In this pregnancy class, Sonali Shivlani takes you through everything you need to know about staying healthy and well-nourished. Take notes because you’re about to learn the importance of nutrition for you and your growing belly
ONE of the first things we discuss with moms, when they come to a prenatal class, is their diet. When I ask expectant mum why they think their diet is crucial, they all unequivocally tell me, “I eat healthy because my baby is growing and needs all the nourishment he can get.” That is absolutely right. But there is much more to it. Your baby is growing physically and mentally. From one tiny bean-like organism, your baby will grow into a living, breathing human being, about 20 inches long when it’s time for him to be born. His brain will have developed trillions of neurons which will make multiple connections. If that’s not all, he’ll grow to be a healthy birthweight, have well-functioning organs, and will even have tastebuds. All this in just a few short months. Your healthy diet means tremendous benefits for your little one.
But if you think your baby will be the only benefi ciary of a healthy diet, think again. Eating right means you’ll have a healthy pregnancy, optimum pregnancy weight gain, a timely and easy birth, faster weight loss post delivery and overall optimum management of pregnancy hormones. But the question remain, what is a healthy diet? It’s simple. All it takes is just a little bit of understanding and planning. That simply means, eating a balnaced diet that includes all food groups. Let me elaborate:
● CARBOHYDRATES: Choose whole grains and avoid unrefined grains. Whole grains have more fibre, protein and vitamins and are the healthier choice. Six to 11 servings per day is what is recommended. Some of the options are whole wheat, brown rice, nachni, jowar, bajra, rajgira, oats, etc. which can be had as rotis, chillas, idlis, or porridge.
● FRUIT AND VEGETABLES: Choose a variety of colours. Remember the more colours you eat, the wider the range of nutrients you will get. Consume a minimum of five servings from this group. Just remember, do not fry your vegetables and do not strain your fruit.
● PROTEINS: These are the building blocks of cells. And as your baby will go from a single-cell organism to a mult-celled organism, there’s no doubt that proteins play the starring role when it comes to pregnancy nutrition. Vegetarians might find it slightly harder to get the recommended daily intake of protein, due to their limited options. However, consuming small quantities of protein rich-foods like lean meats, eggs, soy, sprouts, pulses, legumes etc. four to five times a day is a healthy choice.
● DAIRY: The baby develops bones, teeth, muscles and the nervous system in the womb and calcium is the key nutrient for this development. Moms need to have three servings of milk or milk products daily, which means it’s important to consume milk, yoghurt, paneer, lassi and in small quantities, even cheese.