How To Maintain A Healthy Diet During Pregnancy

Gunjan Lal
August 27, 2016
Views : 848
How To Maintain A Healthy Diet During Pregnancy

Vitamins and mineral play a vital role in the normal functioning of our bodies. It's only logical that it becomes all the more crucial during pregnancy. A wholesome diet of a pregnant woman should include many different food varieties such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats, and carbohydrates. These serve as proper nutrients required for the development of a healthy baby as well as the health of the mother. Having said that, you should also keep in mind that it is also important to take an appropriate amount of these minerals and vitamins during pregnancy. So here's a list of important nutrients that are important for you to consume during pregnancy.

Role of Vitamins in Pregnancy

Vitamin A & Beta Carotene

Both Vitamin A as well as betacarotene provides assistance in the development of bones and teeth. If you are pregnant then you require approximately 770 mcg of vitamin A and beta carotene to be included in your diet. These nutrients are mainly present in milk, eggs, carrots, pumpkin, potatoes, cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, green, yellow & orange vegetables, and yellow & orange fruits. Other foods items such as salmon and fortified breakfast cereals are a good source of vitamin A. Although a research suggested that the deficiency of vitamin A is very rare in newly born babies and mothers. Vitamin A is known for aiding a healthy reproductive system. For malnourished pregnant women vitamin A proves to be effective in reducing problems during and after pregnancy. A deficiency of this vitamin may cause xerophthalmia (a condition which causes abnormal dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea of your eye, with an inflammation and ridge formation) in pregnant women and may increase the risk of anemia, and could also lead to slow growth of the infant.

Vitamin B1 (or Thiamin)

Vitamin B1 also known as Thiamin is required to increase energy levels and regulate your nervous system. A deficiency of vitamin B in pregnant women may cause Infantile Beriberi in the infant baby. Infantile Beriberi is a disease which is quite well-known among malnourished infants in undeveloped countries but it is rare in developed countries. Our country lies somewhere between underdeveloped and developed so there might be chances of infants being affected by this disease. This disease can occur if a lactating mother has an inadequate intake of Vitamin B1. Low levels of thiamin may also cause an inflammation of the nerves outside of the brain (or peripheral neuritis).

It is present in wheat germ, fortified cereals, whole grain cereals, kidney beans, brussels sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, green peas, legumes, pasta, nuts, rice, organ meats, and eggs. If you're on the family way then you need approximately 1.4 mg of Thiamin in your diet. A tip - Do not overcook your food and do not refrigerate for food for a long duration as it can destroy this vitamin.

Vitamin B2 (or Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 also known as Riboflavin aids in the maintenance of healthy skin, proper energy levels, and good eyesight. It is mainly found in all kinds of dairy products, as well as eggs, meat, poultry, fish, broccoli, mushrooms, dried peas, avocado, millet, beans, green leafy vegetables (like spinach and asparagus), and fortified cereals. You are required to include approximately 1.4 mg of Riboflavin or vitamin B2 in your diet. This vitamin is vital for a healthy pregnancy, as this too ensures the development of the body tissues and reproductive organs.

Vitamin B3 (or Niacin)

Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin promotes healthy digestion and nerves. This Vitamin is present mainly in protein-rich food, legumes, brown rice, potatoes, curd, eggs, peanuts, cheese, bread, fortified cereals, barley, oats, meat, fish, and milk. It's not required just for healthy digestion and nerves but it also promotes and helps in maintaining healthy skin. You need about 18 mg of vitamin B3 is to be present in your diet during pregnancy.

Vitamin B6 (or Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 also known as Pyridoxine helps expecting mothers to overcome morning sickness, vomiting, and nausea. It helps in the formation of Red Blood Cells (RBCs). It also assists in the brain development of the baby during the pregnancy and also helps in upgrading the immune system. Vitamin B6 can be found in eggs, fish, poultry, liver, soybeans, beans, broccoli, peas, carrots, cantaloupe, cabbage, cauliflower, soya bean, banana, spinach, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, cereals, whole grains, brown rice, peanuts, walnuts, oats, and bran. Among the major sources of vitamin B6 are starchy vegetables such as potatoes and fruits that are non-citrus. A mother to be needs approximately 1.9 mg of vitamin B6 to be present in her daily diet.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid or Folate)

Vitamin B9 helps in preventing Neural Tube Defects (NTD) such as spina bifida (a kind of birth defect in which a developing newborn's spinal cord fails to develop in a proper manner). A deficiency of Folic acid may lead to undesired abnormalities in the baby as well as the mother.

Folic Acid helps to support the placenta. Deficiency of this vitamin may also lead to anemia, and show symptoms such as headaches, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, difficulty in concentrating and irritability. Folic acid is present in green leafy vegetables (such as spinach) and other foods like broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, peas, beetroot, legumes, margarines, beans, bread, brown rice, strawberries, orange (or orange juice), banana, nuts, pasta, and fortified cereals. You need to include about 400 to 600 mcg of Vitamin B9 in your diet if you're expecting. A note - Folic Acid should be taken before conception.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps in the neurological development of the baby in the womb. It also aids in the formation of blood cells. Deficiency of vitamin B12 during pregnancy can cause health issues in both the mother and the infant. Some of these issues include resistance to insulin (for children who are about six years old), poor brain development, intra-uterine growth, and anemia. Other abnormalities like the Neural Tube Defects (NTD) in the infant or even a pre-term delivery may be caused because of a deficiency of this vitamin. Some of the best and richest sources of these Vitamins are animal products & dairy products such as yogurt, milk tuna, trout fish, ham, and poultry. An expecting mother needs approximately 2.6 mcg of vitamin B12 in her daily diet.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to enhance the immunity of your body. It also helps your body to absorb iron properly. Moreover, it is an antioxidant which functions to protect the tissues from damage. Some of the food varieties that are good sources of vitamin C are strawberries, papaya, green beans, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes, and bell peppers. The most common and well-known sources vitamin C are all citrus fruits. You need almost 80 to 85 mg of vitamin C in your diet if/when you're pregnant. A lack of vitamin C can cause Barlow disease which is a heart valve's abnormality, this condition can be associated with palpitations and/or fatigue in the newborn baby.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the antirachitic vitamin that benefits in the formation of the teeth and bones. It helps your body to use phosphorus & calcium and in turn, safeguarding the mother as well as the fetus. Approximately 5mcg of vitamin D is necessary to be included in the diet of pregnant women. It is essentially found in eggs, meat, milk, margarine, soy products, fish (especially fatty fish), powder milk and the most common one - natural sunlight.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is well known for its antioxidant properties. It is used by your body's cells for carrying out important functions of the body. It helps in strengthening the immune system and aids in the widening of blood vessels. It is beneficial for the treatment of neonatal jaundice or newborn jaundice, Intra Uterine Growth Retardation (or IUGR), and toxemia of pregnancy (toxemia means the poisoning of blood by toxins from a local bacterial infection). You need to have approximately 15 mg of vitamin E intake if you are pregnant. It is basically found in vegetable oil, spinach, fortified cereals, wheat germ, and nuts.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is beneficial in treating problems related with blood clotting. It helps in averting neonatal hemorrhaging in infant babies as well. Sprout, leafy green vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, fish, meat, and eggs are excellent sources of Vitamin K. You are required to have approximately 90 mcg of vitamin K in your diet if you are expecting.

The regular and appropriate intake of these vital vitamins that have been listed above will assist you greatly in being healthy during pregnancy and proper development and growth of your precious unborn baby. However, keep in mind that excess amounts of these vitamins without proper guidance by a healthcare professional or your doctor should be avoided at all costs.

Role Of Important Minerals In Pregnancy

Iron

Anemia is one disease that women get vulnerable to when they're expecting. Iron diminishes the risk of maternal anemia, as well as low birth weight, and general iron deficiency. It also prevents you from premature delivery, developmental delays in your baby, low birth weight, and cognitive impairment. Some research studies suggest that around 27 mg of iron is required to be included the diet by pregnant women. Iron is mainly present in meat, tuna, chicken liver, oysters, beans, oatmeal, spinach, turnip, sprouts, lentils, legumes, broccoli, bread, and soybeans.

Protein

Proteins help in repairing the cells and also assist in the production of amino acids. Proteins are needed by your body in order to maintain good health, skin, healthy bones, and muscles. They are present abundantly in eggs, animal foods, dairy products, meats, poultry, beans, legumes, nuts, and vegetable burgers. Pregnant women should consume approximately 71 mg of protein in their diet regularly.

Zinc

Zinc is included among those essential nutrients that are necessary by our bodies in order to maintain good health. It is especially required during pregnancy and the early days of your baby for her or his proper growth and development. Zinc has amazing wound healing properties and it plays a vital role in the development of proper senses of taste and smell in your baby. Deficiency of zinc during the period of pregnancy can lead to a poor immune system and an even poorer pregnancy outcome. Therefore, including zinc in your diet in extremely important for pregnant women.

Zinc can be found in oats, nuts, red meat, fortified cereals, poultry, whole grains, turnip, ginger roots, beans, pumpkin seeds, peas, peanuts, and dairy products. You should have almost 8 mg of zinc if and when you are expecting.

Calcium

Calcium is required by everyone but it is especially essential for pregnant women. It is known by us all that iron helps tremendously in the formation of strong bones and teeth. It also helps in the positive functioning of your nerves and muscles and stops the blood from clotting. Almost 1000 to 1300 mg of calcium is required to be included in the diet of pregnant women.

Calcium is present abundantly in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheddar cheese. Besides dairy products calcium is present in tofu, nuts, cereals, bread, juices, black eyed peas & green peas, and calcium-fortified foods like soy milk, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and canned fish (with bones).

Gunjan Lal

Gunjan Lal

Hi! I’m Gunjan, a self-proclaimed tea fanatic and intrigued with alternative ways to lead a healthy life. I firmly believe that we should take care of our bodies because it’s the only place we live in.

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