Trimesterwise Pregnancy Meal Planning — 2nd Trimester

A pregnant woman’s body goes through different phases. It is very necessary that she eats a healthy diet as the developing baby receives all the nutrients from her. A healthy diet during the gestation period refers to a perfect balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat to the body. A balanced diet should contain adequate calories and provide your baby with essential nutrients.

As the baby starts developing, the nutritional requirements also vary. So, it becomes necessary that the pregnant woman takes proper care of her diet and heeds the nutritional needs of the different phases of pregnancy. In order to keep your level of energy high and ensure your body gets the essential nutrients you can have three meals a day along with snacks. Moreover, a pregnant woman should drink lots of water throughout the day.

During the second trimester, the external body structures and all the major organs of the baby start forming. During this phase, you should ensure your diet includes foods that contain vitamins, minerals, proteins, calcium, magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acid.

Breakfast: Eating a healthy breakfast provides you enough energy to remain active throughout the day. And it becomes more necessary to have a healthy breakfast when you are pregnant. During the second trimester, you should have a balanced meal which may include:

  • Eggs
  • Whole grains like whole wheat toast, whole wheat flakes, daliya, oats
  • Fruits
  • Skimmed milk

Lunch: During pregnancy, having a proper lunch is also very important. You can include the following:

  • Whole grains and millets like brown rice, whole wheat breads, quinoa, fox tail millet, bajra, jowar
  • Fortified cereals
  • Lean meats like chicken and fish
  • Yoghurt/ curd/ paneer
  • All Vegetables
  • Beans/ Legumes like Chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, black eyed beans, peas, soya bean etc
  • Lentils/ Pulses/Dals

Dinner: Having a healthy dinner is also necessary to keep yourself and your baby healthy. Include food such as:

  • Brown rice
  • Vegetables
  • Grilled chicken or fish
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Fortified breads
  • Whole wheat Pasta, rotis

Snacks: You can have one or two snacks between meals. You can include the following as healthy snacks:

  • Fruits
  • Low fat milk and dairy products
  • Ready to eat cereals
  • Porridges from Grains like ragi malt, oats
  • Soya milk
  • Soups
  • Vegetable juices
  • Fruits salad
  • Nuts, Seeds and dried fruits

Trimesterwise Pregnancy Meal Planning — 1st Trimester

When a woman becomes pregnant, a little bit of extra care is needed as the body undergoes several transformations. The foetus needs different nutrients to develop into a healthy baby. And all these requirements are fulfilled by the mother through a healthy diet and vitamin/mineral supplements. Eating well becomes very important as unhealthy foods may harm your baby.  The weight gain in pregnancy is based on the pre pregnancy body mass index (BMI). If you’re starting pregnancy at a healthy weight, a weight gain of 0.5 – 2 .0 kgs is recommended in the first trimester. The focus is on having a balanced and nutrient rich diet.

The first trimester or the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is very crucial as during this stage the foetus starts growing. The brain, spinal cord, heart, arm and leg buds of the baby starts forming. So you should make sure to have healthy foods. It is even better to focus on your diet before planning your pregnancy.

You may not feel like eating due to nausea and morning sickness during the first trimester, but you should try to eat, and that too, healthy. A properly nourished mother can even lower the risk of any postpartum complications.

A healthy balanced diet during pregnancy should be rich in good quality proteins, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, B complex vitamins and vitamin C with optimum calories. Folic acid is especially important during the first trimester.

So, plan your meal with nutrient-rich foods. You can include the following foods in your diet during the first trimester:

 Cereals: 9 servings of cereals should be consumed per day of which at least 3 to 4 servings should be whole grains. Whole grains have more vitamins and minerals than processed grains, as well as fibre. Fibre helps in maintaining proper bowel function and lowers the risk of developing constipation. You can have:

  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat, broken wheat
  • Millets (ragi, jowar, bajra, foxtail millet, quinoa)
  • Oats
  • Whole grain bread

Protein-rich Foods:  Focus on having good quality proteins and have at least 3 to 4 servings daily. Your diet can include:

  • Lean meat like chicken and fish
  • Whole Egg
  • Beans/Legumes like kidney beans, black beans, black eyed beans, peas etc
  • Lentils/Pulses/Dals
  • Nuts
  • Paneer
  • Soya and soy products

Dairy Products: As dairy products contain calcium and protein, 2 to 3 servings (approximately 500 ml) per day are necessary during the first trimester. Calcium is needed for development of bones and teeth of the baby. You can have low fat or non-fat dairy products like:

  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt/Curd
  • Milk
  • Paneer

Vegetables: You should have around 3 to 5 servings of vegetables daily. Vegetables contain essential vitamins like folate, minerals like calcium and iron, fibre and are low in fat, as well. You can include vegetables like:

  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, amaranth, gogu, fenugreek
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Gourd and squash vegetables
  • Cauliflower
  • Capsicum/ Bell peppers
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Peas

Fruits: 2 to 4 servings of fruits daily are necessary during the first trimester. You can choose fresh, dried or frozen fruits. Whole fruits are preferable to juices as they contain fibre. As citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, you should include at least one type of citrus fruits on your daily meal chart. In addition to vitamin C and fibre, fruits provide folate, vitamin A and potassium. You can include fruits like:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Orange
  • Sweet lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Melons
  • Berries
  • Ripe papaya
  • Pomegranate
  • Watermelon
  • Guava

Acne During Pregnancy – Causes and Ways to Treat It

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Acne during pregnancy is quite common and nothing to worry about.  Though it is not a special form of acne, some pregnant women do have trouble with it. Usually, it occurs during the first trimester and disappears within the third trimester. If you do not have acne during the first trimester, the chance of its occurrence during the second and third trimester is low.

more “Acne During Pregnancy – Causes and Ways to Treat It”

Yeast Infection (vaginal thrush) During Pregnancy

What is a yeast infection?

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Vulvovaginal candidiasis, often referred to as yeast infection, is a common gynaecologic ailment, affecting 75% of women at least once in their lifetime. More than 40% will have 2 or more episodes and infection occurs more frequently in pregnant women. Yeast infection is caused by a fungus called Candida. This is found in small numbers in the normal vagina. However, when the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina is altered, the yeast may overgrow and cause symptoms. more “Yeast Infection (vaginal thrush) During Pregnancy”

Ultrasound During Pregnancy

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Ultrasound or sonogram is a method that uses sound waves to study the internal parts of a human body. It is widely used in all branches of medicine, especially in obstetrics and gynaecology. Undergoing an Ultrasound scan is a special part of a pregnancy, as you get to see your baby for the first time in the visual image created by an ultrasound. This imaging technique helps the doctor to evaluate various aspects of a pregnancy, including detection of birth defects and determination of the well-being of the unborn baby. more “Ultrasound During Pregnancy”

Vaccines During Pregnancy — Are They Safe?

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Giving birth to a baby is one of the most profound, emotionally-rich and transformational experiences of your life. During pregnancy, you need to undergo different tests during prenatal visits. Though vaccinations are a vital part of normal healthcare, you may wonder if it is safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy. This is quite normal and you have every right to know about it.

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Normally, vaccines that contain killed i.e., inactivated viruses are given to women during pregnancy. Vaccines containing live viruses are not given.

During pregnancy, mainly two vaccines are recommended:

  • Flu shot

Flu or influenza shot is recommended to women who conceived during the flu season i.e., typically between November and March. As this vaccine is made from an inactivated virus, it is completely safe for the mother and the baby in the womb. Avoid influenza nasal spray vaccine as it is made from an active virus. The influenza shot protects you from infection and also helps in protecting your baby. It is recommended to pregnant women as they are more prone to severe flu than other women.

  • Tdap vaccine

Tdap vaccine i.e., tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis protects your baby from whooping cough, regardless of the fact when you had the last shot. One dose is recommended to pregnant women between the 27thand 36th week even if they were vaccinated before pregnancy.

Both the vaccines have great safety records which make them safe during pregnancy. Antibodies from mothers can save babies who are too young to get vaccinated.

During pregnancy, you need to avoid vaccines such as:

  • MMR (Measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine
  • Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine
  • Varicella-zoster (Shingles) vaccine

If you are planning a pregnancy, talk to your doctor regarding the vaccinations you need to take before getting pregnant. Vaccines that contain live viruses should be taken at least one month prior to conceiving. And if you are pregnant and have been vaccinated before, you should be well aware of the vaccines taken so that you can provide a record of the immunizations to your doctor.

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Why should women share their birthing experiences?

Dr.EvitaPregnancy, birthing and bonding with the newborn baby are significant phases in a woman’s journey to motherhood.  Women when given the right knowledge as part of the preparation, enjoy a positive birthing experience. This essentially means she has been given the freedom to make choices during labour, assured of a birth companion of her choice, encouraged to birth in the position she feels comfortable and finally enjoys holding her baby to her chest (skin-to-skin).  This kind of a birth where there has been no medical intervention is termed a natural birth.  Women who experience this, feel confident, empowered and fulfilled.  They are indeed happy mothers with happy babies.  Their stories must be told and shared with other mothers / parents-to-be.

Birthing stories when shared can help an expectant mother in the following ways:

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  • Provides information and knowledge

Expectant mothers who hear birth stories get enlightened / educated and are encouraged to seek care givers who will help them enjoy similar positive births. These stories help women to have confidence in their own bodies and in their ability to birth. more “Why should women share their birthing experiences?”

Depression During Pregnancy

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You may be aware of postpartum depression. But do you know many women suffer from depression during pregnancy? The most common disorder, depression is defined as a mood disorder that causes loss of interest and a persistent feeling of sadness. It’s normal to feel low occasionally, but if it lasts for a long period, you’re suffering from depression. It affects different aspects of your life — from how you think and act to eating and sleeping. This condition occurs more in women than men and during the reproductive years, the initial onset of depression is at its peak. more “Depression During Pregnancy”