By Bharathi NR, HOD Dietetics and Nutrition, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road
Pregnancy is a beautiful phase of a woman’s life. She has to be more careful about herself as there is a new life inside her. During pregnancy the mother is responsible for the health of the baby and herself. Therefore, it is important for the mother to consume healthy food which provides the required nutrition for herself and the baby. Also, as mother’s body goes through various change in this period, consuming the right kind of food is crucial.
For a healthy pregnancy, the mother’s diet needs to have a balanced nutrition which involves the consumption of right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and consuming a wide variety of vegetables, and fruits. A woman’s calorie intake grows during pregnancy. This does not mean that she is eating for two. During pregnancy, a woman’s body absorbs iron more efficiently and blood volume increases. Therefore, it is important that she consumes more iron rich food which could increase body’s ability to process oxygen and make her feel more energetic. Hence, it is necessary to understand the type of food which needs to be consumed and the one’s that need to be avoided during pregnancy. The type of food and the way you consume it may impact the health of the baby and the mother.
Food which needs to be avoided during pregnancy:- Processed food – Processed food or junk food is generally low in nutrients and high in calories, sugar, and added fats. While some weight gain is required during pregnancy, excess weight gain has been linked to many complications like gestational diabetes, hypertension etc. Alcohol – Alcohol increases the risk of miscarriage and still birth. Also, it can increase the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves facial deformities, heart defects and intellectual disability. Limit caffeine intake – A cup of coffee always helps in lifting your mood. But excess intake of caffeine during pregnancy can pose risk to the foetus. Raw eggs – Raw eggs can be contaminated with a kind of bacteria called Salmonella. Infection with these bacteria can lead to fever, diarrhea. vomiting and may aggravate to cramps in the uterus, leading to premature birth or stillbirth. Undercooked meat and food – Under cooked meat can be the breading ground for the bacteria and pathogens. It can lead to food poisoning and stomach upset. Undercooked food is also difficult to get digested. Select the right fish – Avoid high-mercury fish including shark, swordfish, tuna, and marlin.
It is advised that you consult your nutritionist and gynaecologist for the right diet during pregnancy. It is crucial to consume nutrient-rich food for the overall development of mother and child.