Pregnancy Diet: Expecting Mothers Should Focus On These Nutrients
- Protein helps to fight against nausea and fatigue
- Iron is important for the baby's growth and brain development
- The recommended intake of calcium during pregnancy is 200 mg/day
New Delhi: What a mother-to-be eats and drinks during pregnancy is her baby’s main source of nourishment. Hence, the best thing pregnant women can do for their baby is eat healthy to provide the important nutrients a baby needs for growth and development.
This is what nutritionist Tamanna Narang suggests to eat while expecting:
1. Protein: During pregnancy, the daily protein requirement, which depends on the woman’s body weight, increases to help develop the baby and the placenta. It also helps to fight against nausea and fatigue.
Protein-rich foods include: Seafood, lean meat, poultry, milk and milk products, eggs, beans, unsalted nuts and seeds.
Helpful tip: As many as 90 per cent of pregnant women in India are protein deficient, so check with a nutritionist about protein deficiency and supplements.
2. Iron: Not only does iron prevent anemia and infections, it is also important for the baby’s growth and brain development. A woman needs an additional 760 mg of iron through her entire pregnancy.
Here are some food items high in iron that would keep you strong and healthy:
Non-vegetarian sources: lean meat, skinless chicken, fish, turkey, well-cooked eggs
Vegetarian sources: pulses, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, cereals.
Helpful tip: For better absorption of iron, add a Vitamin C-rich fruit with or just after your meal. Avoid tea one hour before and after having an iron-rich meal.
3. Calcium: A baby’s bones and teeth are developed with the calcium found in the mother’s blood. Calcium also helps your baby grow a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles as well as develops a normal heart rhythm and blood-clotting abilities. If the mother’s calcium intake is not enough, it is the mother’s bone health that is at great risk as the baby will continue to draw calcium from her bones.
The recommended intake of calcium during pregnancy is 200 mg/day.
Calcium-rich foods include: Milk and other dairy products (skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, yogurt) are top sources, as are fish with edible bones like sardines, tofu, breakfast cereals, bread, plain almonds, oranges, dried fruits (like apricots) and green leafy vegetables.
Helpful tip: Calcium is best obtained through food sources, yet a calcium supplement can help the mother in meeting her nutrition needs through pregnancy. Sufficient Vitamin D intake also helps in calcium absorption.
(Also Read: 10 Superfoods You Must Include In Your Daily Diet)