Nutrition in new mothers is the largest contributing factor in the mother’s and the child’s good health. Sensible eating is the key- though one may have several cravings during pregnancy, it is in the best interest of both to be mindful of food choices as they serve as a primary source of nourishment for the baby and for the mother. Though pregnancy is a beautiful and happy time, it can also be quite stressful, physically and mentally, due to numerous changes in the body therefore mothers need to have higher levels of calcium, iron, protein, and folic acid.
Dr. Amita Phadnis, MD. Specialist in Child Care (Pediatrics & Neonatology), Women’s Health, and Elderly Care, says that In her many years of "working with expecting mothers and some with postpartum difficulties, I have observed that disciplined nutrition intake goes a long way in healing and providing the right kind of nourishment for the newborn. Indian thalis have the right proportion of dal, leafy vegetables, yogurt, and rice and are a scientifically thought out way of eating during pregnancy."
To maximise prenatal and post-pregnancy nutrition, focus on maintaining a diet as advised by Dr. Phadnis, which is full of energy-giving foods that are high on nutrition value.
Diet Rich In Fruits
During and post-pregnancy, women must eat adequate portions of fruits per day. Fruits such as guava, strawberries, oranges, and apples are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Seasonal fruits are also advisable. Avoid fruits such as pineapples and papaya during pregnancy as they could lead to pregnancy-related complications.
Legumes, Grains, and Nuts
Legumes such as lentils, peas, beans, and soya beans to name a few are considered to be plant sources rich in fiber, folate, and iron are essential. Also, to maintain the hemoglobin levels and avoid iron deficiency, 27 mg during and 10 mg of iron supplements post-pregnancy should be consumed. Sprouted grains like wheat, ragi, jowar, and bajra which are highly nutritious and nuts such as cashews, almonds, walnuts, and peanuts, boost the body functionality.
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek, and broccoli are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, and fibre which helps prevent constipation. 400mcg of folic acid must be consumed to prevent neural tube defects.
As it is essential to get enough calcium and protein, consumption of fat-free or low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are required. Calcium deficiency is commonly seen among pregnant women which is why such dietary stipulations are important. Those who have an aversion to milk must take calcium tablets recommended by a doctor.
Adequate Liquid Consumption
Make sure you are hydrated at all times and consume up to 10 glasses of fluids such as water, milk, coconut water, or juices every day. This is especially important while breastfeeding in order to maintain milk supply.
Post-pregnancy, galactagogues such as fenugreek, shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), and dinkache Ladoo amongst many others are a must for increasing lactation.
A dose of 200 mg of DHA in the form of powders or supplements must be consumed each day for the development of the baby’s brain and eyes.
For the good health of both the baby and mother, have Vitamin D in the form of supplements, eggs, and certain dairy products.
Your health is your responsibility and therefore, indulge in a healthy diet and ensure that you also give your mental health enough attention. Research has shown that a healthy diet full of nutrition aids postpartum mental health and a happy start to motherhood.
For more expert tips on pregnancy and diet, stay tuned to HerZindagi.