18 Oct, 2020


“Motherhood and nutrition go hand in hand”

Nutrition during pregnancy is of prime importance due to the special needs associated with the physiological changes. The nutritional requirements increase tremendously during pregnancy as the mother has to nourish not only herself but also the growing foetus or infant. The Basal Metabolic Rate i.e. BMR increases by 5% in the first trimester and may reach upto 12% by the last stages of pregnancy.  Your baby’s nourishment is dependent totally on what you eat , so its important to consume a nutritionally wholesome diet.

Some of the essential nutrients required by a pregnant woman are as follows:

• Calcium- The calcium needs during pregnancy increases to 1200mg/day. It is required for the growth and development of the bones as well as calcification of foetal bones and teeth. It is found in milk and milk products like yoghurt, cheese, cream, cottage cheese, khoa, etc. while for those who are lactose intolerant can get their calcium from ragi, gingelly seeds, poppy seeds, cumin seeds, figs, dry dates, colocasia leaves, fenugreek leaves, amaranth, etc

• Folic Acid- It is required to protect against megaloblastic anaemia, for healthy formation of red blood cells and minimize the risk of neural tube defects. 500micrograms of folic
acid per day is required during pregnancy. Asparagus, avocado, papaya, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, okra, cauliflower, bell peppers, beans and lentils are all rich food sources of folic acid.

• Iron- Low levels of iron in early pregnancy have been associated with premature birth and low birth weight infants. The RDA for iron increases from 21mg to 35mg/day during pregnancy. Iron from non-vegetarians foods is better absorbed as compared to vegetarian sources. Few foods rich in iron include- jaggery, groundnuts, leafy green vegetables, legumes, chicken ,fish, eggs, red meats.

• Vitamin C- Both you and your child require vitamin C day by day since it’s vital for the body to make collagen, a basic protein that is a segment of ligament, bones, and skin. Vitamin C insufficiencies in infants can weaken mental improvement.
Vitamin C is basic for tissue repair, wound healing, bone development and repair, and healthy skin. Vitamin C enables your body to battle diseases.
Vitamin C likewise helps your body absorb iron, particularly from vegan sources.
60mg of ascorbic acid is required per day. All citrus fruits and vegetables like amla, orange, pineapple, guava, kiwi, berries, tomatoes, lemon, etc. are rich in vitamin C.

• Zinc- Zinc is a mineral known to be vital for some organic capacities including protein amalgamation, cell division and nucleic acid metabolism. Studies indicate that zinc deficiency adversely affects the course and outcome of pregnancy. 12mg of zinc per day is recommended by ICMR(2010). Seafood, beans, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, wheat germ, spinach, etc.

• Protein- It is necessary for the growth of foetus, development of placenta and
enlargement of maternal blood tissues. The total RDA of 78g/day is required during pregnancy. Eggs, chicken, fish, meat, seafood, legumes, soyabean, pulses, dairy products, nuts and seeds are some foods sources of protein.

• Fibre- Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy due to increased foetal pressure, hence higher amounts of dietary fibre is necessary. Large quantities of whole
grains, whole pulses and cereals, oats, along with fresh fruits and vegetables should be added in the diet.

Also adequate amount of fluid intake needs to maintained to avoid constipation.

Numerous ladies are worried about weight pick up amid pregnancy. They fear they will put on an excess of weight and never return to their pre-pregnancy estimate. Notwithstanding, some weight pick up is typical amid pregnancy, and it shouldn’t be
reason for concern. The additional weight gives sustenance to the infant. Some of it is additionally put away to breastfeed after the infant is conceived.
Ladies pick up a normal of 25 to 35 pounds amid pregnancy. It’s ordinary to put on less
weight in the event that you begin heavier or to put on more weight in the event that you were underweight before pregnancy.

Some Don’ts –
• Don’t “eat for two”
• Don’t load onto refined carbs
• Don’t skip meals
• Abstain from alcohol and smoking
• Don’t lie down immediately after having food/meals
• Don’t include soda or aerated drinks in your diet to increase your fluid intake

DeepanshiMalhotra, is a Delhi based dietician, clinical nutritionist and a certified diabetes educator.

She holds a Bachelors of Science in Life Sciences & Masters of Science in Dietetics from Delhi University. She also holds certification in Food & Nutrition and Diploma in Nutrition, Dietician and Health Management. She is also a Certified Diabetes Educator from Dr. V Mohan’s Diabetes Education Academy.

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