National Nutrition Week 2020: 10 Diet Tips Pregnant Women Should Follow
National Nutrition Week 2020: It is essential for pregnant women to consume a healthy and nutrients rich diet. Here are some diet tips that can help pregnant women to ensure a healthy growth of the child.
National Nutrition Week 2020: Pregnant women must include important nutrients to their diet
- National Nutrition Week is observed from 1st to 7th September
- Pregnant women should ensure a a healthy diet
- Optimum nutrition play an important role in development of the baby
National Nutrition Week is observed during the first week of September. This week highlights the importance of multiple nutrients for the body and overall health. On the occasion of National Nutrition Week 2020 here are some diet tips for expecting mothers that they require during the delicate phase of pregnancy. A wholesome diet, moderate exercise, sound sleep and happy thoughts are prerequisites for a healthy pregnancy. It goes without saying that nutrition has a vital role in the prenatal, pregnant and postnatal period. For healthy development of the baby, it is crucial to add all necessary nutrients to the diet.
National Nutrition Week 2020: Diet tips for pregnant women
1. Folic Acid: A 400 mcg is the daily requirement during the preconception period i.e., at least for three months prior to getting pregnant. It is very important that this amount of folic acid is consumed to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus. Vitamin B complex helps in the optimum utilisation of folic acid and hence is equally important. Green leafy vegetables are also another rich source of folic acid.
2. The growing fetus needs carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and trace elements for adequate growth. A pregnant woman must focus on the type of food that she is consuming.
3. During pregnancy there is a tendency to develop physiological anemia as the plasma volume of the blood expands relative to the red blood cells. To counter this, during the antenatal visits they are prescribed iron supplements from the second trimester onwards.
4. Calcium and vitamin D supplements are also recommended. These play an important role in developing bones.
5. Due to the hormonal changes in pregnancy it is quite common to develop constipation. If the pregnant woman is on progesterone supplements to support her pregnancy, a fiber rich diet along with moderate amount of exercise helps her to overcome this problem.
6. Dairy products, lentils, cereals are rich in calcium. Green leafy vegetables especially drumstick leaves, spinach etc., figs, dates and organo-meats are a rich source of iron. The fruits, vegetables, whole grains are rich in fiber. As a thumb rule, pregnant women are advised to consume three types of fruits and three types of vegetables daily.
7. A pregnant woman has a tendency to develop heart burns and reflux esophagitis. They are encouraged to have small frequent meals which are less in oil and spices to counter this. Also, there is a tendency to develop gestational diabetes mellitus in few women. Such woman who are borderline diabetic or with impaired sugars are advised to follow a strict calorie count and monitor the sugars regularly.
8. Consuming alcohol and caffeine are discouraged during the entire period of pregnancy as they are not only worsening the gastritis but can affect the baby. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, still birth and a range of life long physical, behavioral and intellectual disabilities (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder). Recreational drugs and smoking also affect the fetus and are to be avoided.
9. Certain cheese (soft cheese), unpasteurized milk, refrigerated pate, meat spreads and seafood, unwashed raw fruits, vegetables may be contaminated with the bacteria called Listeria which can cause food poisoning.
10. As there is a fear of consuming pesticide residue in fruits and vegetables, it is always safe to stock on organically grown products. The Environmental Working Group releases a list of vegetables and fruits called 'Dirty Dozen' and 'Clean 15' annually based on the pesticide residue data gathered by the US Department of Agriculture. It is advisable to check them and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables in the 'Clean 15' and replace with organically grown ones for the 'Dirty Dozen'.
Overall an expecting mother has to not only focus on her nutrition for adequate growth of the baby but also on food hygiene during handling, preparing, storing and consuming foods to prevent food borne illness.
(Dr. Shashikala Ksheerasagar, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Vikram Hospital, Bangalore)
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