“Birthing is the most profound initiation to spirituality a woman can have.” – Robin Lim
Women are blessed, to give birth. Thus our bodies are an artwork where we have the capacity to nurture a tiny soul for 9 months. The best part of being pregnant is that the body adapts to the changes needed by the baby.
A pregnant woman experiences many changes like low haemoglobin, a drop in albumin and glucose levels and reduced gastrointestinal motility. These, in turn, may lead to water retention, heartburn, acidity, constipation, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. However, the most obvious change is weight gain over the journey of 9 months.
While the journey is beautiful many women have this thought whether they will be able to shed off the weight? Will they be as fit as they were before pregnancy? Well, the answer to all the weight-related questions is a big Yes! While being pregnant the one thing which should be taken care of is eating mindfully yet not compromising with the nutrients required by the baby and mother.
A large part of putting on weight depends on the pre-pregnancy weight. As per the Indian standards, the ideal weight gain for a healthy pregnancy is as follows:
|Pre Pregnancy BMI (kg/m2)||Total Weight Gain in 9 months (kgs)|
|Underweight (< 19.8)||12.5 – 18|
|Normal weight (19.8 – 23)||11.5 – 16|
|Overweight (>23 and < 24.9)||7 – 11.5|
As per the table, a normal weight gain of 11 to 13 kgs throughout 9 months is appropriate.
So what is the trick! Should you go on some specific diet or should you eat cautiously? Well, when pregnant it is very important that a baby gets the required nutrients. Going on a diet is not the done thing. Rather eating the right food at the right time is the trick. This also gives cheat days to squeeze in cravings and over indulgences.
Here are some things you can include in your diet:
Dairy Products: Milk and milk and products like paneer, curd, buttermilk, lassi are fortified with proteins, calcium and phosphorus. to fulfil the daily requirement a minimum of 3-4 helpings of these should be taken.
Whole Grain Cereals: These are cereals like broken wheat, brown rice, wheat flour and jowar. These cereals are enriched with high fibre, thereby, giving a feeling of fullness. They also relieve constipation. During pregnancy, it is very common to eat bread, toast or khakra when nauseous. One must try to eat these made from whole grain cereals.
Nuts and Dry Fruits: Are you heading over for those salty cashews. Hold back, opt for almonds or walnuts as they are better a better choice. They are low in cholesterol and have omega 3 which help to maintain the hormone balance, nerve transmission and blood clotting in pregnant women. These are also helpful for the developing baby as they enhance immunity after birth.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables: A minimum helping of 5-6 servings of fruit and vegetables provide an appropriate amount of minerals, vitamins, and fibres for a healthy pregnancy. The best part of eating fruit and vegetables is that they are low in calories and can easily satisfy that sweet tooth craving.
Legumes: Legumes and dals are packed with proteins required by the pregnant body. It is commonly observed that too much of pulses may lead to flatulence. Thus it is advised to eat these in moderation.
Healthy Fats: Say yes to ghee. Have a tablespoon od ghee with your lunch and dinner. Ghee is rich in minerals and vitamins and is very good for the mother and baby. However, moderation is the key. Other than ghee, a MUFA rich oil can also be used.
Animal Products: Proteins can also be obtained from animal sources like fish, egg whites and lean chicken cuts. Non-vegetarian meals offer complete proteins, omega 3, calcium and iron. These are great to boost immunity while pregnant.
While you are planning a way to a healthy 9-month journey, do take care of the following facts:
- Avoid fried foods. These are high in fats and can lead to weight gain. Also, these may provoke acidity and other discomforts in pregnancy.
- Say no to junk food. Agreed everyone likes junk food, but these foods may affect the baby’s weight. Also, the baby can suffer from endocrine disorders.
- Can’t resist those pani-puris. Well, hold back your cravings as most street foods are unhygienic. They may be laden with dust and microorganisms which can easily give rise to health issues. Also, these foods affect immunity.
- Don’t make the mistake of eating for two people. This is a very famous notion in Indian families. Agreed that you are carrying a soul within you but this does not mean that your baby can start eating right away. Just stick to healthy options and the baby’s requirement for the adequate vitamins and minerals will be fulfilled.
- Don’t give in to the midnight cravings. Instead of an unhealthy option opt for a healthy one.
- Say yes to some form of physical exercise. Pregnancy can easily take a toll on the body but going without exercise can reduce the metabolic rate and give rise to layers of fat!
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