I am a mother of three lovely kids and working as a HR/Finance Head in my own company. I am blessed with 10 year old daughter and 3 and a half year old twins (A boy and a girl). Today, I want to share a few insights on nutrition for expecting mother via Credihealth Blog.

When we were planning our first kid, I met my doctor friend (a gynecologist) coincidentally around that time and discussed it with her. That time she advised me to consult her once again, before we plan. I went to see her and that day I got stunned like never before as I came to know about how important it is to plan pregnancy and what to do before I plan? I came to know that 60% pregnancies in India, 51% pregnancies in European countries (whom we consider developed countries) and 38% pregnancies worldwide are unplanned! And I was the one of them until I met my doctor friend.

So what happens if pregnancies are unplanned?

As per FDA National Dietary Guidelines, there are two specific recommendations for nutrition for expecting mother – related to iron and folate (folic acid).  Folic acid consists of Vitamin B that helps a baby’s neural tube — the part of the embryo that becomes the brain and spinal cord of the baby– develop properly by almost 70%. It is very much essential to start taking folic acid before conception and continue taking it through the third month of pregnancy, when the baby’s neural tube is developing, to prevent birth defects in the spine and skull. You can get folic acid by taking a multivitamin pill that gives 400 micrograms (mcg) of it daily.

So you can say that you are putting your arriving baby’s life in danger if you don’t take sufficient amount of folic acid before and during pregnancy. In fact, severe anaemia (iron deficiency can cause anaemia) during pregnancy can impair growth, motor movements and mental development in children and they may exhibit a shortened attention span and decreased alertness. Such children are also having an increased risk for stroke. Anaemia in the mother can also be passed on to her baby.

So if you are planning to have a healthy baby please start taking Folic Acid pills (under supervision and after consultation of an trusted gynecologist only) at least 3 months prior to conception. And if that is not possible due to some reason please increase intake of food which are rich in iron.

Some sources of Iron-rich foods are:

  • Leafy greens such as fenugreek (methi), spinach (paalak), lamb’s quarters (bathua), coriander (dhania) and mint (pudina)
  • Spices such as cumin seeds (jeera), bay leaf (tej patta), turmeric (haldi)
  • Soya nuggets ,potatoes (aloo) or other vegetables such as capsicum (shimla mirch) and peas (matar)
  • Iron fortified semolina (suji)
  • Legumes (lentils and beans) such as bengal gram (chana), chickpeas (kabuli chana), kidney beans (rajma), yellow gram (moong dal), pigeon peas (arhar, toor dal).
  • Boiled egg yolk
  • Lemonade (nimbu pani)

Again, iron alone cannot be absorbed in the body. Vitamin C helps our body to absorb the iron we ingest with our food. So try to take vitamin C rich foods along with your meals or a Vitamin C tablet (under supervision of a trusted gynecologist only) with your Iron supplement. This is especially important if you are a vegetarian because the Iron from vegetarian sources is not absorbed by the body as easily as Iron from non-vegetarian sources.

Vitamin C enriched foods are:

  • Guava (amrud)
  • Tomato (tamatar)
  • Lemonade (nimbu pani)
  • Indian gooseberry (amla)

Foods rich in both Iron and vitamin C:

  • Broccoli (hari gobhi)
  • Peas (matar)
  • Beans (lobia)
  • Sprouts of horse gram (kala chana)

So I hope this article can be helpful to those who are planning to have a baby and to them also who are having somebody around them . Kindly spread my words and help our country in having healthy and fit kids.                             Wish you all a healthy and happy life!

nikita-sharmaContributed By Nikita Sharma: An efficient juggler between career and motherhood. She has zest for learning new things, a soothing smile and the does the balancing act between motherhood and her business.

Originally published on Oowomaniya
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).

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