A Guide To Healthy Diet During Pregnancy
10 Min Read
It is well-known that your body needs much more nutrition during pregnancy. Nutrition sufficiency is taking a healthy balanced diet that provides your body with the essential nutrients to fuel your body for the growth and development of your baby.
The cycle of nutrition requirements starts from the womb and continues throughout life.
Pregnancy is a phase when a body undergoes many physical and hormonal changes. The nutritional requirement increases during pregnancy because the food taken by the mother is responsible for fulfilling the baby's and the mother's dietary needs.
Table of Contents
1. Spike in Nutritional Requirement
2. Concept of My Pregnancy Plate
3. Meet Your Nutrition Goal The Right Way!
- Let Us Create Some Nutrition Goals for You
4. Special Tips
5. Dietician’s Recommendation
6. The Final Say
Spike in nutrition requirement
It is no surprise that your body's nutritional requirement doubles during pregnancy. Making healthy food choices every day will help you deliver the necessary nutrition required by the baby for growth.
During pregnancy, you should nourish your body with all the extra micronutrients & macronutrients to support your body and your baby. Vitamins and minerals come under Micronutrients, which are to be taken in small amounts. For the much-needed calories or energy, you should include Macronutrients, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Concept of My Pregnancy Plate
A healthy diet and physical activity are the two most important things during pregnancy.
After the 3rd trimester, walking and moving a lot becomes very challenging. But with a healthy diet and activity regime, you can eliminate these challenges. As your body faces many hormonal changes in the 1st trimester, it becomes challenging to deal with them.
The concept of “My Pregnancy Plate” covers all five food groups in a balanced diet so that all your essential nutrient requirements are easily fulfilled.
Let us give you a dietitian's view on the pregnancy plate concept;
Whole Grains And Cereals
The pregnancy plate concept should fill 1∕4 of the plate with whole grains or cereals. Whole grains include wheat, brown rice, ragi, jowar, bajra, quinoa or oats.
Half of your daily grains requirement should be fulfilled by whole grain as it contains fibre, vitamins, and nutrients. As per RDA for pregnant women, 6-11 servings of whole grains and cereals should be a part of your daily diet.
Fruits And Vegetables
You should fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Choose a variety of whole fruits instead of juices as they are dense in nutrients and rich in micronutrients like fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc., which are essential for the baby's growth and development.
Choose a significant portion of non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, carrots, peppers, or cabbage.
As per RDA, pregnant women should ideally include 2-3 servings of fruits and 4-6 servings of vegetables per day in their daily diet during pregnancy.
It is an essential macronutrient required for the growth and maintenance of our body and the baby's development. Protein is highly present in food like pulses, legumes, milk and milk products, eggs, meat, poultry, etc.
As per RDA for pregnant women, four servings of dairy products in your daily diet and three servings of other protein sources like pulses, legumes, eggs, poultry, meat, etc. should be a part of your daily diet.
Fats And Oils
They are recommended in small amounts for daily cooking. Instead, you should include nuts and seeds for healthy fats. As per RDA, you should include 4-6 servings of fats, oils, and nuts in the daily diet. Avoid the over-consumption of sugars and sweets.
Always choose healthier options and less quantity of sweets and sugars in your diet whenever you have cravings.
Meet Your Nutrition Goal, The Right Way!
As an expecting mother, your main goal is to eat sufficiently, selecting from various food groups. There are minor differences between regular healthy eating and healthy eating when you are pregnant. It is even more straightforward when you apply the theory of “Thinking for two versus eating for one.”
Increase your calories with time. For the 1st trimester, eat as you usually would and gradually increase to 350 calories per day when your 2nd trimester starts. For the 3rd trimester, shift to 550 calories per day because your baby is growing faster in this period.
It is advised that an expecting mother should avoid the overconsumption of processed junk food like chips and soda as they have no nutritional value. You and your growing baby will benefit highly from fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, beans, or lentils.
You must balance your diet with the essential mix of nutritious food and some of your favourite junk food. The intake of vitamins and minerals is necessary.
Let Us Create Some Nutrition Goals for You
- Add folic acid to your daily diet, a type of vitamin B which helps prevent specific congenital disabilities. You usually should intake 400 mcg per day, but when you are expecting, increase the intake to 600 mcg per day. That can be either from food or from folic acid supplements.
- For your baby’s growth and brain development, you should increase the iron intake in your daily diet. Your body's iron requirement is more than usual when you are pregnant. The formation of blood for your baby & your blood level in the body also increases. The daily requirement of iron in pregnancy is 27 mg per day.
- Calcium is an essential nutrient as it is crucial in building your baby's bones and teeth. You are reducing the risk of preeclampsia, which causes high blood pressure or increases the protein content in urine. You should add 1000-1300 mg of calcium to your diet per day.
- Vitamin D plays a significant role in the absorption of calcium absorption and thus helps build the baby's bones and teeth. The daily vitamin D requirement for all women, irrespective of pregnancy, is 600 IU (international units).
Protein is a macronutrient and plays a vital role in the growth and development of tissues and muscles of your baby. The protein requirements increase as the baby grows. It is widely available in natural foods like beans, peas, eggs, lean meats, seafood, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Carbohydrates are the primary energy sources widely available in whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, pulses, legumes, etc. Approx 70 % of calories should come from carbohydrates daily.
- Fats are essential nutrients that comprise multiple health benefits. Pregnant women should consume approx 30% of calories daily.
- During pregnancy, the requirement for water increases to support the life inside you. Hydration is another crucial point of consideration in pregnancy. Should include water intake in a generous quantity in your daily regime. You can take up to 10 glasses of plain water, or else you can also have detox waters, infused waters, juices, soups, etc.
Practice mindful eating
Choose satisfying and nourishing food, sit at the dining table and always eat in a relaxed atmosphere as it will provide you with more satiety.
Staying hydrated is very important. You should at least drink 3-4 litres of water per day.
Be Physically Active
Exercise daily or at least five days a week. The endless benefits of being physically active are well-known to everyone nowadays.
You can do many activities per your fitness coach’s guidance, like walking, brisk walking, light yoga, and light stretching during pregnancy.
It is advised to start initially with 5 or 10 minutes a day during the first trimester and gradually increase the timings up to 30 or 45 minutes according to your body’s capacity.
In my experience as a dietitian, I have come across many expecting mothers, who understand the importance of nutrition and healthy eating every day, especially during pregnancy. The information available on the internet on different websites and platforms has raised awareness on the aspects of diet.
Still, executing it can be challenging as the abundance of information is sometimes more confusing than helpful. We advise you to consult a dietitian for the proper guidance.
The requirements for nutrients vary widely and increase gradually during all three trimesters. It also depends on individual bodies in pregnancy. Therefore, I plan a different plate for every trimester for each client.
The outcomes were genuinely beneficial for them. It is why I suggest you opt for my pregnancy plate concept for pregnancy and have a discussion with your health expert about it.
The Final Say
For all women seeking the proper guidance during pregnancy, “My Pregnancy Plate concept” can be an essential tool.
Nutrients are substances in foods that are essential for our bodies to function. Pregnancy is that period which makes you aware of the importance of nutrition and its post effects on your health.
It is healthy eating with proper nutrition intake for the essential growth of you and your baby. My pregnancy plate is a simple healthy diet amplified to benefit two individuals.
Pregnancy often motivates women to improve their diet and lifestyle so that the pregnancy can be healthy. A healthy balanced diet will provide all essential nutrients to you and your baby. The food you eat is the primary source of nourishment for the baby. Therefore, getting all the nutrients is necessary so that the development is good. In pregnancy, nutrition is more important than any other thing.
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