Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Food for healthy pregnancy

Nutrition intake during pregnancy significantly contributes to the development of an individual, it’s a crucial period which often decides the overall health of the person for years to come. Little care and caution during pregnancy can ensure that you will have a hale and healthy baby who will develop into a healthy adult. We are what we eat, so this is the time, when maximum care is required. In addition to the usual diet, we can add some amazing stuff to the diet to increase the nutritional value of the food during pregnancy.

An ideal diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and the goodness will be amplified if it is organic. Fiber intake is essential to keep bowel movement smooth and a good portion of veggies like banana flower(kodappan) and banana inner trunk (pindi) will really help. Green leafy vegetables and an assortment of different bright coloured fruits and vegetable should be made a part of the daily diet, so that all the vitamins reach your baby. Fresh fruits have more vitamins than their shelved and preserved counterparts, so pluck fresh fruits from the backyard  and have a bite, instead of consuming old/preserved fruits from supermarkets, which are packed with insecticides.

Whole grains like wheat, ragi and  boiled rice will provide the much needed carbohydrates and fibers. But make it a point to avoid maida (refined flour) and white rice. Innovative ideas like making  chappathi or roti with a combination of flours like wheat, ragi,  bajra (pearl millet), Makkai (maize) and jowar (white millet) is great, especially if you are intolerant to gluten (wheat contains gluten). The soluble fibres and low glycemic index  of  these flours are good during pregnancy. Do not try to substitute rotis with whole grain breads, as it  contains preservatives, yeast and vegetable fat

The nutritional value increases when the seeds are sprouted, hence include them in salads after  washing thoroughly so as to reduce the risk of infections. Sprouting is a simple process of germination, which can be easily carried out at home and all the pulses like green gram, chick peas, peas, lentils, fenugreek and cereals like wheat, buckwheat, rice, amaranth, oil seeds like sesame and peanuts etc can be  sprouted effortlessly.

Omega 3 fatty acids found in fishes like sardine helps in the development of infant’s brain. But too much intake of fish is not good as some fishes like tuna, shark, sword fish and king mackerel  contains higher concentration of  mercury which is not good for the baby. Nuts and dry fruits will make a healthy snack,  as most of the nuts like walnut and almonds are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, fibers and vitamins. Lean meats and eggs can be taken in limited quantities.

Coconut oil is excellent for skin nourishment, it helps in keeping the skin supple and soft  and will help in avoiding stretch marks which occur in pregnancy.

Lactobacilli are extremely useful in keeping the vagina healthy, so taking curd or fermented foods will not only help in getting protein and calcium, but also aid in avoiding infections.

Equally important is avoiding some food items, minimize eating out at hotels, especially Chinese food should be a strict no because of their ajinomoto content. Fast foods and  fried foods, bakery items and sweets can be very bad for the carrying mother and the  unborn baby and should be replaced with healthy home cooked food. To know in detail about foods to avoid during pregnancy read

Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre


Dr. Anita Mani is a renowned infertility specialist in south India with 15 years experience in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Dr. Anita has successfully set up ART hospitals in Cochin and Bangalore,  along with her spouse  Dr. S Mani, who specialises in surrogacy. She completed MRCOG, from Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist  London, DFFP from  ART Warwick university and  worked in UK for 5 years. Dr. Anitha believes in scientific and ethical practice and is currently the director of Gift Gyno IVF centre Cochin and  Bangalore.  Apart from advanced laparoscopic surgeries, she is also an expert in various ART techniques including IVF, IUI, ICSI , donor egg / sperm  and surrogacy. Her proficiency is in genetic abnormalities and high risk pregnancies.

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