Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
During the most beautiful time of your life, should a woman worry about weight gain? Pregnancy is a cherished time in the life of every woman when she feels privileged to experience the joy of creating something within her. It’s a feeling that is accompanied by ample amounts of happiness. However, anxiety and pressure become the side effects. The reasons for the same can be traced to our social set-up as this is the same time when almost everyone – yes, everyone - around her, turns an avid advisor to her, especially when it comes to food intake and its impact on the unborn baby.
We all know that the mother and the baby are connected and it is the responsibility of the mother to not just nurture the baby but also nurture herself with the right kind of food that provides optimum nutrition to both. Physiological changes during pregnancy result in improved utilisation of nutrients either through increased absorption, decreased excretion, or alterations in metabolism. Hence, there is a stronger need to focus on the quality of food rather than quantity - simply because nutritious food will provide the baby with the right kind of nutrition it requires for its growth!
As a Clinical Nutritionist, when I handle cases of pregnant women, my prime focus is to make the mother aware of the nutrition-rich foods that will help in the foetus’ weight gain. The mother’s weight gain is also a hot topic of discussion in the first three months. In cases where I meet an obese mother, I insist they lose weight in the first trimester rather than gaining weight.
Fetal Weight Gain During Pregnancy:
In the initial stages of pregnancy, the baby grows at different rates. In the first trimester from 0.018 kilos to 0.22 kilos, in the second from 0.36 to 0.59 kilos and in the last from 1.66 to 3.68 kilos. Clearly the last trimester is when the maximum and rapid development of the baby happens, which means the mother needs to ensure she provides adequate nutrition for sustained growth.
Calorie and Nutrient Requirement For Healthy Fetal Growth:
During the 1st trimester, your major concern should be eating healthy and nutritious food and adding extra calories to your diet should be your priority in the 2nd trimester.
During the 2nd Trimester total calorie-intake should increase up to 300-350 Kcal/Day which is equivalent to 1 Cup rice+ 1/2 Cup Vegetables+ 1/2 Cup Curd + 1 Cup Salad
During the 3rd Trimester an extra 500 Kcal/Day is required, which can be met by adding an equivalent of 1 Cup Oats Porridge + 1 Fruit+ 2 Roti+ 1 cup Dal+ 1 cup Sabz and a handful of nuts to your diet.
If you were an overweight or obese woman before getting pregnant then we might need fewer calories and the focus would shift to higher quality foods:
Impact of various nutritional deficiencies in Infant:
“Mother Knows Best” is not just another phrase, it’s actually a reality. I always advise pregnant women to listen to their heart and do what’s best for their child since they are connected the most to their baby. Keep yourself well informed of what your child needs/will need after coming into this world.
Not to undermine the love of your family members - especially the elders in the family - but do not follow their advice blindly. The times in which they were born or when they gave birth were very different from today – when our lifestyle patterns, food quality and environment have changed. On top of this, each case is different – what suits one person may simply not suit another body system. Hence become an empowered woman, gather the wisdom and choose to shape your child in the right manner. After all pregnancy is a beautiful experience with a lifetime of memories for you to cherish. Happy eating, healthy eating!