Dietary Guidelines During Pregnancy to Ensure the Development of a Strong and Healthy Baby

The growth of a tiny baby inside a motherís womb is like the foundation of a building. The diet of the mother during the 9 months of pregnancy directly affects the foundation of a new human life. So young mothers to be must take great care and proper advice to make sure your diet is healthy and nutritious for your baby.

As new cells, tissues and bones are being formed all the time, the most important nutrients that must be supplied and that are required in excess are protein, vitamins (specially B) and minerals (especially calcium and iron).

Milk / Curds is one of the most important foods to be consumed as it is a rich source of protein, vitamin A and D and Calcium. Two glasses of milk per day that is about 500ml is recommended. Those who eat egg may eat one egg daily during pregnancy (egg whites may be 2-3 in number, whereas yolk should be only one per day). Chicken and fish too may be eaten in small quantities and preferably at lunch, as they may be difficult to digest at night. Restrict mutton, beef, etc. as they are too fatty. For a good iron intake, never skip a meal, try to ensure dhal intake at lunch and dinner and make sure you eat whole-wheat chapatiís at least once a day, preferably at dinner. Also eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily as their supply of B and C vitamins help the iron absorption.

In the 2nd half of pregnancy, the need for protein and calcium are markedly increased and therefore I would recommend that an additional glasses of milk (total 3 glasses) are consumed from the 4th or 5th month. Milk is a rich source of protein and calcium, which are essential for the development of the tissues and bones of the baby growing inside the womb.

Preventing and controlling Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are mainly caused by the changes in the hormones produced during pregnancy. For some it is more severe than for others. It is aggravated by any kind of emptiness in the stomach. As the baby grows your food requirements increase and if this need is not met by regular meals and regular timings of meals, acids build up in the stomach and you feel nauseated. For some this is felt strongly early in the morning, and we advise you to try and eat a couple of biscuits or a small banana even before you get out of bed. Otherwise by the time you start brushing your teeth you may vomit. For some this happens around 6pm if they have not eaten anything, since lunchtime. Please make sure that you eat some toast or biscuits and milk by 4 pm and again have some fruit by 6pm.

Preventing and controlling Heartburn

During the last trimester when the foetus is growing rapidly, the expanded uterus may press against the stomach, causing contents to return to the oesophagus; the burning symptoms may be reduced somewhat with these anti heartburn tips.

  1. Food intake should be divided into 4-6 small meals, which are eaten slowly in a relaxed environment.
  2. Spicy, high fat, and rich foods, as well as caffeine, alcohol, and individually bothersome items, are to be avoided.
  3. Food intake just prior to bed or naptime can cause symptoms.
  4. Antacids should only be taken if prescribed by the attending physician.
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