The 9 months of pregnancy can bring many changes in your life. These months can bring a lot of joy and happiness to you and your family. Along with this, you might also face a lot of worries, about your health as well as your baby's health.
You must be curious about what to eat during these months. Remember, everything you eat is being fed to your baby as well. In this blog, we have listed the different types of food that you should include in your daily diet. Read ahead to know more about what to eat during pregnancy.
Why should you eat healthy and nutritious food during pregnancy?
As you already know, what you eat during pregnancy is what you are feeding to your baby. When your food gets digested, the nutrients get absorbed by your blood, so that they can get transported to all parts of your body. The placenta that is attached to the womb absorbs some of these nutrients and supplies them to your baby. So you should increase your food intake during pregnancy, and also make sure that you are eating healthy and nutritious food so that your baby can be healthy.
Why do you need iron and folic acid tablets during pregnancy?
Iron and folic acid are very important for your baby's growth. It helps with the development of your baby's brain, spinal cord and nerves. It is also necessary for you. If you have less iron or folic acid, your body may not be able to produce blood properly, which can lead to anemia. Anemia can be harmful to both you and your baby.
But your regular food habits may not have enough iron and folic acid. In such cases, your doctor will prescribe tablets for these nutrients. Make sure that you have them regularly so that you can avoid any complications.
By making some small changes in your food habits, you can include more natural sources of iron and folic acid in your food. Soon, your iron and folic acid will increase and you won't need these tablets.
- For iron, you can eat more chickpeas (chana), dry fruits, and beetroot.
- For folic acid, you can eat more eggs, beetroot and green leafy vegetables like spinach (palak).
What to eat during pregnancy?
As your baby grows in your womb, your body's needs can change. You should also change your diet according to this. By eating nutritious food, your baby will get all the required nutrients and become healthy. Here is a list of food that you should include in your diet during pregnancy:
Diet for pregnant women - Milk and milk products
Milk and milk products are great sources of calcium and vitamin D.
Some common milk products are cheese, curd, paneer, buttermilk, ghee.
Your baby will need a lot of calcium and vitamins for the development of brain and bones. Also, curd helps with digestion and will keep your digestive system healthy.
During pregnancy, should you have cow milk or buffalo milk?
- If you are underweight, drink buffalo milk. Buffalo milk has more fat and will help in increasing your weight.
- If you have normal weight, you can dring regular drink cow milk.
- If you are overweight, drink low-fat cow milk. This is also easily available in the market.
Have atleast 1.5-2 glasses of milk every day so that you get enough calcium for both you and your baby. Don't drink raw milk as it can contain germs that can be harmful to you.
What if you don't like milk?
It is very common for people to not like milk. So if you are one of them, don't worry. Here are some alternatives to milk that you can include in your diet:
- Calcium tablets
- Spinach (palak), chana
- Tofu (paneer made using soya milk)
Diet for pregnant women- Is it safe to eat ghee during pregnancy?
Ghee will improve your digestion. So you can have some ghee every day. But too much ghee will increase your weight, which can cause complications. So doctors advice to have not more than 2-3 spoons of ghee in a day.
Diet for pregnant women - Green vegetables
Green leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbage are great sources of folic acid and iron. They can help to increase the production of blood in your body. By this, many complications like anemia or low blood count will be avoided. By eating these vegetables, you will also get a lot of energy and some relief from leg pain. These vegetables also keep heart diseases away for your baby and you.
Diet for pregnant women - Dal and beans
Dal and beans like rajma, soyabean or chickpeas (chana) provide a lot of proteins, vitamins and folic acid to your body. These are all very important for your baby's growth and development. So make sure to include lots of dal and beans in your meals.
Diet for pregnant women - Whole grains like wheat, ragi
Whole grains are the primary source of carbohydrates and fibre. Carbohydrates provide you energy, which can help you be more active and less tired. Fibres keep your intestines clean, which helps to prevent digestive problems like constipation. You can include foods like roti and bread made of whole grains in your diet during pregnancy.
The following are some whole grains that you can easily include in your daily meals:
- barley (sattu)
- buckwheat (kuttu)
Diet for pregnant women - Dry fruits
Dry fruits like almonds (badam), cashew, raisins (kishmish) help to keep the sugar levels in your body in control. Also, by being rich in vitamin E, magnesium, iron, fatty acids and proteins, they add a lot of nutrients to your body. If your baby gets a lot of nutrients, he/she will grow healthy and will have a normal weight.
Diet for pregnant women - Eggs, lean meat like chicken, mutton
Eggs and meat are rich in protein. Lean meats like chicken, mutton have less fat. By including these in your diet, you can become stronger and prepare your body for the delivery pain. Eggs also have a protein called choline that is important for the development of your baby's brain.
Don't eat raw egg or meat. If not cooked, these can carry diseases that can harm you.
Diet for pregnant women - Fish
Omega 3 fatty acid is very important during pregnancy. It helps in your baby's brain development and also keeps your body healthy. You can get omega 3 fatty acid by eating fishes like hilsa. If you are vegetarian, you can also get omega 3 fatty acid by eating walnuts and cauliflower.
Diet for pregnant women -Is it safe to eat saffron during pregnancy?
There are a lot of benefits to eating foods with saffron. It helps with problems related to stress and gas, and can also keep some infections away. By adding a little saffron to your daily glass of milk, your muscles will become more flexible, which can help you during childbirth.
But some medical experts say that eating too much saffron during pregnancy can cause risks of miscarriage or premature delivery. So have saffron in limited amounts in your food and milk.
Diet for pregnant women -Is it safe to eat bittergourd (karela) during pregnancy?
Bittergourd has a lot of nutrients like folate, vitamins and minerals that your body needs during pregnancy. It can help you control your blood sugar and weight, and keep your digestion smooth.
But sometimes, bittergourd can also create risks like anemia, painful contractions and premature delivery. So you should avoid bittergourd during pregnancy. Yes, you can eat a little bit every week without any risks.
Remember, if you are at risk of any complications already, ask your doctor which foods you should avoid during pregnancy.
Diet for pregnant women - Is it safe to eat jaggery (gud) during pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to eat jaggery during pregnancy. Jaggery has a lot of benefits such as:
- Jaggery purifies your blood
- Jaggery helps in producing more blood
- Jaggery keeps the digestive system healthy
- Jaggery keeps blood pressure (BP) in control
- Jaggery helps in reducing joint pain
- Jaggery keeps your skin soft.
Too much jaggery can produce a lot of heat in your body. So avoid eating jaggery in high quantities, especially in your first trimester of pregnancy. If you want to know how much jaggery is safe for you, its best to ask your doctor.
Diet for pregnant women - Is it safe to eat honey during pregnancy?
Yes, you can eat honey during pregnancy. In fact, you should use honey instead of sugar in your coffee/tea. Honey helps in building your immunity, so that your body is able to fight against infections. Having a glass of milk with honey every night will also calm you down so that you sleep peacefully.
But eating too much honey can lead to problems like stomach pain, weight gain and tooth decay. So limit yourself to 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of honey per day.
Diet for pregnant women - What food can you eat when you are not at home during pregnancy?
You must be wondering what to eat when you go outside during pregnancy. You might already know that home-cooked food is healthiest and safest for you. So here are some tips that you can keep in mind when you go out:
- If possible, pack some food from home.
- Always carry fruits from home. If you want to buy and eat any fruits, buy fruits that have a peel like banana and orange.
- Don't eat street food like chats and pakodas. These won't be made using clean water, so you might get some diseases or infections.
- Carry a water bottle with you. If you are thirsty and don't have anything to drink, buy bottled water. Don't drink any juices from the roadside shops - the water they use may not be clean.
- If you go to a restaurant, have simple food like dal, roti or soup. Avoid fried and oily food items.
- Whenever you are hungry, eat something. Don't stay hungry for too long, as your baby also needs nutrition during this time.
What to eat in case of morning sickness or vomiting during pregnancy?
For pregnant women, it is very common to have morning sickness or vomiting problems. Because of this, you might have a weird taste in your mouth and will not feel like eating food. But not eating can harm you and your baby. So stay strong and eat healthy food.
Instead of having large meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, eat smaller meals every 2-3 hours. Eat simple food like dal and khichdi. Make sure that you are taking your medicines on time so that your body is getting the necessary nutrients.
Diet for pregnant women - What to eat as snacks during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body needs more food than usual. So keep some healthy snacks with you so that you can eat them whenever you feel hungry. Some simple and healthy snacks are:
- Fresh fruits
- steamed or boiled vegetables with salt and pepper
- fruit juice or milkshakes
- poha or upma made with less oil
- sandwich with fresh vegetables and brown bread
- home-made chat with boiled chana or corn
- dry fruits like badam, cashew
During pregnancy, you should eat healthy, nutritious food to keep yourself and your baby healthy. So eat regularly, even when you don't feel like eating. You should not starve yourself as it might be harmful to your baby. Hope this blog helps you in maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy. This is also the best time to start eating healthy, so take this opportunity to set a healthy diet for yourself and your family.