Pregnancy brings a new meaning to the concept of beauty. It is in fact a period of immense joy coupled with excitement . The feeling of carrying a little soul within you is magnificent. This is so magical and thrilling that you never want to end it . A pregnant woman is special and the blessed one.
But when you are pregnant , eating healthy food is more important than anything else. You need more protein, more iron, more calcium and folic acid that you did before pregnancy. You also need more calories but eating for two does not mean eating twice as much. It means that the foods you eat are the main source of nutrients for your baby.
Weight gain ,if the mother is carrying just one baby, varies considerably . According to the institute of Medicine USA , a woman whose body mass index is between 18.5 and 24.9 should gain from 25 to 35 pounds (11.4 kg -15.9 kg) during the 9 months. A woman who is overweight at the start of pregnancy should gain between 15 to 25 pounds (6.8 -11.4kg) .
Precautions during first and second month of pregnancy (what to do and what not to do)
Walk – just take care not to strain yourself.
Drink water at least 8-10 glasses. Stay hydrated always.
Consume fresh fruits and veggies. These will help you ease constipation problem and regularize your stomach functions. You should take strawberry , sprouts, spinach, cereal etc. Having a balanced diet is very important during this stage onwards. Try not to overeat. It is always better to have small meals several times a day during pregnancy. It will help you stay filled , fit and healthy.
Emotions and mood of the mother does have a large impact on the baby’s emotional well being. Hence it is very important to keep yourself calm.
Not to do
Avoid coffee as it increases acidity and thus causes heart burn.
Avoid junk food.
No alcohol, cigarette. Even second hand smoke can cause major health problems to your baby. Ask your husband or friends to avoid it in your presence.
In 3rd month of pregnancy
By the third month your nausea, sleepiness , hunger will have elevated immensely. Luckily this is the last month that you will feel nausea . So you can look forward to relishing food in the forthcoming month. Your weight should start to rise a tad more quickly as well.
The bad thing is that the secondary symptoms like irritability , smell sensitivity might set in . But relax , these symptoms will bother only your near and dear and thankfully not you . So here foods rich in vitamin B help a lot by reducing nausea and boosting your moods. Vitamin B6 rich fruits are citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, eggs etc. You should choose fruits of all colors. Fruits that encourage weight gain are bananas & guavas.
If you are a non veg now is the time to go over them. Just make sure that the meat is cooked very well and is prepared with good hygiene. Iron and folate -these twin elements are so vital for the foetus that ignoring them can cause moderate to severe mental and physical retardation in the foetus. Have diet rich in beetroot, beans, bran, oranges ,potatoes ,broccoli etc. Foetus needs calcium and minerals. So do not deny milk, curd ,cheese and ghee.
Don’t do :
Snacking on pastries, chocolates etc will endanger you for being obese later.
Keep on taking your nutritional supplements which your doctor has prescribed to you. Fluids are essential – 8 glasses of water in addition to juices and soups , nimbu pani etc will help your body absorb the iron better.
In 4th month of pregnancy
You will feel now more active , energetic and less anxious. In this month you will begin to feel the baby’s movements.
The body works hard to calcify the baby’s bones and to fine tune all the organs. Therefore your fourth month of pregnancy diet needs to be more growth promoting and nourishing.
Opt for iron rich food
To lower the risk of premature labour, low birth weight etc consume omega 3 rich foods like nuts, olive oil, dried fruits, whole wheat products(not in excess).
Your doctor will probably prescribe vitamin D and calcium pills.
You should have either 2 glasses of milk or 500 gm curd or 200 gm of paneer daily.
Sleeping on your left side .This keeps your circulation to the growing baby in a better way.
Cotton and linen clothes should be your choices.
Don’t take Maida it is difficult to digest and can cause constipation
Avoid foods having licorice (mulethi in hindi).
Do not have excessive papaya as it sometimes may trigger a miscarriage.
Avoid more than 2 cups of non herbal tea/coffee in a day as caffeine may lead to miscarriage.
Avoid exposure to Xrays or close contact with microwave.
Avoid junk foods as they may result in low birth weight.
Laxatives and diuretics should also be avoided.
Try home remedies for common ailments.
Not to lift heavy bags.
Avoid sleeping on your tummy.
Avoid travelling alone if possible.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Travel by 2 or 3 wheelers is not advisable during pregnancy. Prefer a car.
As your baby is now growing rapidly ,you need to indeed take rest in your regular routine. If you are a working woman take tiny power naps when and where ever possible.
In 5th month of pregnancy
You may begin to feel the baby move during this month. Be sure to eat food rich in vitamin C. Your body does not store vitamin C . So it is important to get a fresh supply every day. Good sources of vitamin C are oranges, broccoli, tomatoes etc.
Do not panic (are you worried what if your baby has some abnormalities) otherwise it will affect your body directly.
Your body is undergoing a lot of physical and hormonal changes ;so sleep properly.
Do not forgive to smile everyday.
In 6th month of pregnancy
The sixth month means you are in control of nausea and your hunger pangs may be increasing as baby needs more nutrition to grow at this stage. You should include food rich in protein in your diet like eggs, black beans, tofu etc.
Your feet may swell during this month. Putting your feet up may help reduce any ankle swelling. Shop for wide comfortable shoes, peferably with a flat heel.
Try to eat balanced food.
In 7th month of pregnancy
Avoid high fat and spicy foods as they contribute to heart burn. Expert recommend eating a light meal for dinner. Bloating and swelling can be prevented by reducing intake of sodium. So keep away from foods high in salt content such as chips, ketch up, canned foods, pickles and sauces etc. Needless to say that coffee and alcohol should be avoided at all costs throughout your pregnancy.
Caffeinated beverages can cause constipation and make you feel uncomfortable especially at this stage of your pregnancy. So it is best to keep them off your daily diet. Avoid junk foods, a small portion of junk food when you have cravings is perfectly alright, however it is important to remember not to overdo it. Processed foods do not have nutritive value.
Apart from a healthy diet it is also important for you to do walk. When you make sure that you take care of yourself, you also take care of your little one before he or she comes into this world.
8th month diet
As you enter the 8 th month of your pregnancy your uterus gets enlarged and creates a lot of pressure on your stomach. Indigestion and heart burn are also common discomforts that you will go through at this stage. To avoid this you should eat small meals throughout the day.
Walk is necessary in this stage.
Your diet should be rich in iron and calcium. Calcium will keep your and baby’s bones strong. So include these things in your diet. Green leafy vegetables , dried fruits, dairy products, bananas, nuts soya milk, beans etc are very good and helpful.
Avoided foods :
Tea, coffee, aerated soft drinks. As your due date approaches you will find yourself constipated which can be really uncomfortable. One way to reduce this symptom is to significantly lower your daily intake of these beverages.
You should avoid unpasteurized milk.
Avoid raw or uncooked eggs.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
In 9th month of pregnancy
It is time for you to relax and enjoy the few days that you have before you deliver your baby. In this month you will no doubt feel heavy and quite uncomfortable. At this stage your baby’s development is almost complete. Weight of the baby will increase rapidly. Your digestive system can be affected due to the rapid weight gain. That is why you should continue with the balanced and nutritious diet you followed in the early months.
Since you are eating for two , you have a responsibility to eat only the healthiest of foods. This way you ensure that your baby gets all the required nutrients to be healthy and you also stay strong for labor , when the delivery day comes. So eat right preferably organic so that you keep pesticides/fertilizers intake to the breast minimum.
Wishing you a happy pregnancy…….
Dr.Suman Setia BAMS DNHE PGDHHM
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