Eating for self and baby - A guide

13 tips that will guarantee a healthy pregnancy

Do not underestimate the importance of healthy eating during pregnancy! Following a balanced pregnancy diet can make your baby healthier, happier and stronger too. If you are confused about what to eat and what to do in order to have a healthy pregnancy, read on.

Healthy diet during pregnancy

Eating healthy and nutrient-rich foods is important during pregnancy as it helps the baby to gain proper weight. Such foods also ensure proper organ development. In the first trimester of the pregnancy, women might not need extra calories. It also depends on whether the woman was underweight, overweight or obese before pregnancy. Gradually, the consumption of calorie-rich foods should be increased in the second trimester to boost the growth and development of the foetus. Especially in the third trimester, eating nutrient-rich foods is a must, as it will help in the development of the baby’s lungs and bones.

What kinds of foods to eat?

A healthy pregnancy diet must include:

  1. Vitamin-rich foods like milk, egg yolk, soya milk, cereals and fatty fish.
  2. Foods rich in iron and folic acid like dark leafy greens, fully cooked meat, beans, seafood and fruits.
  3. Adequate calcium and magnesium can be found in nuts and seeds, yoghurt, pasteurized cheese and bananas.
  4. Protein from healthy sources like beans and peas, eggs, lean meat and seafood.

Foods to Avoid

Along with knowing what to eat, it is equally important to understand which foods to avoid during pregnancy. Some of them are:

  1. Junk foods which include French fries, cold meat, burgers etc.
  2. Uncooked eggs
  3. Coffee, because it contains caffeine
  4. Alcohol

13 Tips for a healthy pregnancy

  1. Don’t forget your prenatal vitamins: The right doses of vitamins and minerals are important for a healthy pregnancy. Supplements containing essential nutrients like folic acid, calcium and iron should be included in your daily diet too. Prenatal vitamins should be taken as recommended by your doctor.
  2. Include exercise in your daily route: Prenatal exercise and yoga can keep the mother energetic and give strength and vitality during pregnancy. Three to 4 days of brisk exercise/yoga every week can improve blood circulation, boost the mood and help you to sleep better. At least 15-20 minutes of walking every day at a moderate pace and in a cool environment can be extremely beneficial too.
  3. Eliminate toxins: Because of high risks of birth defects, miscarriages and other problems, one should avoid the use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and even solvents such as paint and nail polish remover. Smoking cigarettes can decrease oxygen flow to the baby and is linked to preterm birth and other complications.
  4. Track weight gain: Gaining weight during pregnancy is natural and can vary from one pregnant woman to another. Too much or too little weight gain can pose a risk to the baby during pregnancy. So, it’s important to get your weight gain tracked by a doctor or healthcare provider.
  5. Drink plenty of water: During pregnancy, adequate fluid intake, and especially water intake is very important, as it keeps the body hydrated and helps avoid unnecessary contractions. Sipping small amounts of water throughout the day is recommended.
  6. Eat folate-rich foods: One should eat well-balanced meals with plenty of folate-rich foods like fortified cereals, asparagus, lentils, oranges, as well as vitamin C rich foods. Folic acid is crucial for the proper development of the baby’s neural tube and it’s vital for the creation of new blood cells.
  7. Consume essential fruits: Fruits are the best sources of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Natural sugars present in fruits add to the baby’s overall health.
  8. Don’t leave out fish from your diet: Fishes that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain development of the baby. It is safe to consume fish during pregnancy as long as it is properly cooked. Avoid mercury rich fish like shark or ahi.
  9. Get rest: It is important to relax and rest during pregnancy. Adequate and sound sleep is mandatory for both the mother and baby’s health.
  10. Focus on dental care: Maintaining proper dental hygiene is necessary during pregnancy. Weakening of gums during pregnancy is common due to hormonal changes. An increase in hormone levels can cause bleeding and tender gums too. So, oral care is very important. Brush your teeth twice a day for starters and use floss and mouthwash.
  11. Strengthen pelvic muscles: Prenatal workouts like half squats, when done under guidance, can help strengthen the pelvic muscles, which can pave the way for easy delivery.
  12. Use appropriate footwear: As the pregnancy progresses, weight gain can lead to pain in the legs and feet. So, it is best to wear footwear that is easy and soft on the feet.
  13. Take care of skin: Apply moisturizing lotion on your skin during pregnancy to keep the skin hydrated and avoid dry skin or allergies. This can also help in preventing deep stretch marks across the stomach in the third trimester.