A mother is born when a baby is born. It is a chance
to cherish your childhood once again. It is blessing
of nature to give birth to a baby. Kids don’t
need perfect mothers; they need happy mothers.
So always keep a pregnant mother happy. Let all
mothers embrace their blissful journey gracefully.
Motherhood is an adorable beautiful journey to be dealt with care, compassion and harmony. The routine activities and diet of mothers during pregnancy determine the mental and physical well being of babies. Human life actually begins in the womb, not after birth. Hence the healthy practices followed by mothers brighten the future of kids thereby making a healthy society.
The baby receives both nutrition and love for its appropriate growth and development through the mother only during pregnancy. A pregnant mother should include all essential nutrients in her diet but most of the mothers are unaware about what she should take for a healthy baby. In India, approximately 90% of pregnant mothers lack sufficient protein intake. A large group of mothers indulge in unhealthy eating habits resulting in obesity while the baby lacks adequate nutrition. High blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels, overweight mothers causing difficulties in labour, and babies with less birth weight have become very common nowadays.
The pregnancy phase can be divided into 3 trimesters.
• 1st trimester 0-3 months
• 2nd trimester 3-6 months
• 3rd trimester 6-9 months
Let us discuss about the major nutrients needed for each trimester along with their food sources.
Baby’s vital organs like the brain, heart, digestive system and even taste buds start growing in this initial phase and the nutrients required in the first 3 months include:
Folic Acid– It is very essential for the growth and development of the brain and nervous system throughout pregnancy. Food Sources that are rich in folic acids are green leafy vegetables, legumes, fortified bread, orange juice, red variety of spinach, green beans etc.
Iron– It helps to protect the mother from anaemia, disease related to low haemoglobin and other infections thereby promoting the growth and brain development in babies. Major food Sources having iron content include fish, eggs, leafy vegetables, legumes, cereals, nuts, beans, whole grains including bread and oatmeal.
Vitamin C– It boosts the immune system of the mother and the growth of the baby. Major food Sources include Citrus fruits such as orange, mausambi, lemon, gooseberries; apple, grapes, mango, strawberries; vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomato. People having acidity and sour belching are preferred to have fewer amounts of citrous sour food.
Vitamin D– It helps to reduce complications in pregnancy. It aids the development of the nervous system and bone tissues in the baby. Major food Sources include Milk, egg, liver, fish, tuna, and fortified cereals.
Protein– It is inevitable for the proper growth of the baby and it also helps a mother to reduce vomiting and tiredness. Egg, chicken, pulses, milk, milk products including paneer, beans, nuts etc are the major food sources.
Activities of Mother
• Drink 16-18 glasses of lukewarm water daily.
• Eat 5-6 times daily in divided & balanced amount
• Timely meals and proper sleep at night
• Dinner before 8 pm
• Fibre-rich food to prevent constipation, high blood pressure and obesity
• Staying happy, calm and peaceful
• Dining outside and fast food
• Overuse of garam masala and deep-fried food items
• Too salty food that can cause swelling in legs
• Too much sweets which cause tooth decay
• Tinned food, salted dried food, pickles, Chinese sauces
• Stress, strain and unhappy events.
• Anxiety, depression and worrying
• Overexertion, sexual intercourse, long journeys
• Suppressing urges to pass bowels or urine
During the first trimester, vomiting, stomach ache, bleeding etc will be found; if it is persistent then it’s better to consult a gynaecologist at the earliest. Taking coriander water, tender coconut water, fruits, boiled and cooled water with murmure etc can keep the pregnant lady away from vomiting, nausea, and tiredness like ailments.
Along with the nutrients mentioned in the first trimester, mothers should include the nutrients mentioned below during the second trimester
Calcium– 200mg of daily intake is very essential for both baby and mother. It helps the formation of healthy bones, the growth and development of heart, blood vessels, nerves and muscles. (Vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium. Vegetarians should take supplements or fortified food products.) Major food sources include less fat milk, dairy products such as curd, cheese, paneer, small fish with chewable bones, almond, dry fruits, leafy vegetables, oranges, bread, and tomato.
Magnesium– It increases the birth weight of a baby as it has an important role in protein synthesis. Spinach, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are the major food sources.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids– It is an inevitable nutrient for the development of the brain and nervous system. It regulates the timing of gestation period and as well as birth weight. Major food sources include fish like salmon, sardine, nuts (walnut), seeds (chia seeds); Vegetable oil like soya bean oil & flaxseed oil; fortified food (milk, egg, yoghurt, juices etc.)
Activities of Mother
• Wear comfortable loose cotton clothes
• Warm water bath twice daily
• Drinking a glass of water at bedtime
• Apply hot oils or moisturizers in case of cold weather and dry skin.
• Moisturizing abdominal area to prevent and reduce stretch marks
• Maintaining appropriate weight gain
• Staying awake at night.
• Lifting heavy objects
• Carrying heavy objects or elder kids
• Drawing water from well
• Gaining overweight can cause difficulties during labour, back pain, knee pain
Extra nutrients required from the third trimester onwards:
Vitamin K– It promotes bone development in babies and also helps in healing and regaining normalcy in the mother during labour. It is also good for immunity, bone and dental health of both mother & baby. Major food sources include green leafy vegetables, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, beans, peas, cereals, fish, liver, meat, and eggs.
Thiamine– It helps the baby to reach full term growth and development and also promotes normal placental functions and healthy muscle functions and nervous system functioning. Dried beans, peas, bread, and cereals, whole grains (unpolished grains) are the major thiamine rich foods.
Activities of Mother
• Stay in a properly ventilated room
• Take rest for 9 hours at night
• Apply oil on nipples and areola of breast & rule out flat nipples
• Keep private area clean and dry
• Mild exercises like walking
• Having lots of unpeeled fruits and vegetables
• Sleep on the left side
• Stay calm and happy
• Long journeys
• Sexual intercourse
• Sleeping on a short bed
• Sleeping on tummy
Food to be avoided throughout the pregnancy & risks
Certain major foods should be avoided in pregnancy. If it’s not possible it should be taken in less quantity, like coffee, papaya, pineapple etc as enzymes present in it can cause uterine contractions leading to abortion. Similarly, alcohol can also affect the brain development of a baby leading to mental retardation.
A Preferred food menu for pregnant ladies
A mother is born when a baby is born. It is a chance to cherish your childhood once again. It is the blessing of nature to give birth to a baby. Kids don’t need perfect mothers; they need happy mothers. So always keep a pregnant mother happy. Let all mothers embrace their blissful journey gracefully.
|6 AM||A cup of milk|
|8 AM||Breakfast- Rotlo /Dosas,/Iddli, /|
Upma-Raggi, semolina, wheat; /
Roti, Masoor Dal curry / Black Chana Dal curry/ Egg curry/Chutney
|10 AM||Cut fruits (apple, pomegranate,|
guava, grapes, orange) /
Vegetable soups / Vegetable salad /
Dry fruits & nuts / Fruit Juice
|1 PM||Lunch- Rice/Roti, Dal (Toor dal,|
masoor dal) / Mixed vegetable curry / Vegetable Kuruma / Sambar /,
Chaas, Vegetable salads
|4 PM||Tea/ Oats Milk/ Almond Milk, Shallow Fried or Steamed snacks made|
with vegetables or pulses or millets
|8 PM||Dinner- Roti/ Chappathi|
Curry- Vegetable sabjis /Fish curry/
chicken curry, Vegetable soup or
|10 PM||A cup of milk|