Pregnancy Care Guide
Preconception check up
How to get pregnant
Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
Foetal Develpoment
First Trimester
Second Trimester
Third Trimester
Changes in the woman
Check Ups and Tests
Blood Tests
Urine Tests
Tests on the Uterus
Diet and foods for the pregnant
Essential Nutrients
Recommended Daily Diet for the Expectant Woman
Tips for Healthy Eating
Wholesome Eating During the Trimesters
Exercises during pregnancy
Antenatal care
Complications during Pregnancy
Causes of repeated abortions and miscarriage
High Risk pregnancy
Twins and multiple pregnancies
Gestational diabetes
Pregnancy induced hypertension
Bleeding during pregnancy
Preterm or premature labour
Ectopic pregnancy
Rhesus Factor

Essential Nutrients

During pregnancy all nutrients are important. A number of experimental and human studies indicate that intrauterine nutrition plays an important role. There is evidence that under nutrition of the fetus has permanent effects on the health status of adult individuals. For example, such adults have a higher chance of high blood pressure and diabetes. Special attention should be given to taking foods rich in calcium, iron, essential fats, and folic acid. Make sure that you are eating foods high in calcium by drinking 3-4 glasses of milk each day or eating other dairy products like cheese and yoghurt. Be sure to include iron and ziinc rich foods like lean meats, lentils and beans and whole grain products.

Proteins : Proteins are important for the development of the uterus and the breasts of the expectant mother, and, of course, for the development of the baby itself. The volume of blood in the body of the pregnant woman increases by a large percentage. This is also a reason for enhanced requirements of proteins. The total additional requirements of proteins during the last six months of pregnancy amount to about 1 kilogramme. Thus 50 to 60 grammes of proteins must be supplied to the expectant mother every day during this period, through foods such as milk and milk products, peanuts, pulses, dry fruits, cheese, meat, fish, eggs, etc.

Vitamins : The requirements of vitamins and minerals Increase during pregnancy. These should be supplied through the diet. Adequate quantities of vitamins are available in green leafy vegetables, sprouted pulses, fresh fruit, milk, meat, eggs, fish, etc. The diet therefore should be a judicious combination of such foods; this will additionally supply the requisite quan­tities of proteins, and sufficient calories as well.

Calcium : This element helps in the development of the baby in the womb. As calcium is an essential constituent of bones, calcium deficiency results in the bones from the mother's stocks, her bones, too, will get weakened. The overall development of the baby also suffers.

Calcium is one of the most important minerals you will need during pregnancy. The current recommended amount of calcium intake during pregnancy is 1,500 mg, an increase of 400 mg a day over your usual needs.Adequate quantities of calcium are available in foods like milk and milk products, pulses, butter, cheese, meat, soup, methi (fenugreek), drumstick leaves (horse radish, or moringal), beetroots, figs, grapes, watermelons, seasame seeds, urad (black grams), millets, etc.

Folic Acid is essential for a healthy baby and helps in the development of: the fetal brain and spine. It is especially important during early pregnancy when many women don't even know that they are expecting. Women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day throughout their pregnancy and may need to take a multi-vitamin or prenatal vitamin to meet this requirement. Some excellent sources of folic acid include dried beans, tofu, peanuts and peanut butter, as well as fortified cereals. Folic acid can also be found in many dark green vegetables, corn, squash, bottle gourd and beets.

Iron is used to make hemoglobin. Many Indian women suffer from anaemia (lack of haemoglobin). When you are anaemic it means there is less oxygen in your body. Oxygen is carried by haemoglobin in the blood and is required for the proper development of all cells and the organs in your baby. Hence getting plenty of iron during pregnancy is a must. Foods containing iron include methi (fenugreek), mint, other green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli., seasame seeds, millets, grams, moong (green grams), urad (black grams),), dried peas and other pulses, soyabeans, dates, mangoes, livers of animals and eggs. Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron so it would be a good idea to take iron in the morning with orange juice. Calcium blocks absorption, so avoid taking iron with milk. Iron tablets sometimes cause constipation/ diarrhoea, bloating and black stools.

Sodium : A deficiency of this element in the body is rare, occurring only if diuretic medicines inducing urination are taken in excess, or one is required to take foods without salt. All foods containing salts supply this element in sufficient quantities. Requisite amounts of sodium for our normal needs can be supplied by common salt, milk, beetroots, carrots, radishes, eggs, meat and fish.

Potassium : Excessive and prolonged vomiting or exce­ptive dosages of diuretic medicines may cause potassium deficiency in a pregnant woman, indicated chiefly by giddiness. A balanced diet generally supplies all the potassium that is needed Fresh fruits, milk, garlic, radishes, potatoes and meat contain abundant potassium.

Vitamin B12, found in animal products, is essential for proper nerve and brain functioning for both mother and baby. It is found in animal foods liver, poultry. This is of special concern for women who are vegetarians who should take vitamin supplements. Vitamin B12 is also found in fortified soy milk, bean sprouts, kidney beans , Bengal gram and black gram.

Zinc : Zinc deficiency results in loss of appetite. This leads to reduced intake of food, with consequent retardation in the development of the baby, delay in the healing of cuts and wounds, skin diseases and underdevelopment of the body of I he baby. Zinc deficiency should be made up by appropriate medication.

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