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Good nutrition is the most important part of a healthy lifestyle. As it is said, health cannot be bought but needs to be earned. Pregnancy is that brief period where one should take the optimum care when it comes to nutrition because it’s not about you alone but also about a life growing inside you. I believe one need to prepare their body for pregnancy by leading a healthy lifestyle and having nutritious food, months before conceiving. This acts as a foundation of a healthy pregnancy. The major nutritional demand is in the first few weeks of the first trimester when many women don't even realize that they are pregnant. This is a very important time for fetal development. Hence your body should have all the nutrients while conceiving. Therefore it is advisable to visit your doctor before conceiving so that you start on folic acid before you conceive. Folic acid is very important in the first few months of pregnancy to avoid any deformities in the fetus.
Throughout the pregnancy, it is important to have a well-balanced diet. A well-balanced diet should comprise of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals and water. It should include food in appropriate quantity from all the food groups. It is very natural to feel hungry almost all the time when you are pregnant. After all, it’s hard work and raising a tiny human isn’t an easy job. However, the requirement of extra calories is only 300-400 calories in a day. A little increase in the serving size will fulfill the required calorie intake. However, the increased intake should not be fulfilled by eating fatty and junk food but should be done by taking a lot of proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating healthy does not mean eating more or less, it means eating right. The key nutrients which are must are protein, calcium, vitamin C, Iron and Folic acid. It is hence important to include diets containing these.
In my 24th week of pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It is a condition where mother develops high sugar levels during pregnancy. I freaked out on knowing this because this meant now I have to give up on my favorite ice-cream and other sweet cravings! Well, on a serious note I was also worried about my baby and the risks associated with gestational diabetes that could potentially harm my little one. It can happen to anyone but people who have a family history of type 2 diabetes, who are overweight and who have PCOS are more likely to have gestational diabetes. The only prevention is to exercise and eat healthily. It is treated with medicine, insulin injections (depending on your sugar levels) and a ‘diabetic diet’. With little research and help of my doctors, I could manage it pretty well. My gynecologist immediately referred me to a Diabetologist and then the journey began, Pregnancy with Gestational Diabetes! Apart from a medicine that I was required to take post lunch and dinner, my Diabetologist gave me a particular diet to follow. (I always dreaded restrictive eating). But the best part about this diet plan was it was so easy to follow and it was in no way meant to starve you. I would love to share the same with the mommies to be. Hope it proves to be beneficial.
P.S - You can add Chicken, Paneer, Tofu and any other sources of Protein in your lunch and dinner
The idea behind this diet plan is you eat something every two hours, thus maintaining your sugar levels and also to ensure that mommy to don't curb her hunger.
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting reasons to binge on every kind of food without any worries like of weight gain. This is because we are conditioned to believe that a pregnant woman must gain 10-15 kilos at least (otherwise what's the point in being pregnant). Although weight gain is encouraged in pregnancy, it depends on upon many other factors like your pre-pregnancy weight and whether you are carrying twins etc. If you are already overweight or obese you need not gain more than 2-3 kilos which are absolutely fine. As long as your baby is growing well, don't bother about your weight. If weight gain is appropriate, the body will store the good fats which will come to use while in labor and breastfeeding. If GD does not receive proper treatment, it increases the risk of pre-term labor. There are chances of the baby being larger than usual (fetal macrosomia) and having low blood sugar post birth.
With GD, you have to regularly keep checking your sugar levels and always maintain yourself with a good diet and any form of regular exercise. In my case, it was walking for 30min in the morning and evening or post dinner. You can check your sugar levels as per your doctor's advice. It is preferably done empty stomach in the morning which is popularly known as 'fasting' and post lunch after 2 hours known as 'PP'.
You don't have to stay hungry. You just have to eat the right stuff. There’s an old saying, “we are what we eat" but in pregnancy "A Baby is what a Mother eats". Hence choosing the most nutritious food helps in your fetal development. If you have not been doing it earlier, then this is the best time to start to live a healthy life. Remember, it’s never too late! And most importantly, do not worry! You are just going to be fine. Eat healthy, take a lot of rest; sleep as much as you can because you yet don’t know what roller coaster ride awaits you in future. Happy motherhood mommies!