This post is primarily intended to pregnant women and thoseplanning a pregnancy and their husbands and stems from the many queries that Ikeep having from pregnant and to be mums who want to do the best for theirbabies!Keeping healthy when you are having a baby depends on both the amountand the type of food you eat before you become pregnant and during your pregnancy.
To eat healthily, you should aim to do the following-
- Base your meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and wholegrainfoods like roti.
- Eat a low-fat diet and don’t increase the number of calories you eat. Eat aslittle fried food as possible and avoid drinks that are high in added sugars,and other foods such as sweets, cakes and biscuits that have a high fat orsugar content.
- Instead, eat fibre-rich foods such as oats, beans, lentils(dal), greenvegetables, grains and seeds,as well as wholegrain bread, roti, chappati, riceand wholemeal pasta.
- Eat some protein every day; choose chicken, fish, egg. Lentils, beans andtofu are also a good source of protein.
- Eat dairy foods for calcium but choose low-fat varieties such as skimmed milkor low-fat yogurt.
- Watch the portion size of your meals and snacks and note how often you eat.Do not ‘eat for two’.
- Always eat breakfast.
- Limit your caffeine intake to 200 milligrams (mg) per day, for example twomugs of instant coffee. Be aware that other drinks such as tea and energy drinks also contain caffeine.
Most women do not need any extra calories during the first six months ofpregnancy. It is only in the last 12 weeks that they need to eat a little more, and then only an extra 200 calories a day, which is roughly the same as two slices of bread or roti.
What is a ‘healthy’ weight?
You can find out your healthy weight from your BMI (body mass index). This is ameasure of your weight in relation to your height. A healthy BMI is above 18.5but below 25. Being overweight carries risks for you and your baby likediabetes , high Blood Pressure and poor wound healing at caesarean section. Italso increases the risk of blood clots developing in the legs during pregnancyand after delivery.
Being underweight increases the risk of your baby not growing as well as he orshe should. However, trying to lose weight by dieting during pregnancy is not recommended asit may harm the health of your unborn baby.
VITAMIN and MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS NEEDED IN PREGNANCY:
Folic acid is one of the B vitamins and helps to reduce the risk of your babyhaving spina bifida. Taking extra folic acid may also reduce the risk of heartor limb defects and some childhood brain tumours. The recommended daily dose is400 micrograms (μg). Ideally, you should start taking extra folic acid beforeyou conceive and continue to take it until you reach your 13th week ofpregnancy. If you did not take folic acid before you became pregnant, starttaking it as soon as you realise you are expecting a baby. You will need higherdoses of folic acid in some conditions like diabetes, epilepsy and if you havehad a previous baby with neurological problems.
Vitamin D and Calcium supplements as advised by your doctor - during pregnancyand breast feeding
Iron : if you are anaemic as advised by your doctor.
Thus in summary you should have a well balanced diet rich in proteins,carbohydrates , vitamins and low in fats. Have a healthy snack like fruits,brown bread, cereals , health drink like horlicks or complan in between threemajor meals. Never overstuff yourself and never skip your breakfast.