified cereals etc. should be included in your diet. Milk should always be a top priority and adding a spoonful of health drinks is a plus.

2) Folic Acid: Also known as Folate, it helps to prevent neural tube defects, serious birth defects of spinal cord and brain in the baby. Fortified cereal, naturally occurring green vegetables, citrus fruits and pre-natal vitamins cover the required dose.

3) Vitamin D: To utilize the calcium intake, vitamin D is an essential. It helps the baby maintain proper level of calcium and phosphorus along with a healthy skin and eyesight. A deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to abnormal bone growth. Milk fortified with vitamin D, fatty fish such as salmon and exposure to sunlight make for good sources of vitamin D.

4) Iron: Whole grain products, lean beef, pork, dried fruits and green leafy vegetables are some of the foods which are capable of ensuring that you meet your body’s iron needs. Iron is an important part of your red blood cells and helps you build better immunity. It is also an essential for making haemoglobin, which is required in an increased amount during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding is another phase which needs proper attention when we talk about nutrition. Diet for breastfeeding mothers is capable of deciding the baby’s health. The intake of breast milk assures that the baby is getting all the nutrition in the first six months.  This makes it extensively significant that you also have a diet that can fulfil this need. The nutrition needs of your body increase during this phase. Eating healthy along with drinking plenty of water will give you and your growing child a healthy life. What’s more, eating healthy also lets you shed pregnancy weight faster.

The diet for feeding mother should include the following practices:

Eating whole grains: Rice, bread, pasta, and granola can help keep up optimum energy levels. Also, they help you keep your fibre intake high making it easy for your digestive system.

Inculcating the habit of consuming fruits and vegetables: Having fine portions of fruits and vegetables is wise idea. Different vitamins and other nutrients are a huge advantage for the body.

Savouring a protein rich diet: Muscular strength and overall health comes from proteins and this is the reason they become an unavoidable part of our diets. Lean meats, eggs, legumes, lentils etc. are some particularly good sources.

Keeping up the dairy intake: Milk, preferably goat’s, makes for a good calcium and vitamin D supplement. However, drinking milk with a spoon of added health drinks twice a day will make up for the perfect amount of these nutrients your body needs. Yogurt is also a good low fat dairy product.

Staying hydrated: Although drinking water is necessary, it is not advisable to consume excess of it. About 2 litres of water a day is sufficient while breastfeeding.

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