Although good nutrition throughout one’s life is important, for a woman it becomes a cause for more concern when she is pregnant and later when she is lactating. The body undergoes several changes during these two phases of life and thus the nutritional requirements also increase during these periods.
Here are a few tips for a healthy pregnancy and successful lactation period thereafter:
• If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, visit your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a few prenatal vitamins (like folic acid) and minerals (like iron and calcium). Do not miss your prenatal appointments.
• For women who suffer from nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy-eating small frequent meals, avoiding fluids along with meals, and eating dry toast or ginger based biscuits first thing in the morning may help.
• Avoid smoking, alcohol and too much caffeine (not more than two cups of coffee/day).
• Do not take any over the counter or herbal medications without asking your doctor.
• Eat a well balanced diet which includes whole grains, pulses/legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, nuts and plenty of water.
• Avoid binging on junk food, sweets and fried foods-these provide little else than calories and could lead to excessive weight gain during/after pregnancy. Remember, what you eat and drink can affect both you and your baby.
• Moderate exercise* (like walking, yoga) during and after pregnancy can help you sleep better, reduce stress and keep you in better shape during and after delivery. (*Speak to your doctor before starting on any exercise regimen.)
• Get plenty of rest and enjoy these phases in your life.