As a general rule, a healthy diet during pregnancy comprises of elements similar to a normal healthy diet, but the amount required is slightly higher. While all essential nutrients are necessary, the following 5 nutrients are vital in ensuring the proper development and growth of the fetus:
Necessary for the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, calcium contributes towards better bone-building along with proper development of muscles, teeth and nerves of your baby. It also regulates the blood pressure of both you and your baby. Adding 1000-1200 milligram of calcium-through low-fat milk and cheese, beans, chickpeas, eggs and cabbage-to your daily diet is recommended to meet the required Calcium needs.
2- Folate (also known as Folic Acid and Vitamin B9):
This vital nutrient not only decreases the risk of premature birth, but also reduces neural-tube defect development by 70%. Essential for neural tube, brain and spinal cord development in the 1st trimester, this B vitamin should be consumed via leafy green vegetables, legumes (beans), citrus fruits, avocados, eggs and strawberries for a daily 400-800 microgram intake. Folic acid found in supplements is comparatively easier to absorb than food-acquired folate, so consider taking a supplement recommended by your doctor.
Iron helps in supplying oxygen to the baby by contributing towards the development of haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying protein in the blood. Double the amount of iron is needed for this purpose, whereas a deficiency of iron during pregnancy might cause iron deficiency anemia and extreme fatigue as a result. Aim for 27-30 milligrams a day through beef, poultry, seafood and legumes. Combine vitamin C-rich foods or drinks with legumes to improve iron absorption.
Required by approximately 15 milligrams a day-50% higher than the usual intake-zinc is important for boosting your immunity and promoting cell growth in the baby, whereas zinc deficiency might lead to restricted fetal growth and premature delivery. While best absorbed from meat and seafood, other effective sources of zinc include nuts, seeds, peas and legumes.
Consuming fiber-rich foods during pregnancy reduces the chances of developing ‘gestational diabetes’ as it helps prevent glucose intolerance. Pregnant women with Type-I diabetes can lower their daily insulin requirement by increasing fiber in their diet. 25-30 grams of fiber per day also aids digestion and prevents constipation, high blood pressure and development of ‘preeclampsia’. Optimum fiber-rich foods to consume during pregnancy include legumes, sweet potatoes, lean meat, fruits, eggs and salmon.
If you suspect that you’re not getting enough of the vital dietary nutrients, consider taking supplements after proper medical consultation. Do not hesitate to Book an Appointment with a top Gynecologist in Karachi, Multan and Islamabad through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your gestational needs.