The first question that most mothers have is ?when should I think about nutrition?? Change in food habits should start long before conceiving your baby- in the planning stage when you decide that you are ready to carry the baby. And you have to ensure that you take care of your diet not only before and during the pregnancy but also after the pregnancy when you breastfeed the baby.
However it is important to remember that even though you are growing a baby inside you it does not mean that you have to eat double. For a single pregnancy you need just 300-500 extra calories per day. This means a simple vegetable sandwich, a fruit and a glass of milk extra per day.
Mother?s nutrition is important right from the planning stage of baby. The right amount of nutrients help in the physical and mental development of the baby. Ideal birth weight is directly proportional to the right amount of nutrients intake by the mother.
Here are few reasons how a healthy diet benefits the mother
- Healthy and Safe Pregnancy
- Timely Labor and Delivery
- Positive Birth Experience
- Management of Hormones
- Optimum weight gain
In the planning stage, doctors prescribe Nutraceuticals which help in the development of a healthy baby.
Now that we have gone through the list of food items once must include in their diet, let us move on to the food items once must avoid.
- Raw Meat: Might invite infections due to toxoplasma parasite.
- Soft cheese and milk- unpasteurized- Unpasteurized milk carry various disease causing bacteria.
- Raw eggs: Raw eggs too can carry salmonella that causes various diseases like mentioned before.
- Fish (in excess)- Some types of seafood ? particularly large, predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish ? can contain high levels of mercury. Although the mercury in seafood isn’t a concern for most adults, special precautions apply if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- Caffeine- Since caffeine is a stimulant that increases heart rate, it can cause various discomforts like feeling jittery and insomnia. It can also contribute to heart burn by stimulating the secretion of stomach acids.
- Alcohol and other forms of drugs: Alcohol and other forms of drugs, in general are harmful to the human body. So imagine the effect these would have on your baby. These can cause life threatening problems for your baby. Hence stay far away from them.