Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life, making it extremely important to keep fit by exercising and eating healthy. In this post I’d like to share the best foods to eat during pregnancy, foods to avoid during pregnancy and pregnancy tips based on what worked for me during my own pregnancy. I hope I can help you in some way!
I am not a Dietician or a Doctor. The views are all my own and based on my own experience in my pregnancy. It may or may not be applicable to you. Please consult your OBGYN.
Best foods to eat during pregnancy
Make sure to get wholesome meals every single day and include the following in your regular diet:
1. Prenatal vitamins – Your doctor will prescribe these but make sure to start on prenatals as soon as you can.
2. Dairy products – A pregnant or lactating body requires a lot of calcium. Smoothies with the fruits of your choice are great, as are yogurt and milk. If you are intolerant then ensure to substitute appropriately.
3. Dry fruits – Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, prunes, dates – all so good! Remember that they have high amount of sugar and are high in calories so don’t over-indulge.
4. Fluids – Blood volume during pregnancy increases by about 1.5 ltrs. One of the major reasons for swollen feet during pregnancy is water retention, and the easiest remedy is to ensure you are well hydrated at all times. It is recommended to consume at least 3 ltrs of fluids a day all the way through to your postpartum months. Water, fresh coconut water and fresh juices can be had. Avoid aerated drinks and any packaged juices. Avoid sugary drinks. A general rule is to drink water whenever you are thirsty and drink until you’ve quenched your thirst. Pregnant women are also more susceptible to UTI. Adequate hydration can prevent constipation and curb UTI.
5. Fruits – Fruits can make up your evening snack. It’s easy to get bored and reach for that packet of junk instead. Try to surprise your body and mix up the fruits you have through the week.
6. Fresh Veggies – Again, try to bring in variety of vegetables you eat through the week. Even non-vegetarians require a good portion of veggies in their diet. All green leafy vegetables are great source of nutrition and energy while being rich in antioxidants.
7. Legumes – Lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soyabeans are all great sources of fibre, protein, folate and calcium.
8. Whole grains – Oates and muesli are fantastic to kick-start your day. Overnight Oates and muesli are super easy, if you must dash out the door in the mornings.
9. Ghee – Consuming Ghee is stressed upon by many Indian moms and it sure is very good to include Ghee in your diet. But too much of anything is bad enough. Don’t go overboard. I would also recommend to stay away from those Ghee-laden laddoos that are especially common in North Indian households.
10. Eggs – This is a powerhouse of almost every nutrient you need but make sure to again not over indulge, limit it to about 2 eggs a day. Make sure the eggs are well cooked. Raw eggs (like in Caesar salad dressing, eggnog, raw cookie dough, sunny side up ) could contain bacteria that could cause tummy troubles.
11. Berries – Berries are healthy carbs and have a relatively low GI. They are a great snack but can also be included with other meals like Oates and smoothies.
Additional tips & foods to avoid during pregnancy
What not to eat during pregnancy is as important as what to eat during pregnancy!
– An age old phrase that is so debunked is: you must eat for two. You need not. Your body will direct you to how much you need, just learn to listen to that inner voice. It’s never necessary to force yourself to eat more than your body requires. What worked for me is to eat throughout the day and contain them to small portions. You do progressively need 300-500 calories from your 2nd trimester but make sure you are not adding junk.
– Restrict caffiene. I had totally cut out all forms of caffeine as recommended by my doctor.
– Avoid sugars. There is no good form of sugar. It’s either bad or worse. Try to control sugar in all forms for a couple of reasons. Your appetite goes for a toss because of the sugar in your food and you land up feeling hungry more often. It’s easy to get addicted to sugar and you don’t want to pile on “unnecessary” pounds. The sugar you eat is easily passed on to your baby in the bloodstream
– No junk or oily food. These will only aggravate symptoms like nausea, morning sickness, bloating etc.
– No alcohol. Make sure you check ingredients in chocolates or cakes before indulging.
– Get out and eat! Eating out can get messy and quick after the baby arrives. It’s so difficult to have a peaceful meal with a baby. Do it now while you can! Savour those leisurely brunches – ahhh I miss ’em. If you are not a first time mom, good luck 😀
– Give in to your cravings. No matter what gyan someone like me gives, it’s ok to give in to any cravings you have. I craved chocolate ice cream very few times throughout my pregnancy and so I could give in! Try not to do it every night though 😊
– Eat something every 2-3 hrs. This is critical. You need to make sure your body is getting replenished regularly. Eat every couple of hours and mix up your routine.
– If you have the luxury, then prepare for a pregnancy. Take a few months and cut out junk food and alcohol, exercise and become your fittest ever.
– No matter what you eat, exercise every single day. It makes a world of difference when you find the time for yourself. Make it a bonding experience with your partner or just with yourself. Even if it is just a walk around the block or a more structured workout, doing it every day matters. Prenatal Yoga really helped me a lot, as did daily walks around Dubai Marina or a swim.
– Poor eating habits and excessive weight gain may increase chances of risks like gestational diabetes or pregnancy and birth complications
– Monitor your weight gain. I started off at an ideal weight & BMI. I landed up putting on 3 kgs in first trimester, 6 kgs in 2nd trimester and 4 kgs in the third. My doctor was very strict about weight gain. She was always a bit concerned that I might get GD, and the baby would get too big, making a normal delivery difficult. She really stressed us out a lot on the weight! So with an increase of 13 kgs (28 lbs 10 oz) throughout the pregnancy, my baby boy was born on 37 weeks 1 day weighing 6 lbs 1 oz. Just perfect for me to have a normal delivery. *Please do not blindly compare. Every body type is different; genetics and many other factors play a big role in how your pregnancy will progress*
Maternity shoot by Silvester Clifferd
Do read my other posts on lifestyle and travel during pregnancy.
Good luck on a happy & healthy pregnancy!