is a time when a new life is created within a mother's body. All
the energy, protein and nutrients needed for the creation of this
body are to be supplied by the mother's body. When these needs are
not met, deficiencies occur which affect the mother's health and
indirectly that of the growing baby.
Most of these
deficiencies are not seen in the first trimester. But they set in
the second trimester and are manifested in the third trimester.
One of the biggest deficiencies seen is iron deficiency anaemia.
This is a very serious condition as the mother's haemoglobin level
drops making her feel weak, tired easily, low appetite and sleepy.
During the last trimester a mother need to be active so that there
is good circulation
and blood supply to the foetus.
in the third trimester helps in making the delivery normal and easy.
Most important however is that the foetus has a good iron store
built up as there is no iron intake during the first three months
of life after birth. Normally all doctors prescribe an iron supplements
by the fourth or fifth month and a Hb test must be taken in the
beginning of the seventh month so that if the Hb level is low then
additional supplements may be prescribed. The diet however has the
greatest impact. A big cause of iron deficiency is skipping meals
or unbalanced meals. Pregnancy is a time when we want to pamper
ourselves and we may eat the wrong food and skip meals.
In the last
four months of pregnancy cut out all fatty foods or just have a
bite if you must eat them occasionally. Concentrate on eating the
right things in the right balance and nourish your body and lay
foundation for the body of the little life with in you. Rice is
a poor source of iron, so eating rice or rice items at all three
meals must be avoided. Whole wheat is high in its iron content so
eat that every night for dinner roti or whole wheat bread. At lunch
rice may be eaten but try to vary your breakfast with cereals, oats,
ragi porridge, ragi roti or ragi dosa - stuffed chapatti or whole
wheat bread instead of only rice items. The next good source of
iron is channa and dhals. Try to eat at least half cup dhal or pulses
at both lunch and dinner daily.
Fish is also
a good source of iron and may be eaten as often as possible. Plenty
of fresh salad and fruit is a must as vitamin B and C helps to increase
the absorption of iron from the food. Eat a salad with both lunch
and dinner. Also eat two to three fruits daily. Palak and greens
are rich in iron but have an inhibitor that prevents its absorption
and are therefore not considered a good iron source. However they
are good sources of vitamin B, C and folic acid.