[This blog does not intend on overriding an advice of a doctor or medical expert. I am just a mother sharing my experiences related to healthy eating. Consult your doctor before adopting any action plan for food and exercise during pregnancy.]
The entire 9 months of pregnancy is a golden period of one's life. You are showered with congratulations and care. I was the apple of my husband's eye and was utmost loved and pampered by my family. All this is like a beautiful dream and very much necessary for the emotional needs of a "to be" mother. But in our society, taking care of a pregnant women directly equates to feeding her "more" food which is high in "fats" and "cholesterol". The culprits are often our near and dear ones - usually a mother, grand-mother or mother-in-law to whom one feels bad to say no.
You will often hear people saying "Now that you are expecting, you should eat for two".
"Wait a minute here, I m not two yet and why should I eat more if I am not hungry?"
That's right, you need to increase the quality and choose the right food. The quantity still should be decided by your hunger instinct and not by the fact that you would be two someday. The average increase in weight calculated for the entire 9 months is 15-17 kgs for a women with a weight of 55-60 kgs. Again it may differ from person to person, consult your gynecologist on this at the very beginning and get the numbers right.
The first three months of pregnancy are very critical, because of the delicate condition of the fetus and hence it is very much necessary to follow a proper diet plan right from the start.
Presenting below the diet plan followed by me throughout the 9 months.
1. Fish and boiled eggs - These are protein rich foods and contains omega-3 fats which are very important for the brain and vision development of the baby. Daily diet should include one boiled egg, fish can be consumed once or twice a week or more if you like. But again you need to be careful about the mercury content in the fish.
2. Meat - It is very high in protein. But go for the lean meat i.e. you should trim the extra fats before consuming.
[Being a non-vegetarian I am not sure about the substitute for vegetarians here.]
3. Sprouted beans like moong, moth beans (matki), chana etc thoroughly cooked. Have it plain boiled instead of a sabji or curry.
4. Dry fruits like almonds, dates and walnuts. Walnuts are again rich in omega-3 fats. Minimize intake of cashews and pistachio as they yield lesser nutritional value than their counterparts.
5. Fruit juices or fresh fruits and veggies - Go for a combination of different colors like yellow, green, red as each color group provides different vitamins and minerals.
6. Spinach, beetroot and tomato, basically veggies containing high amount of iron and folate. Its best to take them raw or boiled or in the form of a soup rather than having it as a vegetable or curry. In the later months of pregnancy this is very much helpful to maintain the hemoglobin levels which are bound to decrease.
7. Milk and milk products to satisfy your need of calcium.
Include the above food items in your regular breakfast, lunch, dinner or mid -day snacks as per your liking. Also it helps to eat small to moderate sized meals at regular intervals. Eating healthy does not mean you need to suppress your cravings. Ultimately its the only time to get yourself pampered, but just be careful. My doctor had completely supported my craving for pani-puri, provided its cooked at home.
Though its said you can eat anything and everything, there are certain foods which should be consumed as minimal as possible or rather avoided.
1. Food containing high amount of ghee and sugar. Consuming ghee everyday for a smooth delivery is a myth.
2. Unripe or semi-ripe papaya or basil (sabja) seeds as it contains latex which can be unsafe.
3. Food cooked by over heating the oil as it directly converts into trans fat which is not good for health. Hence better to avoid outside food completely.
4. Caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee
5. Aerated drinks like pepsi, soda or drinks containing alcohol.
Remember that healthy eating achieves strong body and fresh mind and believe me, that's a dire need when you step into the later months.