Pregnant women should remember that the food they eat is the main source of nutrition for their baby. Hence, one of the best things that they can do for their baby is to eat a healthy diet during pregnancy, says an expert.
Tamanna Narang, nutritionist at Alternacare, which is a telemedicine platform, suggests what to eat while expecting:
* Protein: Protein requirement during pregnancy increases to help develop the baby and the placenta. It also helps to fight against nausea and fatigue.
How much is required: Protein requirement depends on the woman’s body weight.
Good food sources: Seafood, lean meat, poultry, milk and milk products, eggs, beans, unsalted nuts and seeds.
Helpful tip: As many as 90 per cent of Indian pregnant woman are deficient in protein. Check with a nutritionist about protein intake or deficiency. Thery can ask a doctor for protein supplements also.
* Iron: Iron can prevent anemia and infections. It can support the baby’s growth and brain development.
How much is required: During the entire pregnancy period, an additional 760 mg of iron is needed.
Good sources: Non-vegetarian sources (lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, turkey, well-cooked eggs), vegetarian protein sources (pulses, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, cereals).
Helpful tips: For better absorption of iron, add a Vitamin C-rich fruit with or just after your meal. Avoid tea one hour before and one hour after having an iron-rich meal.
* Calcium: A baby builds his or her bones through the calcium in the mother’s blood. The baby’s heart, nerves and muscles depend on calcium for growth. If the calcium intake is not enough, even the mother’s bone heath is at risk.
How much is required: The recommended intake of calcium during pregnancy is 200 mg/day.
Good sources: Low fat dairy products (skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, yogurt), fish with edible bones like sardines, tofu, breakfast cereals, bread, plain almonds, oranges, dried fruits (like apricots), green leafy vegetables.
Helpful tips: Calcium is best obtained through food sources. Yet a calcium supplement can help the mother in meeting nutrition needs during pregnancy. Sufficient Vitamin D intake also helps in calcium absorption.