Importance of Prenatal Nutrition
As it is rightly said %u2018Nutrition starts at Conception%u2019. Diet plays a vital role in physical and mental development of the child right from the conception. An expectant mother must make sure to follow the right diet.
There is much hyped misconception about following healthy dietary habits during pregnancy for benefit of her little one, but that%u2019s untrue. If a to be mother manages to follow a good and nutritionally adequate diet, it will in fact help her as well to achieve healthy weight gain, comfortable child birth and most importantly helping her body to prepare for post-delivery weight loss. A physically and mentally fit mother makes a happy and active child.
By following a healthy and balanced diet throughout her 9 months and 9 days of pregnancy will immensely benefit her unborn. Inclusion of foods from all the food groups will be an added benefit. The following content will help an expectant mother to make wise choices during her pregnancy, making sure she remains healthy throughout.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates form nearly 55 to 60% of total calorie consumption in Indian diets. They are majorly divided into two types i.e. Simple and Complex variants. A child bearer should opt for the complex carbohydrates in form of wholegrains like whole wheat, bajra, sorghum (jowar), finger millet (ragi / nachni), oats, etc. in her diet as they have higher fiber content with preserved vitamins and minerals. Simple carbohydrates majorly include more of refined products (maida, packaged foods), which should be used in limits or avoided throughout the pregnancy phase, as they do not provide any nourishment.
Proteins: Proteins are said to be the building blocks of the body, involved in steady metabolism and repair of the damaged tissues, making them an integral part of mother%u2019s and baby%u2019s nourishment. Consuming protein rich foods like eggs, low fat dairy, pulses, yogurts, soy and its products at least 3 to 4 times a day, helps optimise the recommended daily allowance (RDA) intake of protein per day. Vegetarian mothers have to be more careful and be innovative to make sure that their protein consumption is not compromised.
Fats: Fats play an important role in transporting Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K to liver. Fat intake should not be completely discouraged during pregnancy, since it is a concentrated form of energy and is actively involved in hormone making mechanism in the body. Fat intake is important, but within prescribed limits and there should be insistence on inclusion of good fats. Keeping diet restricted in bakery products, fried foods and junk foods will massively help in preventing inappropriate weight gain and also reducing the possibility of potential risk factors during & post pregnancy. Omega 3 fats present in walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, spinach should be taken as it tremendously helps in mental development of the growing baby.
Macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) intake through daily allowance will make sure an expectant mum gets her required nutrition. However, nutrients like Iron, calcium, folic acid, B complex vitamins also play a vital role in maintenance of healthy pregnancy. Daily allowance should be met by consuming green leafy vegetables, nuts, fresh fruits, etc.
Apart from getting daily calories allowance, it is equally important to stay hydrated. Water aids digestion, which helps to keep constipation at bay and also helps in maintaining optimal levels of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac.
Expectant mother should divide her meals in small and frequent portions to combat acidity, bloating which are most common troubles associated with pregnancy. She should highly be motivated to be physically active and get adequate rest as well.
A special attention should be given to keep salt and sugar intake to minimal, as they contribute to unnecessary weight gain and bloating. They are also known to delay the labour process.
Conclusion / Bottom line
Maternal Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy and blissful pregnancy. It is highly recommended to seek nutrition advice from a nutrition expert preferably before planning a child as a healthy diet will help in conception as well as during & post pregnancy.
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