Diet during pregnancy
Diet and lifestyle plays a major role during pregnancy from maternal to fetal health. It is very crucial to take care of diet during pregnancy. In one of the Ayurveda classical text book ‘Charaka Samhita’ it is mentioned that ‘The life of living thing is food; the entire world seeks food, complexion clarity, good voice long life, understanding, happiness, satisfaction, growth intelligence etc. are all because of food.”
‘Kashyapa Samhita’ elaborates on pregnancy care. During pregnancy the mother’s nutrition bears a great impact on the foetus’s growth and its future. Ayurveda lays great emphasis on ensuring holistic nutrition. A combination of Ahara (diet), Vihara (regimen), Vichara (emotions/thoughts) and Aushadha (medications) have been given great significance in Ayurveda in antenatal care called as Garbhini Paricharya.
Recommendations for pregnancy
In the 1st trimester, pregnant women have to manage between morning sickness, food aversion, fatigue and discomfort and eating healthy food can become a challenge. Most of the pregnant women finds no desire to eat food. Body is experiencing surge in hormone which can lead to nausea and it can also trigger digestive discomfort including constipation and reflux. Food rich in calcium, Vitamin C and nutrients and important in first trimester. Ayurveda recommends use of good quality ghee and milk for fulfilling the requirement of protein and fat to support. Lot of liquid food is advised to avoid dehydration in case the pregnant lady is unable to eat well. It’s good to avoid spicy food, oily deep fried food, Processed food as it can increase digestive issues.
In the 2nd, trimester, the complaints ease out and this phase of pregnancy has less discomforts compared to the first trimester. However it is very important to eat right in a manner that ensures that both mother and fetus receive adequate nutrition. Eating a normal home cooked meal is always the preference. Iron is required for adequate supply of oxygen. Iron deficiency can cause anemia and may lead to premature birth. Calcium and Vit D are essential for development of fetal bone and teeth. Do note that the fetal bone development takes place during the second trimester. Magnesium rich food such as Almonds, banana, spinach are recommended to help better nerve and muscle functions and maintain normal blood pressure in the pregnant woman.
Ayurveda recommends Butter and Ghee helps in building up the muscle tissue. Butter is sweet in taste and very cold (cooling) in potency. It has the property of preventing bleeding during pregnancy. Butter is said to improve strength, digestion and complexion.
These recommendations should be followed under a physician’s advise.
The 3rd Trimester is a different experience with emotional and physical challenges owing to increase in changes in fetus and maternal body. Hunger pangs might increase and many times women complain of waking at night or early morning due to hunger. Women also experience constipation in late pregnancy due to pressure of gravid uterus over the bowels. The fetal demands start increasing and nature starts helping the mother get ready to deliver.
Therefore food has to be in accordance to the condition. Fiber rich food, diet high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat forms of protein. Slightly more folic acid is needed in the 3 rd trimester. So fortified cereals, green leafy vegetables, and wholegrains are good to have.
General Dont’s during pregnancy
- Aerated drinks.
- Food with taste enhancers such as MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).
- Food with preservatives.
- Sweets or desserts frequently.
- Processed food such as white sugar, white flour etc.