Pregnancy changes your body in many ways. A healthy pregnancy diet should include a well-rounded first-trimester diet plan as well as vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure that the baby is receiving the correct balance of nutrients required to grow healthily. It is also important to note that in the first trimester, your baby is quickly developing some of the most vital organs — brain, spinal cord, heart, arms, and legs. It is essential to consume the right foods, so that you and your baby both stay healthy.
To meet the nutrient requirements essential for good health, you need to eat a variety of foods from each of the five food groups daily, in the recommended amounts. Here are 5-nutrient-rich foods to include in your first-trimester diet plan:
8-9 servings of cereals should be consumed per day of which a major portion 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 may consume it in the form of brown rice, whole wheat, broken wheat, millets (ragi, jowar, bajra, foxtail, millets, quinoa), oats, and whole grain bread
2.Pulses/Legumes & Meat/Fish/Poultry
Focus on having 2- 3 servings every day. You may include chicken & fish (lean meat), whole eggs, beans/legumes/sprouts (Bengal gram, green gram, kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed beans, peas etc.), lentils/pulses/dals and soybean products. Inclusion of a cereal -pulse blend enhances the protein quality. Take a blend of wheat flour and soya bean flour or wheat flour and roasted channa flour in the ratio of 4 :
As dairy products contain calcium and protein, 5 servings (each 100ml ), approximately 500 ml per day are necessary during the first trimester. Calcium is needed for the healthy development of the baby’s teeth and bones. You may consume low-fat or non-fat dairy products like cheese, yoghurt/curd, milk and paneer.
4.Vegetables & Fruits
You must have around 3.5 servings of vegetables daily. Vegetables contain essential vitamins like folate and minerals like iron and fibre. You can include vegetables like spinach, amaranth, gogu, fenugreek, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, gourd, squash, cauliflower, capsicum/ bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, corn, and peas. Daily consumption of fruits is necessary during the first trimester. Whole fruits provide fibre and are preferable in comparison to juices. Fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, fibre, folate, vitamin A and potassium. We recommend oranges, sweet lime, guava, apples, bananas, grapefruit, melon, berries, ripe papaya, pomegranate, watermelon. Make sure to include at least one vitamin C rich fruit in your daily meal plan.
5.Fats and Oils
Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat and include healthy fats to your plate. Total quantity of cooking oil to be used is 5-6 teaspoons (30 ml) per day. Preferably use plant based oils (groundnut, rice bran, sesame ,soya bean oil, sunflower,corn or olive oil. Include nuts such as cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, groundnuts, flaxseeds and sesame seeds(til) that are good sources of essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and essential fats (MUFA & omega -3 fats) in your diet. Other sources of healthy fats are avocado and some types of fish like salmon, herring, tuna( Have 1-2 servings a week of these fish to get essential omega-3 fatty acids.)
The recommendations are based on Dietary Guidelines for Indians, ICMR, 2011. Number of portions will vary if a woman has BMI > 35 kg/m2 or < 18 kg/m2.
Nausea and morning sickness during the first trimester can make it difficult to eat but you must try your best to. Proper nourishment can lower the risk of 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. Although weight gain during pregnancy is normal it should be based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). There’s no weight gain recommended in the first trimester; a healthy weight gain is recommended in second and third trimesters. If you are starting pregnancy at a healthy weight, a weight gain of 0.42 kgs per week is recommended in the second/third trimester. The focus is on having a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.