Without a doubt, pregnancy is an exciting time. It is also a period when extra care needs to be taken. This care comes in the form of differing ideas and advice from mom’s, aunt’s or neighbour’s in the best pregnancy diet. What is eaten during pregnancy will play a crucial role in the unborn baby’s growth, development and health.
To avoid skipping or missing some important food groups due to plethora of unstructured advice, a pregnancy diet should be divided into 4 food categories- lean protein, carbohydrates, dairy and fruits and vegetables.
A healthy pregnancy diet needs only 300 calories extra (approximate) and 15- 20 gms of protein daily in the second and third trimester. The recommended portion size and calorie needs vary as per individuals but the focus should be on improving the quality of calories rather than just increasing them.
An ideal pregnancy diet should include nearly four servings of protein and calcium rich foods, abundant green leafy and yellow vegetables, fruits and rich sources of iron. Sufficient iron in food ensures that the baby gets a proper blood supply and the pregnant mother is not deficient in energy levels. Foods rich in folic acid like strawberries, kiwis are important to prevent various birth defects in your unborn baby, especially neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.
A large amount of energy in the pregnancy diet should come from complex carbohydrates and whole grains accompanied by at least six to eight glasses of fluids to maintain adequate level of amniotic fluid in the womb.