A pregnant woman should eat a well balanced diet in order to provide adequate nourishment to her body and to her unborn baby. Few supplements are also required in order to meet the needs of an unborn baby. During pregnancy, in addition to providing nourishment for her baby, a woman needs nourishment to prepare her body for child bearing and breast feeding post delivery. A normal woman has a requirement of around 2100 calories in a day which shoots up to 2500 calories while she is pregnant. Her diet should include carbohydrates, vitamins, protein, fat, iron, calcium, folic acid and fiber. A pregnant woman should stay away from empty calories as she would not get any nutrition from them. A balanced diet for pregnant woman is said to be balanced when it contains food from all the nutrient groups viz. carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins among others.
Balanced Diet For pregnant woman
Carbohydrate should form the base of nutrients that a pregnant woman takes. Carbohydrate provides energy which is required in abundance during pregnancy. It also provides fiber. Foods like whole wheat bread, whole grains, potatoes, corn, rice and storage fruits like banana provide carbohydrate. However, refined flour and sugar should be avoided as they lack fiber and they also cause sugar levels to rise.
Omega 3 fatty acids and Docosahexaenoic Acids are required for the proper development of fetal brain. They are also required for good vision, intelligence and healthy skin. Walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, tofu and olive oil should be included in the diet. These nuts should be consumed in moderate quantity. For e.g. every day a pregnant woman can consume 3-4 almonds, 2-3 walnuts, a spoon of flax seed and 2-3 spoons of olive oil. Fats which are found in dairy products are also healthy and should be consumed.
Protein is required for the growth and development of fetus. It also repairs cells. It is also important for the production of antibodies that fight body illness. Protein can be found from both animal sources and plant sources. It is found in eggs, meat, fish, dairy products and poultry products. It is also found in pulses, grains, nuts and beans. According to dietary preference, a pregnant woman must include protein from various sources in her diet on a daily basis.
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For the healthy development of placenta, a pregnant woman requires extra blood which can be formed with the consumption of iron. Spinach, green leafy vegetables, raisins, dates, figs and cherries contain good amount of iron. However, iron gets absorbed better in the body when it is consumed along with vitamin C. So, a pregnant woman must include vitamin C in her diet which can be found from citrus fruits.
Apart from these mentioned above, a woman needs vitamin, mineral and iron supplements which can be consumed after proper medical consultation.
Calcium is required for the development of bones, teeth and other bodily functions. Also, during lactation, a woman loses substantial amount of calcium which needs replenishment. So, a pregnant woman must consume calcium in adequate quantity which is around 1000-1300 mg of calcium.