Good nutrition is necessary during pregnancy to keep you and your developing baby healthy. The need for certain nutrients such as energy, Protein, Iron, Iodine, Calcium and Folate increases during this period. It is recommended to have a balanced diet, including five basic food groups such as cereals, pulses, fruits, vegetables, milk & its products and fats that provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals. Babies born with a healthy weight have a lower risk of health problems at birth and later in life. During winters, you should take special care as winters are associated with flu-like infections, common colds, chills, etc. Pregnancy care during winter should ideally comprise measures to elevate immunity levels by consuming the right kind of food in the right quantity. National Nutrition Week 2018; Pregnancy Tips: Here Are Dietician-Recommended Healthy Foods Mothers-to-Be Must Add in Their Diet.
Here are a few vital tips from Dr Bandita Sinha, Gynaecologist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi- A Fortis Associate AND Ms Niyati Likhite, Dietician, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.
Healthy Foods to eat During winter-
- Eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups. The quantity of calories you need for your body depends on your daily physical activity, weight before pregnancy and current weight. Pregnancy into 3 periods of time is known as trimesters, in the first trimester, you usually do not need extra calories. In the second and third trimesters, most women should eat at least about 300 extra calories daily.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as they are rich in antioxidants which helps in boosting immunity. It is recommended to have Vitamin-C rich fruits like Orange, Sweetlime, Melons, Amla and Banana, which ensures better Iron absorption. Eat more dark Green, Red, and Orange vegetables. Dark Green vegetables include Broccoli, Spinach, Shepu, Lettuce, and Cauliflower greens. Orange and Red vegetables like Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash and Red Peppers
- Iodine is an important mineral needed for the production of Thyroid Hormone, which is vital for growth and development. Inadequate Iodine intake during pregnancy increases the risk of mental impairment and Cretinism (severely stunted physical & mental growth) in the new-born baby. Good sources of Iodine includes seafood, Eggs & Iodized Salt
- Drink plenty of liquids to keep yourself hydrated. Have liquids in form of fresh juices, lime water, Buttermilk, Milkshakes, Soups, Dal water
- Eat a good amount of foods that are rich in Iron such as lean meat, beans, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.
- Eat at least 3- 4 servings of milk and milk products to meet the increased requirement of Calcium and Protein.
- Eat at least 8 to 10 servings of grains and pulses to meet the additional Calories for baby’s development
- Constipation is commonly observed during pregnancy. Eat foods high in fibres like fruits, vegetables, salads, beans, grains and oilseeds (Flax seeds, Sunflower seeds, Chia seeds, Sabja, and Pumpkin seeds). Megan Markle’s Pregnancy Considered Geriatric? Know All About The Risks of Getting Pregnant After 35.
Foods to Avoid During Winter
- Foods and drinks that are high in saturated fat, added sugar and salt are not a necessary part of a healthy diet and should be limited
- Do not drink Alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can increase your risk of a miscarriage, stillbirth and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Your baby may also be born too small and have other health problems, such as learning problems later in life.
- Limit your intake of caffeine to avoid possible health problems. Caffeine may be found in Coffee, Tea, Cola, sports drinks, and Chocolate.
- Avoid fish high in Mercury, uncooked or raw food, undercooked, raw and processed meat, raw eggs, raw sprouts, unpasteurized milk and its products. This may increase the risk of bacterial infections.
- Avoid processed foods during pregnancy as they can increase the risk of excess weight gain, Gestational Diabetes and its complications.
Tips to take care of during pregnancy in winters
- Hydration: Chilled and dry winter air can cause dehydration in the body. Expectant mothers should be well hydrated otherwise dryness of skin may lead to skin rashes, decrease in Amniotic Fluid and also cause repeated Urine Infection. Apart from water, Coconut water and homemade soups are good for keeping them hydrated. Good hydration also prevents preterm labour.
- Avoid outdoor activity in extremely cold days: Winter comes with many health issues. Pregnant women have less immunity so they are prone to get various infections very quickly. A cough and cold are very common in winter. It is important to get Flu vaccine when they are in 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Over the counter, drugs should be avoided. Medicine, if required, should be taken as per doctors’ advice
- Moisturize: Dry skin can get itchy and flaky during winters. The skin should be moisturised properly especially after bath to avoid itchiness and stretch marks
- Exercise: Light exercises and prenatal Yoga (under guidance) is beneficial in many ways. It keeps the body flexible, strengthens the immune system and helps to fight illnesses like common cold and flu. It also prevents swelling and leg cramps, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, etc.
- Protect yourself: Keep a safe distance from sick people. Also, keep yourself clean this will help protect you from many diseases. Getting enough sleep is also important for the proper growth of the baby.
- Dress comfortably: Layering of clothes is important to protect from cold. Very tight clothing should be avoided.
- Diet: It should well-balanced and healthy. Salt and Sugar should be consumed in moderation. There is a tendency of rising of blood pressure during winters. Salty food and processed food should be avoided.
Pregnancy care during winter should ideally comprise measures to elevate immunity levels by consuming the right kind of food in the right quantity.