Maternity Diet Tips

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Dr. Manu Lakshmi

10 Jan 2020

Hey there! This is Dr Manu, consultant Best Gynecologist in Chennai.

At the outset, I would like to welcome you to Dr Manu’s Gynecology Clinic. So, in this blog post we are going to discuss about maternity diet Tips.

Maternity diet tips

Maternal nutrition is the foundation for a healthy offspring. Maternal health and nutrition has always been a public health goal. Accumulation of knowledge has changed beliefs, practices and attitudes on prenatal care and nutrition over time. Improvement in socioeconomic status has influenced maternal nutrition and foetal outcome. Food, being an integral part of cultural identity is at its best when it serves nutritionalvalues. Globalisation of food industry has creeped in unhealthy food habits with undesirable disorders. This has further increased the fear of eating right among pregnant/to be pregnant women.

Hence, Primary concern in clinical practice is shifting from malnourishment to improper nutrition among urban maternal population in India. Cities, in spite of rapid medical advancements, is yet to overcome age-old pregnancy myths and notions with deep psychological effects on pregnant women. It is common that pregnant women are considerably bothered about and are constantly trying to choose between pregnancy food myths, likes, dislikes and nutritional food. In view of this, the best gynecologist in Chennai has offered some maternity diet tips to facilitate pregnant women in eating nutritious food and staying healthy.

What to eat ?

The body has increased nutritional needs during pregnancy. Although the old adage of “eating for two” isn’t entirely correct, there is requirement for more micronutrients and macronutrients to support body functions and foetal growth. Micronutrients are dietary components such as vitamins and minerals that are only required in small amounts. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are macronutrients required in larger amounts that provide calories or energy.

There is a need to consume more of each type of nutrient during pregnancy. Most pregnant women can meet these increased nutritional needs by choosing a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods. A simple way to ensure getting all the necessary nutrients is to eat different foods from each of the food groups every day. In fact, all meals should include at least three different food groups. Each food group has something to offer the body :

  • Grains are a good source of energy.
  • Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, fibre, along with water-soluble/ fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Meats, eggs, nuts, and legumes provide your body with protein, folate, and iron.
  • Dairy products are a great source of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Fats and oils in the form of unsaturated fatty acids serve as store houses of energy

How much to eat ? & why ?

During pregnancy, the goal is to eat a wide variety of foods in proportional quantities. There is need to include more of fresh, different colours of fruits and vegetables, dairy products, lean proteins such as eggs, chicken, fish, beansor lentils and whole grains to benefit more of the daily requirement of nutrients vital for the growth and development of the foetus.

  • Recommended daily servings of carbohydrates would be up to 6-8 small servings of grains. At least half of carbohydrates in a day should come from whole grains.
  • Protein is critical for ensuring the proper growth of foetal tissues. It also helps with breast and uterine tissue growth during pregnancy. It even plays a role in increasing blood supply, allowing more blood to be sent to the developing baby. 45 gm of nuts each day, as well as about a two-third cup of pulses on a daily basis would be beneficial in meeting the daily requirement in vegetarian pregnant women. Three servings of an alternate choice of lean meat/eggs/fish can provide right amount of concentrated proteins for nonvegetarians.
  • 3 to 4 different fruits and 4 different vegetable servings a day would be ideal to provide the need of vitamins and minerals.
  • Pregnant women need about 3 to 4 servings of calcium rich foods per day as calcium helps build baby’s bones and regulates body’s use of fluids.
  • Folate, also known as folic acid, plays an important part in reducing the risk of neural tube defects in the new born. There is no guarantee that certain foods in any quantity would provide enough folates. So, folic acid supplements are always recommended.
  • Iron works with sodium, potassium, and water to increase blood flow. This helps ensure that enough oxygen is supplied to both you and your baby. Eat at least 3 servings of iron-rich foods each day to ensure you are getting 27 mg of iron daily.
  • Aside from eating well, it is important to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day.

How to eat ?

To make sure that what is eaten helps the body and also helps to stay interested, spread out the food through the day by following different food ideas. The best gynaecologist in Chennai has shared some Indian food ideas to add variety without compromising on every day nutritional food group essentials in pregnancy :- Carbohydrates – Multigrain chapatti, wheat parathas, oatmeal, wheat bread, corn and brown rice could be healthier choice of energy giving foods. Protein – Boiled Chick peas, cooked sprouts, kidney beans, nuts, lentils in dal or sambar are good sources of plant proteins.

Eggs cooked in different ways and baked or curried chicken can be fatless ways of direct protein intake. Sea food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids are sources of healthy protein. Dairy foods – milk shakes, smoothies, lassi, fruit yogurt, raitha, butter milk, paneer and cheese serve as calcium sources with the added benefit of its protein content. Vitamins and minerals – Apart from regular vegetable side dishes, leafy greens added to kichdi, vegetables added to idli, upma, poha, uthappams, parathas, sandwiches and chutneys add more variety and flavour to every day routine. Vegetable Soups and cutlets in between meals are a great way of including more nutrients in the diet.

Dry fruits such as dates, figs & raisins with iron & other nutrients can be a good snack. Fresh fruit salads and pulpy homemade juices can be a good starter for a meal. Liquids – simple safe drinking water is sufficient to keep oneself hydrated. Tender coconut water is a great source of minerals. Water infused with mint, tulsi, lime, fennel or cumincan aid digestion and help sleep better.

What to avoid ?

Pregnant mothers have to keep a watch on what they eat and avoid harmful foods and beverages. Certain foods can be eaten rarely but others should be avoided completely. Foods that need to be completely avoided are alcohol in any form, raw/undercooked meat, eggs or fish, processed/stored meat, raw sprouts, unpasteurised milk and milk products and unwashed fruits and vegetables. It is advisable to get the positive health benefits from eating fish and shellfish lower in mercury such as shrimp, salmon and catfish while minimizing mercury consumption by avoiding types of fish like shark, swordfish and king mackerel that are higher in mercury.

Caffeine consumption has to be restricted as caffeine in large amounts from too much coffee and other caffeinated drinks may result in a baby with a low birth-weight. Bottled/packed juices and fizzy drinks need to be highly restricted as they are extremely sweetened and artificially flavoured for taste. Fatty foods, junk foods and sweets taken occasionally in moderate quantities to satisfy taste buds may not cause muchharm, but have no nutritional value and when eaten in excess can add on to excess body weight and difficulty in natural birthing. Eating intelligently well is the key for healthy pregnancy. Healthy food habituated during pregnancy, when carried over during lactation would enhance neonatal growth and development. Recommended supplements during pregnancy is also mandatory to overcome deficiencies during pregnancy.

In case of specific medical conditions such as gestational Diabetes, Hypertension, Anaemia, Hyperemesis Gravidarum etc…..the pregnant mother will need specific individualised diet plan. Consultation with the best gynaecologist in Chennai would assure pregnant women on further guidance in case of such medical conditions, food allergies, food aversion/addiction and for clarifications on food myths and maternity health.

Ours with lots of love

Dr Manu Lakshmi ( Best Gynecologist in Chennai)

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