The Complete Guide to a Healthy Diet for Pregnant Women by Dr. Komal Bhadu
Diet during pregnancy plays a significant role in the baby's development. There are certain foods pregnant ladies must avoid and some foods that are a must during pregnancy. Know what a healthy diet for pregnant women is with renowned doctor Komal Bhadu.
- During pregnancy, consuming dairy products, dals, fruits, and veggies is a must
- Pregnant ladies must strictly avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
- Experts advise avoiding raw meats, eggs or sprouts during pregnancy
Most women often wonder what the ideal diet for pregnant women should be. However, there is no fixed diet chart for pregnant women. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the key components which help pregnant women stay healthy during pregnancy are:
- A balanced diet
- Appropriate weight gain
- Exercising regularly
- Timely vitamin and mineral supplementation
To delve into the details of what an ideal diet for pregnant women should look like, we spoke to Dr. Komal Bhadu, a renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist with special expertise in laparoscopy and IVF. So, let's try to understand proper nutrition and food for pregnant women with Dr. Bhadu to ensure a healthy pregnancy for all the lovely moms-to-be!
Healthy Diet for Pregnant Women
The urge to snack is common for pregnant women as you are eating food for two. Nevertheless, finding the right balance to ensure a nutritious diet is vital to keep your tummy and baby happy and healthy. When preparing a diet chart during pregnancy, try to make your pantry a one-stop shop consisting of delicious and healthy food.
According to Dr. Bhadu, "Having a balanced diet is crucial during pregnancy. A healthy diet for pregnant women means consuming dairy, poultry, pulses, and dal. To fulfil food cravings, pregnant women can also have cheese and lassi."
Basic principles of eating healthy, like increasing fruit and vegetable intake and consuming whole grains, healthy fats and protein, remain the same. However, some special advice for diet for pregnant women includes nutrient consumption. Take a look at these essential nutrients for pregnant women mentioned below:
Folic acid and folate
Help to prevent brain and spinal cord birth problems
Strengthens the bones
Helps to build your baby's teeth and bones
Aids in proper growth of the foetus
Helps to prevent anaemia
Food for Pregnant Women
Let's try to understand which food sources will provide you with all the essential nutrients mentioned above.
- Foods with folate or folic acid content: Cereal, spinach, beans, asparagus, peanuts and oranges
- Calcium-rich foods: Juice, cheese, milk, salmon, yoghurt and spinach
- Vitamin D-rich foods: Eggs, fish, milk, orange juice
- Protein-rich foods: Poultry, fish, lentils, peanut butter, eggs and cottage cheese
- Iron-rich foods: Oats, spinach, beans, poultry and meat
In addition, if you are a conscious mom thinking of having only plant-based sources of protein and fibre, experts recommend including legumes. Foods like black beans and lentils can be added to the diet for pregnant women. Some legumes are also high in iron, magnesium and potassium, so you and your baby can remain healthy.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
According to Dr. Bhadu, "Pregnant ladies strictly need to avoid eating Chinese food as it contains monosodium glutamate (MSG). This chemical compound can cause harm to the brain development of your baby." Foods that are high in MSG include canned soups or salty snacks. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one should not consume sodium in excess. The recommended quantity of sodium consumption for adults is 2,300 milligrams per day. 
In addition, if you have complications like gestational hypertension, your doctor might suggest a different consumption limit. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor who can help to set up a proper diet for pregnant women.
According to Dr. Bhadu, "Controlling unhealthy food cravings is crucial for pregnant women. Pregnant ladies must avoid junk food and bakery products as they contain lots of sugar and preservatives. Artificial preservatives and added sugars are unhealthy for the baby's growth."
Also, avoiding eating raw sprouts, meat or eggs is important. "Having raw sprouts can cause intestinal infections. So during pregnancy, you can't have raw or semi-cooked chicken, meat or eggs. Instead, women can have boiled eggs or omelettes," says Dr. Bhadu.
Additionally, if you are concerned about weight gain during pregnancy, Dr. Bhadu says fasting is not advised even for a day because a baby needs nutrition to grow continuously.
How Frequently can you Take Meals During Pregnancy?"The golden rule I advise my patients is to stick to five meals a day. A healthy diet for pregnant women means eating meals at proper intervals. The meals can be small in quantity as continuous healthy food intake will aid in the proper development of your baby," commented Dr. Bhadu."Also, drinking plenty of water – approximately three litres per day is very important. The water will keep you hydrated and help maintain the optimum water level of your baby", she added further.
Most women experience nausea during the first three to four months of pregnancy. For this, Dr. Bhadu suggests avoiding spicy foods while having meals, as it can aggravate the condition. "One helpful tip to include in the diet for pregnant women is to eat Khari, rusk, dry biscuits or coconut water for breakfast," she added.
To satisfy food cravings, pregnant women can binge on fruits and veggies as it is helpful for the baby's development. In addition, it provides all the vital nutrients that the baby needs to remain healthy.
Apart from the helpful inputs on a diet for pregnant women, Dr. Bhadu also said that avoiding smoking and consumption of alcohol is a must for pregnant ladies.
We hope these diet recommendations will help you ladies have a healthy pregnancy. If you want to explore more diet tips, refer to Bajaj Finserv Health or schedule an online doctor consultation with an expert nearby.
Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.
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