Pregnancy is all about being rightly nourished at all times. It is important to understand what exactly is meant by “rightly nourished” because it is a myth that a woman needs to eat for two during this period, rather it is about making the correct choices of foods to get a well-rounded nourishment for the growth and development of the foetus.
It helps to know what happens in each trimester or even better, what happens every month to the growing foetus and how the baby shapes up with the passage of time. This really assists in planning a balanced diet to aid growth.
Developments during the first trimester:
With the technological advantage that we have, it is a pleasure to see the gradual growth of the baby inside of us through ultrasound scans. Additionally, it is important to keep ourselves educated about what is going on inside our body and this also proves to be delightfully informative to parents-to-be and assists in being better prepared.
During the first month, medical experts have deduced that the a rough facial structure is taking shape. Also with the growth of blood cells, circulation will also start. All this is happening to your baby which is still the size of a grain!
In the second month, facial features get more elaborately developed with ears shaping up as well. This is followed by hands, legs, fingers, toes growing up. Nervous system, sensory organs, digestive tract are developing and slowly bone replaces the cartilaginous structure. The embryo now with a well-defined head starts to move around a little.
Third month shows the development of finger nails, toe nails, ears, reproductive organs, functional circulatory and urinary systems and liver secretes bile. The foetus can open and close its fists and mouth. The bed of teeth is also beginning developing.
In short, the most critical development happens during the first trimester and hence it is phase of extreme caution. After the first trimester, chances of miscarriage drop down considerable.
Diet during first trimester:
It is quite normal for expectant moms to experience nausea, morning sickness, tiredness, feeling sleepy and more during these three months. And that is all thanks to the hormones at play! Advise on what to consume from doctors and experienced elders definitely helps. If required as per directions, nutritional supplements can also be taken long with regular meals. Some of the keywords to remember during this phase are short meals, hot meals and cooked meals.
In short, moms-to-be should always go for well-cooked, extremely hygienic, hot meals at regular intervals instead of going for full-fledged course meals in one shot. As such it is not possible to have them since some women would even be sensitive to certain smells too! After all each pregnancy is different.
Raw food can be disastrous if consumed without being cleaned properly. Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed. Dairy products should be well-pasteurized before consumption. Doctors opine that mothers who intake non-vegetarian food items, should be extra cautious. Eggs should be hard-boiled, meats, fish etc., should be properly cleaned up and cooked. Also medical experts advise that timely guidance should be taken from them while consuming non-vegetarian foods since possibilities of certain food allergies also may show up during these months.
A well-balanced diet should include foods rich in protein, calcium, iron, folate, vitamin A, Vitamin B12, protein, Vitamin D, Iodine, Omega 3 fatty acids and more. All of these aid to the internal developments of the baby outlined for each month.
Given the vast Indian cuisine available at our disposal, we do have a plethora of dishes to choose from. Yes we Indians are spoilt for choices! Just like it is an everyday question on what to cook, now there is an additional question on what to eat! It really helps to come up with a chart of your choices with a daily schedule. Meals can be split up as breakfast, midday snack, lunch, fore-noon snack, evening snack and dinner.
Whole-wheat bread, Indian breads (parathas, chapathis, naans, rotis, kulchas and more), rice, various dals (pulses), dosas, idlis, puris, upma, poha, sweets, vegetables, fruits, nuts, yoghurt ( phew! It is an exhaustive list!) can be split across the various meal times. It is very important to be well-hydrated at all times. Don’t forget the universal elixir, water! Couple that with coconut water once in a while. It goes without saying that you should indulge in what you enjoy.
Certain pregnancies can be rife with complications and that is when it is required to have constant medical intervention for what you eat. Don’t ever forget your medical appointments and follow to the ‘T’ any sane advice received. It will prove to be beneficial in the long run. Enjoy the phase and gear up for the next trimester!