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Must-have foods during pregnancy

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Weekend Plus Desk :
The feeling of motherhood is beyond words, it brings with it a wave of happiness as well as agony. The phase is very crucial for both, the expecting mother as well as for the baby. Pregnancy is one of the very pivotal stages in the life of a woman, wherein the foetus is completely dependent on the mother for all the nutritional requirements. Hence, it becomes even more important to take care of physical as well as emotional well-being of the mother during this period.
As per experts, food plays an important role in shaping up the health of the baby. Thus, the prospective mother should be conscious of what she is consuming keeping in mind the proper health and development of the baby.
The phase is tough for the mother as her body goes through lot changes, which calls for extra care as well as nutrition. In fact, the body needs all vital elements such as vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and nutrients, which will help the fetus to grow. Here are a few foods that help in the holistic development of the mother and child during this phase. Scroll down to know more about it!
Calcium
It is very essential for the prospective mother to consume ample calcium as it helps in the overall development of the baby. Moreover, calcium is an important ingredient, which contributes to the development of the baby’s bones, teeth, nerves, muscles and even a healthy heart. Not only this, according Dr Rita Bakshi, Senior Gynaecologist and Founder, International Centre, “Calcium is important in providing ample nutrition to the mother, which further reduces the occurrence of health problems like hypertension and preeclampsia. Some rich sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese and broccoli.”
Fiber
Consuming fiber is also very important during pregnancy. Fiber helps in proper food absorption. This shall help in the proper regulation of blood sugar levels. The fiber actually makes the mother feel satiated for a longer time, while controlling unwanted weight gain. Some rich sources of fiber are apples, citrus fruits and berries. It is always advised to eat a variety of fruits, vegetable, seeds and nuts to ensure that your body gets optimal fibers.
Iron
Iron is actually accounted in the development of haemoglobin in the body and help in carrying out oxygen in the entire body. To suffice this, the mother should actually increase the consumption of iron in her foods. Lack of iron in the body can result in several birth defects like premature birth, still births, low birth weight etc; To prevent these it is important that the mother has iron-rich foods like salmons, almonds, oats, apricots, spinach.
Zinc
Zinc for pregnant women actually helps in the formation of the baby's cells and DNA. It actually develops the baby's immune system to fight off infections and diseases. Zinc must be consumed in optimum quantities for the proper growth and development of the baby's body. Some rich sources of zinc are ginger, chicken, lentils, cereals, tofu and eggs.
Protein
These help in the supply of blood and even support the changes in the mother’s body and the baby's growth. Having protein during pregnancy helps in the growth of the tissues in the body. Moreover, it helps in developing the foetal tissues and helps in the growth of the uterine and breast tissues. Some rich sources of proteins are soy, tofu, cereals, dry fruits and sweet potatoes.

Healthy Fats
Yes, fats are important too, but only healthy ones. Healthy fats contribute in preventing low birth weight and birth defects. Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA’s support baby’s health development. Some fats like monounsaturated fats even help in lowering cholesterol. Some rich sources of healthy fats are peanut oil, avocados, cashews, peanuts and black olives.
It is an old age saying that the expecting mother should always eat a meal for two. But, it is important to be picky at this stage to ensure that the foods supplement the nutritional needs of both, mother and baby.

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