Pregnant women are often told what to eat and avoid. Eating right is one of the many important things that she should be conscious about. She can t simply eat whatever she feels like, as consumption of balanced diet is crucial for the healthy development of the foetus. To get the right nutrients, pregnant women should subscribe to a diet, rich in vitamins and minerals.
Deficiency of any of these could be consequential for the foetus as well as the mother. We list down 5 things that a woman must include in her diet during pregnancy:
1) Folic acid
“This is crucial because it prevents babies from being affected by any kind of Neural Tube Defects such as Spina Bifida (baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly) and Anencephaly (absence of a major portion of the brain). These serious defects cause lifelong paralysis, cleft lip and lack of nutrition. You can get 600 mcg of Folic Acid by consuming green leafy vegetables, bananas and nuts,” said Dr Sushma Tomar, Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.
Sources of folic acid:
– Green leafy vegetables like spinach.
Adequate amount of iron in the diet of pregnant women is very important, because it plays an essential role in the baby s brain development.Anaemia amongst infants slows the onset of auditory nervous system development. When mother does not get enough iron, her baby may be born with low birth weight, which can cause complications.
Sources of iron:
– Green leafy vegetables.
– Brown rice.
– Dried fruits.
Zinc is vital for the cell growth of the foetus. “It helps in your unborn baby s cell growth and replication during all the stages of pregnancy,” added Dr Tomar.
Women must know that lack of zinc could cause miscarriage during early pregnancy and blood poisoning by toxing (toxaemia) at later stages of pregnancy. 5-12 mg of Zinc is required to be consumed as a part of diet for pregnant women.
Sources of Zinc:
– Fortified cereals.
Vitamins A, B, C, D and E play an important role in foetal development.
- Vitamin A and carotene helps in bone, teeth and development of vision.
- Vitamin B-1 regulates the nervous system and energy levels. Vitamin B-12 helps in the formation of red blood cell.
- Vitamin-C works to keep your body tissues away from damage.
- Vitamin-D promotes bone development.
- Vitamin- E helps in protecting the cells of the body from damage by harmful free radicals.
Sources of Vitamins:
– Citric fruits such as Oranges, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Lime etc
– Whole grains
A developing foetus needs protein as it encourages cell growth. Lack of protein causes poor muscle and joint development, poor bone development, increases the risk of miscarriage, brain damage and birth defects.
Source of proteins:
– Peanut butter.
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