What to eat when you're expecting

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What to eat when youre expecting

Pregnancy brings with it all kinds of aches, pains and discomforts. But the right diet can do wonders for the body

By Deepshikha Agarwal, Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist

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Published: Thu 13 Dec 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 14 Dec 2018, 1:00 AM

Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman's life, one where they deserve extra pampering. However, as the foetus develops, women have a number of symptoms from nausea and fatigue to hypertension. Luckily, a lot can be done to make a woman comfortable during this trying time - and having the right diet is integral. Here are some common grievances women face during pregnancy, and how they can be taken care of with food:
Morning sickness: The most common symptoms women face during pregnancy are fatigue and nausea that mainly occur in the initial stages (commonly called morning sickness). At least 50 per cent of pregnant women experience this condition. To avoid this, one can keep munching on salty snacks like crisps, rusks, rice or ragi crackers, khakhra, bread, salted nuts or fruits. Eat at regular intervals. Drink liquids and eat solid foods a half hour apart.
Allergies: Women are more likely to develop allergies during pregnancy. Incorporating ginger or lemon tea into the diet can help. However, be cautious of the type of teas you are using. Choose products in filtered teabags.

Constipation: As the developing fpetus puts pressure on the digestive tract, constipation becomes common, especially during the second half of the pregnancy. For this, a liberal intake of fluids is very important. Three to four litres of water need to be had everyday. Moreover, make use of natural laxatives such as high fibre foods (wholegrain cereal, husked pulses, fibrous vegetables, fruits, leafy vegetables, apples, pears, papayas, melons, oranges and sweet limes). Decrease intake of caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee as they cause water loss. In fact, heavy caffeine drinkers face loads of ailments such as acidity, heart burn and reflux at times.
Hypertension: During pregnancy, women may observe fluctuations in their blood pressures. Hypertension may be mild or severe. To decrease these fluctuations, avoid rich, fried, strongly-flavoured or spicy foods. Restrict salty foods like chips, sauces and canned items. One should try and take adequate rest and get sound sleep. Keep legs raised by placing two pillows below the ankle to prevent swelling near the ankle area.
Gastric pressure: Many to-be-mothers also face uncomfortable sensations like feelings of fullness /heaviness or burning in the chest. This can be due to gas formation/gastric pressure. This can be avoided by taking smaller, more frequent meals. Try to have small meals after every four hours. Avoid late, heavy dinners. Try to go out for walks for at least 15-20 minutes after your main meals. The walks need not be brisk, just a stroll through the streets will do the trick.
Keep in mind that being pregnant is not a reason to overeat. The famous "Eat for two" proverb should not be taken literally. Instead, one should concentrate on the overall nutritive value of the diet. Ideally, the desirable weight gain of a healthy pregnant woman should be about 12-13 kgs. To-be-mothers should increase their caloric content by 300kcal per day, increasing this to 500kcal in the last three months. Protein (found in chicken, fish, milk, eggs and plant foods such as legumes, nuts and seeds) intake should be increased by 10 grams. Last, but not least, mums-to-be should avoid any kind of unnecessary medicines, especially during early pregnancy stages.
Here is a nutrient-dense, easy-to-make snack for mums-to-be:
One slice multigrain bread
½ avocado, sliced
½ tomato, sliced
1 tsp flax seeds
30 gm feta cheese
A dash of lime
Salt, pepper & chilli flakes
Berries of your choice
Toast the bread. Cut the feta cheese into small pieces.
Place the cheese on the bread. Spread a layer of sliced tomato followed by avocado slices.
Add salt, pepper and chilli flakes on top. Add a dash of lime juice. Garnish it with flax seeds and berries of your choice.
Enjoy this wholesome snack.

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