Pregnancy is a blissful experience that most of the women experience. But with that comes a responsibility of an infant that is growing inside the womb. Your body goes through numerous physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy. The nourishment of the mother’s body during this time affects hers and her baby’s health. The mother must eat a healthy, balanced diet to help ensure you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. But the million-dollar question is, What to eat during pregnancy for a healthy baby? Indian food list to fulfill nutritional requirements during pregnancy.
Changes That occur in your body during pregnancy:
- There is an expansion of blood volume that allows the exchange of nutrients between the mother and the fetus.
- This leads to a decrease in hemoglobin.
- An increase in white cells.
- A decrease in vitamin C, folic acid and B12 levels.
- There is an increased requirement for vitamin A.
- There is a risk of hypertension, diabetes or any other metabolic disorders during pregnancy.
These complications can be temporary and can be controlled with mindful eating during pregnancy.
Nutritional Requirements During Pregnancy:
Approximately 300 calories extra have to be provided to the mother which includes a balance of all macro and micronutrients. Read – What are calories?
Sources: Carbohydrates, proteins, fats.
An additional 15 grams protein fulfills the extra demand for proteins. But it also depends on the initial nutritional status of the mother and the growth of the fetus.
Sources: Milk and products, poultry, fish, dals, beans, pulses, nuts, and oilseeds.
Fetus extracts the calcium from mother’s stores thus it is necessary to restore the calcium levels in mothers. The calcium requirement is 1000 mg per day.
Sources: Milk and products, fish, nuts, supplements.
The iron requirement increases by 10 mg per day. The increase in blood volume automatically reduces the iron content of the blood. Thus it has to be provided from foods or supplements. Read the Indian diet plan to increase hemoglobin levels in the blood.
Sources: Dried beans, liver, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, fortified food products, garden cress seeds, etc.
It is required for the formation of cells in the fetus. It helps in reducing maternal mortality.
Source: Green leafy vegetables, fortified products, fresh citrus red-orange fruits.
With an increase in calcium, there is an increase in vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements fulfills the requirement. Read the Benefits of Vitamin D.
During pregnancy, there is a 4 times increase in need of folic acid. It promotes fetal growth and prevents maternal anemia. It is essential for the formation of RNA and DNA. Low folic acid leads to abortions, low birth weight babies or preterm labor.
Sources: dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, orange juice, soya, almonds.
The fetus takes up all B12 first from the mother’s body. Thus the mother needs additional B12 from outside. Low levels can lead to a premature baby.
Source: Non-vegetarian food items.
It is essential for prothrombin that helps in blood coagulation. It is required for preventing hemorrhage post-delivery.
Sources: Injection during labor.
B complex Vitamins:
As the blood volume increases and as the fetus grows the B complex vitamin requirement increases. B complex is required for the optimum cell functioning of the fetal cells. Sources: Vegetables, fruits, cereals, fortified products.
With an increase in blood volume, there increases electrolyte demand. The fluid electrolyte balance is required for proper metabolic responses in the body.
Sources: Fruits, vegetables, nuts, cereals.
What to Eat During Pregnancy For a Healthy Baby? The Indian food list:
Here is a list of Indian foods that you should eat during your pregnancy to ensure that you intake all the important nutrients mentioned above.
- Whole Grains:
Whole grains are rich sources of fiber and various minerals like magnesium and B vitamins. Oats, broken wheat or daliya, as well as quinoa are some of the best examples.
Legumes are affordable and excellent sources of plant protein and amino acids. They are rich in all essential pregnancy nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. It especially helps in preventing constipation and piles which can commonly occur during pregnancy. You can include Rajma, Chola, edamame beans, soya, and its products, as well as peas and black beans.
It is rich in antioxidants, calcium, and folate. It also contains plenty of vitamin C. If you have thyroid dysfunction, don’t avoid broccoli, rather cook it well and eat once or twice a week.
Morning sickness, nausea, vomiting sensation, indigestion, constipation, feeling tired or dull all the time? well, you are just a banana away from feeling better! Banana is a storehouse of instant energy and potassium. It will lift you up, improve your digestion as well as increase your appetite.
As we have seen in the nutritional requirements above, B12 and Iron are the 2 important nutrients that the body needs during pregnancy. These nutrients are best included by taking lean meats in your diet.
Paneer or cottage cheese is a rich source of protein and calcium. It is packed with magnesium which ensures better heart health and immunity. It is low in carb and hence helps in slow release of sugar into the blood. Hence beneficial in gestational diabetes. Paneer also provides folate and improves digestion during pregnancy.
Spinach is one of the best foods to eat during pregnancy. It is a storehouse of folate. Folate is very essential for a healthy pregnancy and fetus development. Spinach helps prevent serious defects of the spine and brain in the baby.
Carrots and Red Capsicum:
Carrots and red capsicum contain beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is essential for the development of your baby’s eyes, skin, bones, and organs. These foods also provide vitamins B6 and C, as well as fiber.
Milk and Curd:
These Food items contain protein, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. There is no reason to not include these amazing foods in your pregnancy diet. Curd being a probiotic also helps against bacterial and yeast infections which are common during pregnancy. It facilitates digestion and keeps the acids in your stomach down.
Oranges are rich in Vitamin C and folate. It is loaded with water and helps you keep hydrated. The vitamin c content helps in better absorption of iron as well as in preventing cell damage. It also helps in morning sickness and nausea.
Almonds and Walnuts:
These nuts are rich in Folate, vitamin E, and Omega 3 fatty acids. These nuts can improve cognitive development in the fetus. Right from memory power, attention, concentration, as well as creativity. Walnuts reduce oxidative stress in the brain and help improve brain signaling and neurogenesis – the creation of neurons.
Don’t forget to check our video on Indian diet plan for pregnancy.
Now that you know what to eat during pregnancy for a healthy baby. I hope the Indian food list that we provided is beneficial in safeguarding your pregnancy. Have a healthy pregnancy.
Its always interesting to read articles on Food and diet. I think atleast once in our lifetime, everyone would have read about diet. That too during pregnancy definitely we will read more. Though these can widen our knowledge, each body is unique. So its better to consult the dietitian or Nutitonist to customize our plan.