Daily Diet for Pregnant Women
Have something from each of these four main food groups every day:
- Fruit and vegetables, which can be fresh, frozen, or canned. Try to have five portions a day. A glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice is one portion.
- Starchy, filling foods (carbohydrates), such as whole-grain bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes. Plan your meals around these. Whole-grain options will fill you up and help prevent constipation.
- Two to three servings of extra-lean meats, chicken without the skin, fish, or cooked dried beans and peas. Protein-rich foods such as eggs, legumes (kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, and lentils, for example), and nuts. These are also good sources of iron
- Eight glasses of water
The guidelines for eating well for a healthy pregnancy are simple and easy to follow. When, where, and how much she eats is flexible, and often is governed by necessity.
A pregnant woman in her first trimester might choose a snack for breakfast and a large evening meal if she suffers from morning sickness, but select a larger breakfast and a light evening meal in the last trimester when heartburn is more of a problem.
- Since no safe limit has been established for alcohol, abstinence is a woman's best bet.
- Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, which contain calcium.
- It's especially important to include enough protein, iron, and calcium in your diet. Try to eat one or more of these sources of iron every day:
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Green vegetables
- Avoid having tea and coffee with your meals, as these drinks contain tannins and polyphenols, which make it harder for your body to absorb iron from vegetables. However, if you have food or any drink that's rich in vitamin C with your meals, such as orange juice or broccoli, it helps your body absorb iron.
- You'll have several blood tests during pregnancy to check your iron levels. If your healthcare provider finds that you're too low in iron, iron supplements may be prescribed.
- Dairy foods are the best source of calcium, so try to have at least three servings of dairy foods a day. These could be:
- Milk on your breakfast cereal
- Yogurt with your lunch
- A matchbox-size piece of cheese after dinner
- Skim and low-fat milk contain as much calcium as whole milk.
- If you don't eat dairy products, you can get calcium from these - although it's harder for your body to absorb calcium from them:
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens
- Sesame seeds, nuts, and dried fruit
- Tofu and calcium-fortified soy products, such as soy milk and yogurt
- If you don't eat dairy foods at all – for example, if you're vegan – you may need to take a supplement. However, you should talk to a midwife, doctor, or dietitian before taking supplements in pregnancy.
- Fish oils contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that help with the development of your unborn baby's eyes and brain. Very few vegetarian foods contain the essential omega-3 fats that the body can convert into long-chain omega-3 fats. Walnuts and flax seeds are about the nearest you can get.
- So if you don't eat fish, you may want to take a fish oil supplement or a prenatal vitamin that contains fish oils. However, don't take supplements made from fish liver, such as cod liver oil. These contain the retinol form of vitamin A, which may harm your unborn baby.
Diet for Breastfeeding Mother
- Adequate nutrition during lactation period is very important, as the mother needs to meet her increased nutrient requirement along with that of her growing infant
- Nursing mother should always take sufficient food to ensure a good store of nutrients for sufficient production of breast milk.
- A balanced diet suitable for a breastfeeding mother shall contain the same kind of food as those recommended during pregnancy, but slightly increased quantities.
- Apart from sufficient intake of calories and proteins, a breastfeeding mother should take adequate amount of calcium rich foods like milk & its product, sesame seeds (til), ragi and iron rich foods like bajra, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds (til), raisins, jaggery, chidwa (Rice flakes) etc.
- Daily consumption of 1/2 to 1 litre of milk in any form e.g., as curd, yoghurt, paneer, kheer etc. provides adequate calcium and good quality protein.
- A breastfeeding mother should eat variety of foods from all food groups like cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, meat/ egg, milk and its products, ghee/oil and sugar/jaggery.
- Consumption of small, frequent meals at an interval of 2 to 3 hours during the day is preferred. Skipping meals should be avoided.
- Drinking about 10-12 glasses of water prevents dehydration among mothers.
- Going for a brisk walk is not only good for the mother’s health but it also helps in weight management
- Limit intake of high fat, salt and sugar rich foods like burgers, pastries, biscuits, carbonated beverages etc.