What should I eat when I am pregnant?

When you discover that you are pregnant – the first thing you begin to worry about is “What should I eat?”

And on the heels of that worry comes the question “How can I avoid becoming fat during pregnancy?”

What Should I Eat During Pregnancy?

If you are an expectant mom – remember three things about your diet

  1. Eat a balanced diet
  2. Eat just a little more every month
  3. Avoid junk food and over eating

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What Is The Best Diet For A Healthy Pregnancy?

If you are pregnant – your diet should contain all the nutrients in the right proportions.

Eat carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in every meal and do not forget about water. Every element in the diet is essential and irreplaceable.

Eat Carbohydrates During Pregnancy – They Provide Energy.

During pregnancy you require more energy. Energy is also required by the baby to grow, move around and build the placenta from which it derives its nutrition. Carbohydrates therefore are very important in a mother’s diet. About 6 servings of complex unrefined carbohydrates spread over the day are recommended. Examples of good carbohydrates are – whole wheat bread/roti, brown rice, ragi, and other millets, Avoid sweets, chocolates, cakes, white breads, pizza, pasta and other fast food

Eat Protein During Pregnancy – Proteins Are Building Blocks

Millions of new cells are produced during pregnancy. New cells are needed for the growth of the baby, the expansion of the uterus and the growth of the breast and placenta. All these cells require proteins.  The best proteins come from lean meat, egg, soya, pulses, milk and milk products like curd, paneer, cheese etc. It is best to eat a combination of carbohydrates and proteins in every meal.

Eat Fats During Pregnancy – Fats Build The Brain

Fats make up the outer covering of the new cells. The baby’s brain is also made up of fat as are certain vital chemical messengers. Fats therefore must definitely be part of your pregnancy diet. Fats are required throughout pregnancy but especially so in the last three months when the baby’s brain is growing rapidly. Fats in fact are also very important components of breast milk and are essential to fuel the growth of the brain in the newborn. Ingesting 30 g of unsaturated visible fat every day is the universal recommendation through pregnancy. Oils from seeds – like Olive oil, peanut oil, Sunflower oil etc are best. Nuts like almonds, walnuts and peanuts are also very good sources of good fats. It is best to avoid large quantities of saturated fat like butter, ghee etc. because they are not useful for the baby and only contribute to weight gain for you.

Eat Vitamins And Minerals During Pregnancy – They Are Required For Everything

Vitamins and minerals are very important for the growth of the baby and their absence or deficiency at any stage can compromise the growth of the baby’s organs. In severe cases vitamin deficiency can cause congenital malformations and stillbirths.  The vitamins and minerals present in the diet may be insufficient to meet the needs of the mother and baby and so supplements in the form of tablets are usually prescribed by doctors. Remember to follow your doctor’s prescription.

Drink Water During Pregnancy – Every Cell Needs Water

During pregnancy millions of new cells are formed. And 70% of each of these cells is made up of water. Water is therefore an absolutely essential part of your diet when you are pregnant. Water in fact is essential for every element in the diet to actually work. All the nutrients that you eat are transported to your baby by water. Make sure you constantly sip water throughout the day. Drink half a glass of water every hour. Without water you are likely to suffer from constipation and feel very uncomfortable.

How Much Should I Eat When I Am Pregnant?

If you are pregnant – you are definitely eating for two. The first person you are eating for is yourself and the second person is the baby you are carrying in your womb.

Over a period of time you have discovered how much food you need to eat for yourself. So, when you worry – you worry about the food your baby needs to eat.

To understand how much you should eat – understand that your baby measures just two inches at the end of the first three months, and grows to eight inches in the next three months. And finally, just before you deliver, your baby weighs a maximum of 3.5 kilos. The growth is gradual and as your baby grows he/she requires a little more food in every trimester. Your baby certainly does not have the appetite or requirements of a grown adult and so you definitely do not need to eat twice as much food the moment the pregnancy test comes positive.

The food you eat in fact is actually required by you. You are now the baby producing unit and you need nutrients to grow your uterus, your breasts and your placenta. So eat what your body asks for and eat as much as your body asks for. In other words – eat when you are hungry. Do not force yourself to eat more because you are pregnant.

How Much Food Should I Eat In The First Trimester Of Pregnancy?

The first three months are not an easy time for most Mothers. And morning sickness in the form of nausea and vomiting can make life miserable. Fortunately, during this time just 85 extra calories and 1gm of extra protein are enough. Do not worry about starving your baby unless you are vomiting too much. Eat as much as you can. Do not force yourself to eat double. No one puts on weight during the first three months of pregnancy. In fact it is alright to even lose some weight at first. Keep checking with your doctor. And remember to take the Folic acid and other Vitamins that your doctor prescribes.

How Much Food Should I Eat During The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy?

Between the fourth and sixth month of pregnancy – you will accumulate fat stores in your body. You will begin to feel hungry all the time and eat much more than you did. At this time – keep nutritious snacks available all the time and eat whenever you feel hungry. Eat every 1 and half to two hours. You will find yourself putting on weight – but don’t worry. The fat reserves you are accumulating will be lost when you breastfeed your baby.


How Much Food Should I Eat In The Last Trimester Of Pregnancy?

In the last three months the baby starts growing rapidly to reach its final size. Although you need more food at this time – you may not be able to eat as much because the baby now occupies your whole abdomen and there is hardly any space for your stomach. Towards the later part of pregnancy – the calorie requirement jumps to 350 extra calories every day. The protein requirement increases as well and goes up to 23 extra grams per day by the end of the pregnancy. This requirement still does not equal a double sized meal. So take it easy and eat as much as you can – but eat more frequently. In other words – eat small frequent meals.


How Can I Avoid Becoming Fat During Pregnancy?

Many women are terrified that pregnancy will make them irrevocably fat and this fear often pushes them into reckless dieting. But dieting during pregnancy can be dangerous. Never follow a weight loss diet without consulting your doctor. Your attempt to keep your weight down can result in your baby not having enough nutrients to develop its organs properly.

If you are pregnant – you will put on between 10 -14 kilos during your pregnancy. Your body will accumulate fat between the third to the sixth month to ensure that it has nutrients to sustain the baby even if no food comes its way in later months. Starving will lead to even more fat accumulation as the body stores fat to get over periods when you are starving.

If you want to avoid excess weight gain avoid eating junk food. Stick to whole foods and healthy traditional Indian food. If you eat a healthy diet during pregnancy and put on a moderate amount of weight, you will lose all the weight during breastfeeding.

Every Mother wants a healthy baby and babies certainly want healthy mothers. Resolve to strike the right balance.

Read more on pregnancy diet plans here

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