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Nutrition & Diet During Pregnancy | Women Health

17 June, 2022 Ananya Das

Original Blog By : 3Meds.com

Health and Nutrition during Pregnancy

Nutrition during pregnancy is very important for women health or both mom and baby. Learn more about healthy diet and what you should be consuming. Pregnancy is among the most precious periods of female life. The phase is full of excitement and brings in lots of new hope and happiness for the would-be mom. This new bond that is created between the unseen and the seen is considered to be the purest among all. During this beautiful journey, the mom has to take care of herself and the growing baby within her. This care needs special attention since the health mother and baby are dependent on it. Until birth, the baby is completely dependent on the mother for the fulfillment of all his nutritional needs. This dual caring effort provided by the mother's body usually in absence of proper care and diet results in problems for both the mother and the baby. Insufficient fulfillment of the dietary needs to complete the vitamin and minerals needed in the mother's body, make the baby and mother malnourished.  This malnourishment in turn results in various complications during delivery and also the birth of a weak malnourished child. This in the long run affects the health of the country as well due to the growth of a weak future generation. Hence, it is very important to take care of the dietary needs of a to-be-mom. Besides, due to the incomplete fulfillment of nutrition in the mother's body, she falls prey to a variety of health issues. Some of the very common problems encountered during pregnancy due to dietary problems are mentioned below.

Health issues during pregnancy

Anemia

During pregnancy, the blood needs of the female body increase. This increase is due to the blood supply to the growing fetus. The blood is made up of red blood cells which are known to carry oxygen to the baby and each part of the mother's body. This oxygen-carrying capability of the blood is due to the presence of hemoglobin (red blood cells). This hemoglobin carries oxygen due to the presence of iron in the body. Now, if the mother body is deficient in iron, then it will form less hemoglobin and hence less blood. This causes the development of a condition in the pregnant female body called Anemia. This condition makes the mother's body pale, and fragile and causes shortness of breath. Thus to cope with this iron-deficient anemia, the female body’s iron supply needs to be increased.

Constipation

Constipation is a very common problem from the early stages of pregnancy. This occurs due to the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy. This creates a lot of problems for the body of the to-be-mother. So, it's important to take care of the preventive measures to help cope with this problem. To reduce the chances of developing constipation during pregnancy and getting relief from it you should follow some tips. Include more pregnancy-safe exercises, drink more water a day, eat a fiber-rich diet and try to avoid iron supplements. Iron supplements are essential during pregnancy but if it is causing you constipation then consult your doctor for changing it.

Backpains

Pregnancy and back pain make an inevitable pair for any pregnant lady. Back pain starts kicking in from the first trimester of the journey. the main reason for the development of back pain is the softening of the ligaments of your body. These softened ligaments help to prepare your body for labor. But this in turn causes the development of strain in the joints of the pelvis and lower back. This as a result causes back pain. The best way to get relief from this pain is by doing some helpful exercises. To know the best-suited one for you, consult your doctor. Without their suggestion don’t try any pose yourself.

Cramps and pain

Cramps and pains are quite common during pregnancy. Cramps usually develop at night either on the calves or muscles of the legs and feet. They are quite painful and hard to remove once develop. The best way to remove or prevent cramps is by doing light yet regular exercises. This helps to improve the blood circulation in the legs and hence reduces the chances of developing cramps further. The most effective exercise for cramp protection is up and down stretching of the feet and rotation of one foot at a time in one direction. This stretches the blood vessels and nerves of the legs and hence helps improve blood flow through them.

Frequent peeing

During pregnancy, it is very important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Proper hydration includes drinking a lot of plain water or healthy, pregnancy-safe fruit juices. But as is it important to drink water a lot, it makes it also important to pee. The frequency of passing pee increases manifold during pregnancy. The actual reason for the enhanced frequency is the growing baby within you. As the head of the baby pushes against the bladder, your tendency to go toilet increases. Though this is not a problem, for relief you can avoid fluids during the night before going to bed. But in case you experience any kind of abnormality while peeing, you should identify them. If you are experiencing it hard to pass urine, seeing blood in the urine, or finding it painful to pee then you should consult your doctor. These may be the symptoms of urinary tract infections. Right consultation at the right time will help to reduce the discomfort but make sure to avoid taking medicines by yourself. As every medicine is not pregnancy safe. Hence, consultation with the doctor is very important. Besides this, another problem relevant during and post-pregnancy is incontinence. In this situation, there occurs a sudden spurt of pee while sneezing, coughing, or even laughing. Usually, it is temporary and happens because of the relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles. Thus, to help with this problem, again you can perform such exercises which strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. And hence, prevent this sudden spurt of pee.

Varicose Veins

These are the swollen veins of the legs and vaginal opening that swell up during pregnancy. Usually these are not harmful but can be uncomfortable. So, to get relief from this problem you can follow some protocols. Some of the helpful ones are like avoiding standing for long periods, perform sleeping with a pillow under your legs, or including antenatal exercises like swimming and walking during pregnancy. Besides, you can also do some foot exercises like stretching them or bending them in repetition. This helps you to get relief from the discomfort of swollen veins. Besides the above-discussed problems, there are also many other health problems relevant during pregnancy. The ways to cope with these problems are simply by staying active, doing pregnancy-safe exercises, and taking care of your diet. During pregnancy, some special diet plans are available which take care of your nutrient needs during the journey. Some of such dietary elements which are helpful and essential during pregnancy are mentioned below. Let us have a look at them.

Dietary needs during pregnancy

Dairy products

Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, and ghee are very important sources of calcium, protein, and minerals like zinc, phosphorous, and magnesium. All these are necessary for the healthy growth of the baby within you. Besides, it provides two important types of high-quality proteins that are whey and casein. So, don’t forget to consume more dairy products during this beautiful journey.

Leafy green vegetables

Dark and green-colored leafy vegetables are a powerhouse of many essential nutrients you need. They are filled up with fiber, vitamins (A, C, K) and folate, and minerals(iron, calcium, and magnesium). Besides, their rich fiber content helps in reducing the problem of constipation and in turn reduces your discomfort. Its nutritious nature helps in providing healthy birth weight to your child and enhances its healthy growth. So, next time you sit to eat, don't forget to add green veggies to your platter.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits are considered to be the best alternative to fresh fruits during pregnancy. They contain the same amount of energy pack as the fresh fruit just without having water in them. They are easy to consume and fill your body with lots of essential nutrients and minerals required during pregnancy. But you must take care of how much you eat. These are also high in calories so, should be limited to one serving a day. More consumption can lead to excess weight gain and health problems.

Whole grains

Whole grains are very healthy edibles during pregnancy. They are packed with lots of fiber, protein, and essential nutrients and minerals like Vitamin B and magnesium. So, try to consume whole grains like oats, barley, and brown rice compared to their refined counterparts. Apart from these items, it is very important to stay hydrated. For this drink plenty of water throughout the day. It makes you pee safe and remove toxins from your body. Thus making your pregnancy journey a beautiful one.

Foods to avoid

Having known so much about what you should eat during pregnancy to fulfill your nutrient needs. Now it is also important to know about the food items you should avoid during pregnancy. Some of the harmful edibles during pregnancy are mentioned below. Let us have a look at them.

High mercury-containing fishes

Mercury-containing fishes are prohibited from consumption during pregnancy. Their continuous consumption leads to the accumulation of mercury in the mother's blood. This collected poison then slowly flows through the blood to the growing baby and results in damage to its brain and nervous system. So, it's highly suggested to avoid eating fishes with high levels of mercury present in them.

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is totally prohibited. It is known that if the mother drinks alcohol then it passes directly to the growing baby through blood. The presence of alcohol in the baby's body causes the development of many physical, mental, and cognitive impairments in the newborn. Besides, regular alcohol consumption eventually leads to miscarriage also. So, it's better you avoid alcohol consumption during or before pregnancy.

Caffeine

The recommended level of daily caffeine intake for pregnant ladies is just 200mg. Any amount higher than this is considered to be unhealthy and causes a lot of problems during pregnancy. Studies have suggested yet not proven that caffeine concentration causes premature delivery, unhealthy birth weight, and insufficient growth of the fetus. Yet another study says that pregnant ladies should totally avoid caffeine intake during pregnancy as it poses various harmful effects on the mother and baby. Hence, take care of what you eat and how much you eat during pregnancy to make your journey a smooth and beautiful one. This will help to improve the health of your growing baby and fulfill all your bodily needs. So make sure to follow these dietary suggestions and choose the one best suited for you.

Conclusion

Pregnancy is the best and most desired phase for any female being. The feeling of motherhood brings a lot of changes in both the physical and emotional health of a woman. Emotional changes are usually taken care of with little time and love, but physical changes need special attention. Due to a lack in the supply of enough nutrients to the mother body, the body falls weak and prey to a variety of problems. Besides, due to the weak mother's body, the needs of the baby are also not fulfilled which results in weakness in the baby. Hence, we suggest every to-be-mom take care of her dietary needs, visit their gynecologist regularly and deliver a healthy baby from her healthy body. To help pregnant women identify their dietary needs during pregnancy,  we have mentioned details of a few problems they face during pregnancy and the diet that is healthy for them. So, be you the to-be mother, the father, or have any other relation with the to-be-born, you should know the requirements of a female body during pregnancy. Proper care helps to protect the health of both mother and the baby. We hope this article has helped you find solutions to most of your queries during pregnancy. So, stay happy, healthy, safe, and enjoy the journey of Happy Motherhood!!