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What happens if you don't eat enough while pregnant?

What happens if you don’t eat enough while pregnant?

Pregnancy care and maternal nutrition:

Maternal nutrition is an irreplaceable part of a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Effective prenatal care may include various things from taking prenatal vitamins to regularizing on physical exercise. Maternal nutrition offers unique opportunities to address and overcome concurrent health problems. Prenatal nutrition plays a crucial role not just in foetal development and growth but also in the health the offspring carries throughout his/her life.

A balanced prenatal regimen contributes to foetal health and prevention of congenital malformations, low birth weight and premature birth. Pregnancy is often reckoned as the right time to facilitate a healthy diet. Evidence shows that a high body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy, obesity and malnutrition in pregnancy may raise the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCD). Your obstetrician may ask you to join an aerobics or pregnancy exercise class. 

Optimal nutrition in pregnancy... What's that?

Optimal nutrition in pregnancy is vital for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. A healthy diet in pregnancy minimizes the chances of your baby developing some dreaded illnesses later in life. They may be diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Studies even denote that a healthy diet in pregnancy is the secret to drastically minimize the chances of your baby acquiring eczema, hay fever and asthma after childbirth. A conceiving diet allows you to enhance your fertility and carry the pregnancy to term. 

How would you start?

Give a zestful start to your pregnancy diet by including whole foods. Prefer minimally processed foods and those close to the natural form. Avoid packaged foods, especially if the packaged foods contain any unfamiliar ingredient.

  • Protein:

Most women need about 80gm of protein in pregnancy. Seek your obstetrician's help to calculate the recommended daily dose of protein.

  • Healthy fats:

Fats are known to interfere with weight management programs. But research shows that healthy fats may be necessary for all types of body systems. Adequate fat plays a crucial role in the growth of a baby's organs and brain. Avocado, seeds, eggs and nuts may help satiate your fat requirements in pregnancy. 

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits:

All of us know how important vegetables and fruits are in our dietary regimen. Fruits and vegetables form some of the richest sources of minerals, fibres and vitamins. A fibrous diet is known to aid in a healthy lifestyle free of dyspepsia and constipation. Enjoying a good variety of fruits and vegetables will help you obtain a majority of the dietary essentials. Take green leafy vegetables and increase your intake of folate every day. 

  • Medium intake of starch and grains:

Brown rice, whole-grain foods like whole-grain pasta and whole oats are a few of the beneficial choices. Avoid high consumption of carbohydrates including sugars and refined carbohydrates. These are the ingredients that dysregulate the blood sugar levels raising the risk of gestational diabetes. Foods containing starches are essential in medium quantity. However, make sure your obstetrician is okay with your decisions on grains and starches. If you are allergic to grains, it's best to avoid them. If you find them beneficial for your overall health, make sure you render them digestible. Making the grains more digestible by various techniques like soaking may add value to your diet. Digestible grains also increase the nutritional availability in them.

  • Reasons to avoid processed and high sugar foods:

 Processed and high sugar foods contain below average nutrition. They often contain chemicals harmful to your health and your baby's future. Replace every food as such with something more nutritious. It will help you feel satiated and contented all day long. 

  • Now it's about fluids:

Morning sickness and constipation tend to haunt pregnant women more often. Various changes in hormones and the overall system make every day different from days before conception. A rise in the blood volume in pregnancy makes it mandatory to increase daily water intake. Adequate levels of water support pregnant women's digestive health. They are even essential to replenish the amniotic fluid of the baby. Most fluids come from water, juices and herbal teas. Fluids are essential to effectively tackle dietary essentials. But it's more important to avoid fluids containing caffeine. Avoid soft drinks, alcohol, tea, coffee, soft drinks and soda. Conceiving Healthy foods help a healthy conception. And fluids provide the proper support throughout the pregnancy.

  • Multivitamins:

The spinal cord of a foetus tends to develop 4 weeks after conception. Folic acid aids a healthy pregnancy like no other vitamin. Most obstetricians recommend 400mcg folic acid. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in the foetus. Make sure you start administering folic acid right after knowing that you are pregnant. If you have realized that you have an MTHFR gene mutation, start supplementing Leucovorin. Conceiving foods help raise fertility levels. And maintaining nutrition throughout pregnancy takes some smart efforts. 

  • Magnesium:

Magnesium plays a crucial role in foetal bone health and teeth development. Magnesium allows the muscles to relax. Muscular relaxation directly helps prevent constipation. It even contributes actively to tissue growth and promotes sound sleep. Magnesium may help prevent premature contraction of the uterus. 

  • Omega-3:

Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the neurological and visual development of the foetus. Omega-3s are linked to the production of breast milk. Studies denote many positive outcomes of omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy help boost the baby's IQ. They are vital for the cognitive development of the foetus. Some studies show that omega-3 fatty acids may effectively tackle the risk of allergy development in the baby. Reduction in premature labour, lower risk of maternal depression and low risk of preeclampsia are the other health benefits of adequate omega-3 fatty acids. However, the requirement of omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy may differ from woman to woman. Seek your obstetrician's opinion on the appropriate level of intake. 

  • Probiotics - What about them?

Parental history of allergies may interfere with the baby's health later in life. If you both or either one of the partners has a history of allergies, your obstetrician may guide you on which probiotics can benefit your pregnancy. Some probiotics may help prevent the risk of the babies developing allergies. 

Foods to avoid in pregnancy:

  1. Salad bars
  2. Soft cheeses
  3. Raw fish
  4. Fish containing mercury
  5. Cuts of cured meat 
  6. Unwashed fruits and vegetables
  7. High levels of caffeine
  8. Raw eggs
  9. Undercooked meats

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