Diet is the key to good health during and after pregnancy

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Pregnancy is a very important stage in a woman’s life. It is essential to handle the physical and emotional stress involved in pregnancy, and to do so the most important thing you need to do is eat well.

To begin with, let’s move back one step- you have decided that you want a baby. Now, it is recommended that you stay fit and eat foods that boost fertility. If you and your partner stick to a balanced diet, you are certainly boosting the chances of conceiving. Women need to add fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, protein in the form of lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs and pulses to your diet. Make sure you also have foods which contain good amount of fiber. Low fat dairy foods like skimmed milk are also essential; having a portion of yoghurt proves to be helpful. Iron rich foods such as ragi, oats and certain dry fruits are also essential in preparation for pregnancy. On the other hand men, too, need to maintain a balanced, varied, and nutritious diet just like your partner. Studies show that a healthy diet including fish, vegetables, whole grains and dry fruits like dates and figs means more and active sperms.

And then, the moment you find out that you are pregnant, the first thought that strikes is- I now need to eat well and stay healthy. Whole grains like brown rice, millets like ragi, and oats supply fiber, minerals, B complex vitamins, and protein. Make sure you include these in your diet. Fruits and leafy vegetables are especially important during this phase because they supply the very essential vitamins, minerals, calcium, and iron. What also need to be eaten without fail are nuts and seeds. These are good sources of fiber, protein, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Be sure to eat flaxseeds and walnuts to get omega-3 fatty acids, important for your health and baby’s brain and nervous system development. Dried figs are a wonder food to have at this stage as they not only help in reducing morning during the first phase of pregnancy but also lessen chances of pre-term labor and premature delivery. Also, dates strengthen uterine muscles & ease child birth.

Once you have that bundle of joy in your arms, you generally tend to completely focus on your little angel and secondly on losing those pregnancy pounds. But there’s something that’s even more important for your body- eating foods that give you the energy to take care of your baby. Almonds are believed to help in quick recovery after delivery; they also increase amount of breast milk. Dates help the uterus to come back to its original size after childbirth and also alleviate post partum depression. The milk you are breastfeeding is loaded with calcium to help your baby’s bones development and hence it is important for you to eat enough calcium to meet your own needs. Low fat dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese, thus need to be an important part of your diet. Include iron-rich legumes, whole grain carbs like brown rice, vitamin c rich foods like oranges, protein rich eggs, vitamin rich leafy green veggies, whole-grain cereal like oats and lots of water in your diet.

Pregnancy is a beautiful phase and it holds an extremely special place in the heart of every woman. It is her first handshake with the experience of being a mother, bringing a new life into the world. Think positive, exercise and eat the right foods to make this experience all the more beautiful and healthy.

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