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How important is diet during early pregnancy?

Q: Hello, I have gone through your website and it is really a wonderful site about health related problems. I have one query regarding pregnancy: I am currently in my fourth month. I am taking full diet in my pregnancy - fruits, curds. I am not able to digest milk. After taking milk I am not able to have any other food and intake of milk becomes heavy. I feel like vomiting. But I am taking curd regularly - 2 times in a day. Do you think taking curd in place of milk is sufficient as its substitute. Among fruits I love papaya a lot. But I have gone through some foreign websites and other Indian websites. Its been suggested to not to take papaya in pregnancy as it leads to abortion. Do you think it is right? I already had one miscarriage last year due to spotting.

A:You not only do not need milk as milk is probably not good for you; milk is not essential at this stage of pregnancy (or any other stage). You are taking a full diet - I hope this means you are taking a healthy balanced diet without too many raw calories in form of fats and sugars, what you need is a balanced diet including proteins, minerals and vitamins and not healthy food; or high calorie foods which have a reputation of being pregnancy foods; there are no good or bad foods of pregnancy. Milk is a good source of calcium and curds or cheese should be as good. Whatever you have eaten all your life is normal diet for you. We should all take balanced diet and you more than others since you are pregnant, but eat what you like and as much as you like, there are no good foods and bad foods of pregnancy. Just be careful that you do not have infected food, in the initial few months all that you can eat is good food for you provided it does not make you sick, so if milk makes you sick avoid it, milk in form of curds is not only as good but probably better as it is partially digested. Needless to say you should take balanced diet, but try not to be too stressed about it (and tell concerned people round you and in your family not to worry too much about it). You do not have to worry too much about nutrition at this stage of the pregnancy. There should be no force feeding and no restrictions. Food which does not bring on nausea is good food for you and vice versa. However nutritious a food maybe like milk or green vegetables, if it causes nausea in you please do not take it. As long as the food is not infected (bought from outside) it is ok however un-nutritious it may be. You do not have to eat too much. Whatever you are able to eat is good enough. Anything more if you force yourself will only cause vomiting. If you cannot eat anything at all even then it is ok as long as you do not get dehydrated so you must have a lot of fluids. Another common myth in pregnancy is that papaya causes an abortion, I do not know the origin of this myth but seems to be quite universal. Perhaps its capacity to cause a motion perhaps gives an impression that it will carry the fetus down somehow, there is no scientific proof in favour of that, in moderation it causes no harm and may actually be good in countering constipation if you have it.

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